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Provincial style

Muslims first arrived in areas now constituting southern half of Pakistan mostly Sindh and Balochistan in Eighth century A.D. when ships of Arab general Mohammad bin Qasim landed somewhere near the mouth of the Indus river and then traveled upriver all the way to the important city of Multan in lower Punjab. Thus bringing most of the commerce routes from the Indus valley to Mesopotamia through Balochistan and Persia under their control. The Provincial Style of Architecture encompasses the architectural trends and developments noticed in different provincial capitals in India, but specifically in Punjab (1150-1325 AD), Bengal (1203-1573 AD), Gujarat (1300-1572 AD), Jaunpur (1376-1479 AD), Malwa (1405-1569 AD), Deccan (1347-1617 AD), Bijapur (1490-1656 AD), Khandesh (1425-1650 AD) and Kashmir (1410 onwards). Such separate and self-contained developments were called provincial styles.Some of such provincial styles, though subsidiary to the main style, were of great importance as their buildings were often of remarkable beauty and displayed definitely original qualities.

PROVINCIAL STYLE OF PUNJAB


The earliest provincial style to emerge was in Punjab, as here the first contacts with Islam were made through its two principal centres, Multan and Lahore. Arab invaded Multan from the Sindh region earlier in the eighth century. But the province received a permanent Islamic influence in the tenth century. The Indo-Islamic architecture of Punjab province was mainly of brickworks and produced highly decorated building arts. Their palaces were embedded with brickwork and other wooden elements, mainly their doorways, windows and other hanging balconies. The buildings were constructed in Islamic styles with the fusion of Hindu culture.

A city of undivided Punjab of India, Multan became a part of Pakistan in 1947. Moslem influence was first felt upon Multan. Multan was the city when Arab invasion took place in its Sindh area in the eighth century. Due to the early penetration, it was linked with the Southern Persia through road, river and sea and later became the capital of an independent Arab. As a result, Multan has more Iranian influence than India, as its arts now tesy.

However, Lahore in undivided Punjab received the Islamic influence and its architecture later from Afghanistan in the tenth century when Mahmud Ghazni captured Punjab. Later Ghazni was defeated by the rival power Ghor, and Lahore became an important centre and the capital of the Ghaznavide kingdom. In the twelfth century, the city was known mainly for the royal residences of the princes of that dynasty. It can be said that Indo Islamic architecture in Punjab initiated in that era. In the middle of the 12th century, Ala-ud-din Ghor destroyed the palaces of Lahore. Therefore, not much is known about the architectural styles and characteristics. It is assumed that probably the ruined buildings of Lahore had much the same character as those in the parent city of Ghor.

In remote areas of Lahore, we have some ruins of wooden architecture that bear resemblance to the buildings of the Saljuqs of the 12th century. The fine wooden work owe to their indigenous techniques of timber treatment and construction. But the projecting bosses and patterns in carvings are definitely of Saljuqian origin. Hence Lahore`s and Multan`s architecture were of Ghaznavide-Saljuqian and of Arab-Persian derivation respectively. Though of different origins, the styles of Lahore and Multan had much together in common. Therefore, these two are combined and studied together as THE PROVINCIAL STYLE OF PUNJAB.

Timber framed buildings, with the wooden beams inserted in the walls. Beam and bracket system prevailed. Arches were absent. The brick and timber walls were sloped to offer better solidity. Due to the sloping construction in the buildings, they appeared like tents. The horizontally placed beams were embedded with brickwork and other substantial wooden elements, especially doorways, windows and also hanging balconies providing a very artistic wooden portico.

The half timbered construction of buildings were decorated with painted plaster with paneling of glazed tiles in dazzling colours. Doors were framed and carved with wooden designs resembling heavy tassels and knotted fringes, by cords on each side to form the opening. These buildings were basically Islamic impregnated with the imaginative genius of the indigenous craftsman.

Except for the remains of timber construction, we have no other complete example of building art in Lahore.

