Multan pakistan History (part 6)
Multan history dates back to more than 5000 years.Some researchers believes that Multan is oldest living civilization in the world.
Multan was ruled by various Hindu and Buddhist empires for over 1000 years.It was the capital of ancient Trigarta Kingdom at the time of Mahabharta and ruled by Katoch Clan Kshatriya Rajputs.It is believed to have been visited by Alexander the Great (Sikandar e Azam). It is said that when Alexander was fighting for the city, a poisoned arrow struck him, making him ill and eventually leading to his death. The exact place where Alexander was hit by the arrow can be seen in the old city premises.
It is believed to be the same city as “Maii-us-than”, where Alexander’s forces stormed the citadel after seeing their king injured and unconscious on the field of battle. Multan was part of the Mauryan and the Gupta empires that ruled much of northern India.
In the mid-5th century, the city was attacked by a group of nomads led by Toramana. These nomads were successful in taking the city, but did not stay, and the long-standing Hindu rule over the city was re-established.
The noted Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Multan in 641.
During the Pre-Islamic period, Multan was known as the city of gold for its large and wealthy temples. The Sun temple, Suraj Mandar was considered one of the largest and wealthiest temples in the entire sub-continent. Numerous historians have written about this extremely large Hindu temple that housed over 6,000 people within it. Other famous sites included the Suraj Kund mean pool of the Sun. and Temple of Prahlada Puri. Story of Prahlada from whom the temple took its name is interesting.Prahlada was the son of King Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu held sway over this country and condemned the gods and forbade the paying of homage in their name. Prahlada was recognized as being a very devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment. As Prahlada grows in age, his father Hiranyakashipu becomes upset at his devotion to Vishnu, who he sees as his mortal enemy. Eventually his anger leads him to attempt to kill the boy Prahlada in many ways, but each time Prahlada is protected by Vishnu’s mystical power. Finally in disgust Hiranyakashipu points to a particular pillar and asks if his Vishnu is in it? Prahlada answers “He is”. Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, it burst in two and out sprang the god Vishnu in the form of a man-lion form called Narasimha Avatar who laid the King across his knees and ripped his stomach open with his claws. A temple devoted to Narasimha Avatar of Vishnu is built. The temple of Prahladpur is situated close to the shrine of Bahawal Haq.
Currently its roof and surrounding building have been damaged but the pillar is no more. The Idol was shifted from temple to a new place near old fruit market. Now it has been relocated at Haridwar, where it was brought in 1947 by Narayan Das Baba.
In the 7th century, Multan had its first experience with Muslim armies. Armies led by Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah launched numerous raids from Persia into India in 664 for inclusion of the area into their empires.
In the same year Abdool Rahman Bin Shimur, another Arab Ameer of distinction, marched from Merv to Kabul, where he made converts of upwards of twelve thousand persons. At the same time, also Mohali Bin Abi-Suffra, proceeding with a detachment from thence, in the direction of India, penetrated as far as Multan: when having plundered the country, he returned to the headquarters of the army at Khorassan, bringing with him many prisoners, who were compelled to become converts to the faith.
However, only a few decades later, Muhammad bin Qasim would come on behalf of the Arabs, and take Multan along with Sindh.
He then crossed the Bias River , and went towards Multan. Muhammad Bin Qasim destroyed the water-course; upon which the inhabitants, oppressed with thirst, surrendered at discretion. He massacred the men capable of bearing arms, but the children were taken captive, as well as ministers of the temple, to the number of 6,000. The Muslims found there much gold in a chamber ten cubits long by eight broad..
Following Mohammad bin Qasim’s conquest, the city was securely under Muslim rule, although it was in effect an independent state, but around the start of the 11th century, the city was attacked twice by Mahmud of Ghazni who destroyed the Sun Temple and broke its giant Idol. A graphic detail is available in Al-Biruni’s writings:
A famous idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated to the sun, and therefore called Aditya. It was of wood and covered with red Cordovan leather; in its two eyes were two red rubies. It is said to have been made in the last Kritayuga. When Muhammad Ibn Al Qasim Ibn Almunaibh conquered Multan, he inquired how the town had become so very flourishing and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and then he found out that this idol was the cause, for there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. Therefore, he thought it best to have the idol where it was, but he hung a piece of cow’s flesh on its neck by way of mockery. On the same place a mosque was built. When the Qarmatians occupied Multan, Jalam Ibn Shaibah, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests.
(Modified from Wikipedia and other sources) May 27, 2013