Multan has enough to keep visitors absorbed for a day or two. Visit the city for its rich history, its Sufis and saints and their words of wisdom
The uniqueness of Multan in Pakistan is that it comes with a Sufi touch. Located at the ‘bend’ where the five mighty rivers of the country meet, Multan has more tombs of saints and Sufis gathered at one place than anywhere else on Earth. No wonder then that it has come to be known as the ‘City of Saints’. Then there are the old forts and tombs, the historical gates and, not to forget, the bazars.
You can easily spend about half a day or more at the Multan Fort, which is in the middle of the city. There are now only remnants of this old fort placed atop a high mound of earth, which was once considered one of the best forts in the subcontinent. Don’t forget to visit Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s mausoleum inside the fort, over 100,000 pilgrims visit this place every year from South Asia.
Within the fort complex, the other mausoleum you can visit is the one belonging to Baha-ud-din Zakariya. The mausoleum was almost ruined during the ‘Siege of Multan’ in 1848 by the British, but was soon restored. There is also a park inside the fort, which has some memorials from the Raj era.
Major attractions of Multan are its mausoleums. The domes of some of them are visible from miles away and dominate the skyline. Apart from the mausoleums of Shah Rukn-e-Alam and Bahauddin Zakariya (located inside the Multan Fort), some that are worth a visit are Hazrat Shamsuddin Sabzwari Multani and Shah Gardez.
Multan is also popular for the craft of blue pottery. The skill for creating this blue pottery, also known as kashi work, was introduced centuries ago by local artisans, whose craft derived influences from Persia, Central Asia and the Mongols.
No visit to a place is complete without a bit of shopping, and Multan is no exception. Multan has three main shopping districts — Hussain Agahi, Sadar Bazar and Gulgasht. These markets sell almost anything from local textiles, electronics and spices to carpets, handicrafts and pottery.
If you’re a foodie, or even if you are not, don’t forget to try Multani mangoes. Multan produces the juiciest, thickest and the most succulent mangoes in the world. Also, get a taste of the famous Multani Sohan Halwa, a special dessert made of sugar, pure ghee and flour and then jewelled with nuts and pistachios.
Words By: Binod Mili