But, in Multan we have a group of 5 tombs. Each one is a mausoleum of a saintly personage associated with the history of the city. Their construction took about 170 years, starting from the middle of the 12th to the beginning of the 14th century. These tombs were so severely damaged and were restored that some of these structures now appear relatively modern. These 5 tombs were of (1) Shah Yusuf Gardizi (2) Shah Bahau-l-Haqq (3) Shadna Shahid (4) Shah Shams-ud-din Tikrizi (5) Shah Rukn-i-Alam

TOMB OF SHAH YOUSAF GHARDEZI

Historical Notes
The saint was born in Gardez, near Ghazni in Afghanistan in 450 AH/1058; he arrived in Multan sometime between 479 /1086 and 481/1088, and settled on the banks of a branch of River which then flowed where Bohar Gate is today. He stayed in Multan for 50 years and died here in 531/1136. He was buried in his own hujra on the bank of the branch of River Ravi near his residence. It was around his residence that the city of Multan once again grew after the destruction wrought at the hands of Ghaznavids. The tomb proper was built in 1150 i.e 14 years after his death. Today, the tomb is inside the walled city near the same gate. The present building is the result of many renovations, interventions and alterations particularly in its decorations both internally and externally. This is the earliest mausoleum in Multan and differs in all its essentials from the mausoleum architecture which later on developed in and became the hallmark of Multan. The mosque on the south of the tomb was built by Sher Shah Suri (1639-1655).

Description / Main Features


It is an oblong building 37 feet long and 32 feet wide. The bricks used are 8(20.32 cm) long and 2(5.08 sm) thick. The roof is supported on a semi-circular arch. The ceiling is currently decorated with mirror work for which Multan has always been famous.

The external walls are decorated with glazed tiles of white and blue.

Access to the tomb is through both Lohari Gate as well as Bohar Gate.
THE BOHAR GATE..

THE LOHARI GATE

The oldest mausoleum, built in the middle of the 12th century One storey, flat roofed cubical building standing in an enclosed courtyard. Its elevation consists of the steady surfaces of four vertical walls. The sole relief, an oblong portion is slightly projected to frame the doorway and the other portion contains the "mihrab" in the inner side. It relies on the brilliant play of colour produced by its surface ornamentation of encaustic tiles which encase every part of its outer walls. The patterns on these tiles are geometrical or inscriptional, but rarely floral, an indication that the law of the Prophet prohibiting natural forms was strictly observed. While most of the faces of the tiles are simply painted, few are moulded that represents a rich plastic appearance of spotted colour.

It is said that Shah Muhammad Yusuf Gardizi was a specially gifted man who could ride tigers and could handle snakes. There is a hole in his grave where it is said that for 40 years after his death, his hand would occasionally come out of his Tomb to greet special visitors..

The three succeeding tombs were all built in a period of 15 years, shortly after the middle of 13th century, and are very different from the former. Rectangular in plan, but built in 3 stages lowest is a square, above which is an octagonal storey and topping over all is a hemispherical dome.

SHRINE OF HAZRAT BAHAUDIN ZAKRIYA

Period / Date
1260-67. Demolition in 1849, rebuilt between 185055. Repaired and renovated several time afterwards.

earliest type of square mausoleum building (17x17 metres internally & 19X21 metres externally) topped by a dome with an octagonal second storey in between the two. The monument is a three storied brick masonry structure square in plan on the ground floor. The second storey is octagonal and the third one is the hemi-spherical whitewashed dome. The tomb (total height of about 25 metres) stands in the middle of the vast enclosure (80x70) enclosed by a perimeter brick wall now much decayed and crudely repaired over time. The entrance to the shrine is from two gateways in the east and west through a courtyard. The courtyard is paved with large size brick-tiles (28x20x5). The space within the tomb contains several other graves of the-family members and disciples of the saint. The tomb is adorned with several inscriptions rendered in Multani tile work.

The tomb building is in a good condition and the structure is stable on account of several renovations. The present structure, on the whole is of 19th century having been reconstructed after its incurring massive damage during the siege of Multan by the British from the Sikhs.

MIRACLES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS


It has been related that at the time of the arrival Bahhuddin Zakria in Multan, some elite of the city did not welcome the Shaikh and instead sent him a cup of milk filled to the brim implying thereby that in the presence of several eminent Sufis and religious personages in the city, there was no need of yet another holy man. The Shaikh understood the message put a rose on the surface of the milk, he himself was more distinguished and possessed the quality of a rose which imparted fragrance and was, therefore, liked by all. One of his miracles was the preservation of a sinking boat, and the boatmen of the Chenab and Indus still invoke Bahwal Haqq as their patron saint in times of difficulty. A curious incident has been related by almost all the relevant authorities that occurred at the time of his death. According to these sources, on the morrow of the appointed day, the Shaikh al-Islam was busy praying in his Hujra when an old man appeared and delivered a sealed letter to Sadr ud-Din Arif, his son with the instructions that it should be delivered to the Shaikh immediately. The son took the sealed letter to his father and, after delivering it, came out to find that the messenger had already left. No one knew about the stranger, it is said that the Shaikh read the letter and breathed his last. An invisible voice was then heard saying: dost ba dost raseed (friend had joined friend). The Saint left enormous sums of wealth to his son, Sadr-ud-din, who on coming into possession of it, at once disturbed the whole of it to the poor, saying that, although his father had sufficiently conquered himself to have no fear of an improper use of it, he himself, not being so advanced in sanctity, dreaded the temptation.

