Surviving Gates of Multan
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
The wall was reduced to 10-12 feet during the British period. It contained seven gates, of which Lahore, Delhi, Daulat and Khizeri gates have disappeared. Dilapidated Khuni Burj (Bloody Tower) named after the bloody battle fought here when British force stormend Multan in January 1848 still survives.
A circular road (alang) runs around the walled city connecting the surviving gates, Khuni Burj and Hussaim Agahi entrance. Three of the six gateways -- Bohar, Haram and Delhi -- were rebuilt in the latter half of the nineteenth century with pointed arches and castigated towers. All of them badly need renovation.
Once an imposing gateway, Lahori Gate existed even in the nineteenth century when Alexander Cunningham visited and wrote about Multan. It was damaged when the British annexed Multan and totally demolished in 1854. The new gate built on this site is a combination of two double story towers with a flat band above and is without much decoration. Haram gate comprises of two pylons on each flank, with a large four cantered pointed arch in the middle. The castigated towers on flanks are double storied. Delhi Gate, one of Multan's oldest landmarks, existed even before arrival of the British. The present gate was rebuilt during the British rule. Its construction is similar to Haram Gate except that its arch has a wider span. The gateways have been white washed and painted several times with water based earth colours and none of the original work has survived. The wooden doors have also disappeared. The gateways are surrounded and engulfed by encroachments, cubby-hole shops, hundreds of advertisements and hoardings.
As for the wall itself, its present condition is ruinous and at no place does it maintain its original shape. At most places, it is totally missing. Most salient portion exists between Daulat Gate and Pak Gate. Rows of houses and shops have been erected on the strip of land between the outer face of the circular road and the inner face of the wall, in the process concealing several notable historic features.
However ruined it maybe, the wall still defines the edge of the old city far more clearly than the circular road and is an immediate reminder of Mutlan's historic character. The circular road is in fairly good condition through its width and right of way has been considerably reduced due to unchecked encroachment.
Multani monuments face unsympathetic development, unsuitable repairs or general neglect. All the surviving gates should be cleaned, repaired and renovated to their original shape as far as possible, says Nazir Ahmed. They should be freed from all sorts of neon sign that hide more than they highlight.
The Antiquities Act 1975 and the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance 1985 are not sufficient to protect historic cities. A new concept for area conservation is required to be developed through government polices and public education. Towards this end, the departments of archaeology, Auqaf and civic bodies all need to work together to save what remains of a once glorious medieval Islamic culture.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, February 27, 2013,
- At 01:58, aceone29 said...
Hi Shi, Yet another of your extremely interesting articles and very informative. Is this an area you are interested in as a job or a project? Maybe grant funding is a way forward to protect and maintain the originality of the structure. When l was in Pakistan on business trying to provide jobs in the UK for small businesses to be able to sell there goods, l never got to see much of the beautiful architechture, and there is so much. Anyway we say God moves in mysterious ways and through your eyes and writings l get to see Pakistan the way it should be seen. I still would like to do business with people and provide a way to alleviate poverty, any ideas my friend ? Hope you got picture by email? Also the reader facility l use is great and would help us to have many interesting items to discuss - try it and let me know? Speak soon my friend Ian
- At 18:33, Sush said...
I really like your blogs about Multan .
They are informative keep it up!
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