SHRINE OF HAZRAT SHAH DANA Period / Date 669/1270 AD SHAHEED

Description / Main Features


This building is a typical representation of Multani tomb architecture having a square chamber with octagonal second storey and the dome. It has a low dome adorned with finial with heavy cylindrical base. Four cardinal sides in the octagonal storey have arched windows set in rectangular frames. In front is a veranda with three openings which are superimposed by ventilators. The building currently is completely white washed.

Present Condition
The structure has several accumulated coats of whitewash but dome and its walls show marks of dripping of mud mortar. The old structure has been plastered and white washed from outside. Out of front three arches, one is supported by a middle column due to structural weakness of the arch. The Tomb is located within the domed structure at the back of this verandah.

With the exception of structure, nothing original in the form of architectural decorations now remain. Present surface plaster hardly dates back to 1980s when only the exterior of the dome was plastered. The building has been heavily plastered and re-plastered and repeatedly white washed. It will be laborious task to scrap the layer upon layer of plaster to reveal what lay underneath in the form of glazed tiles and naqashi painting, if any. However, fresh research may reveal some hidden traces of original decoration, both on the inner and outer sides of the tomb.

INTERVENTIONS

TOMB OF SHAH SHAMS SABZWARI


Period / Date 731/1330

It is a square tomb surrounded by a veranda which is a unique feature. The main chamber is surmounted by an octagonal storey and then the dome. Each corner of the square and octagonal story has a turret. The dome is placed on a drum which is perforated with windows. Above the dome is an inverted lotus molding with a finial. It is constructed with small brick tiles decorated with Multani tile and lime plaster. Most of the lime plaster is damaged. Flooring is of small brick tiles. The main door made of solid wood with a ceiling of wooden battens with kashi kari. The interior has recently been finished with 15x15 centimetres white ceramic tiles up to 4 feet as a dado and mirror work done inside the dome and above 5 metres height. The inside verandah ceiling kashi kari work is in a poor condition. Kashi kari work on four arches. The wood work in this building is admirable.

SHRINRE OF SHAH RUKN- E -ALAM


Period / Date 735/1335 (period of construction 1320 1335).

The tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam was built between 1320 and 1324, is an unmatched pre-Moghul masterpiece. The Mausoleum of Rukn-i-Alam could possibly be considered as the glory of Multan. From whichever side the city is approached, the most prominent thing that can be seen from miles all around is a huge dome. This dome is the Shrine of the saint. The tomb is located on the southwest side of the Fort premises.

Description / Main Features


The tomb is a typical example of Tughlaq style of architecture. The plan is an octagon with inclined walls and corner turrets. The second storey is also an octagon but without corner bastions and turrets. Each side of this octagon has an arched opening fitted with grilles and set in rectangular frames decorated with Multani tiles. Each corner of this storey has a small kiosk on it. The third storey is the dome & its finial. The total height of the building is 31 metres including 12 metres for the dome. As it stands on the high ground, the total height above the road level is 46 metres. The mosque in the complex was originally built during the reign of Aurangzab (Huq, 139) and a smaller mosque in the southwest of the tomb is believed to have been built by Bahamian Johan Gash (Huq, 140).

Besides its religious importance, the mausoleum is also of considerable archaeological value as its dome is reputed to be the second largest in the world. The mausoleum is built entirely of red brick, bounded with beams of shisham wood, which have now turned black after so many centuries. The whole of the exterior is elaborately ornamented with glazed tile panels, stringcourses and battlements. Colors used are dark blue, azure, and white, contrasted with the deep red of the finely polished bricks.

The tomb was said to have been built by Ghias-ud-din Tuqhluq(r. 1320-1325) for himself during the days of his governorship of Depalpur, between 1320 and 1324 AD, but was given by his son, Muhammad bib Tuqhluq to the descendents of Shah Rukn-e-Alam for the latters burial in 1330. The mausoleum of Rukn-e-Alam has been admired by not only the travelers and chroniclers but also by the arthistorians and archaeologist who wrote the architectural history of the subcontinent. In the 1970s the mausoleum was thoroughly repaired and renovated by the Auqaf Department of the Punjab Government. The entire glittering glazed interior is the result of new tiles and brickwork done by the Kashigars of Multan.

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