Multan

Multan (Urdu/Saraiki: مُلتان‎) is the sixth largest city of Pakistan. It is in the South of Punjab in Pakistan. It is sometimes referred to as The City of Saints.

Understand

History

Multan is one of the oldest cities in the Asian subcontinent. According to Hindu legends, it was the capital of the Trigarta Kingdom at the time of the Mahabharata war, ruled by the Katoch Dynasty. Its current name is derived from the Sanskrit name Mulasthana named after a sun temple. Multan has frequently been a site of conflict due to its location on a major invasion route between South Asia and Central Asia. It is believed to have been visited by Alexander the Great's army.

Multan was conquered along with Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim, from the local ruler Chach of Alor. Following bin Qasim's conquest, the city was securely under Muslim rule, although it was in effect an independent state and most of the subjects were non-Muslim. The British held it from 1848 until Pakistan achieved independence in 1947. It initially lacked industry, hospitals and universities. Since then, there has been some industrial growth, and the city's population is continually growing. But the old city continues to be in a dilapidated state, and many monuments wear the effects of the warfare that has visited the city.

The city of Multan is in southern Punjab province at almost the exact centre of Pakistan. The area around the city is a flat, alluvial plain and is ideal for agriculture, with many citrus and mango farms. There are many canals that cut across the Multan District, providing water for nearby farms. This makes the land very fertile. However land close to the Chenab is usually flooded in the monsoon season.

People

Multan's inhabitants are called Multanis. The majority of Multan's residents speak Saraiki which is the northern variant of Sindhi (the nomenclature 'Seraiki' is derived from the Sindhi language and literally means 'belonging to the north'), while Haryanvi is the second most spoken language. A good portion of the people are conversant in Urdu. English is understood by the educated. The majority of the people are Muslims. However, the city does have significant Sikh and Hindu communities within the district. There are still many temples and Gurdwaras within the city.

Climate

Multan features an arid climate with very hot summers and mild winters. The city witnesses some of the most extreme weather in the country. The highest recorded temperature is approximately 54 °C (129 °F), and the lowest recorded temperature is approximately −1 °C (30 °F). The average rainfall is roughly 127 millimetres (5.0 in). Dust storms are a common occurrence within the city.

Visitor Centre

Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab 152 - Shamsabad near Eidgah Multan Phone: 061-4510005,4510007 Fax: 4510004 E-mail: tdcpticmul@punjab.gov.pk tdcpithm@gmail.com

Get in

By plane

  'Multan International Airport' mainly caters to the population of Multan and its surrounding towns. The airport is located in the city in the Cantonment area. A ride to the Cantonment center just takes 5 minutes and that to the city center takes 20 minutes.

It has few snack shops and one moving conveyor belt system. It has a prayer room, toilets and dining area. The check-in area has roughly twenty counters. There is a CIP lounge to handle premium and VIP guests travelling through the airport. At this point, the only way out from the airport is by hiring a cab. Expect to pay 200-500 Rs (3-5$) depending on the destination. Parking at the airport is adequate and is charged at 25 Rs flat rate. Passengers can be picked up from the kerb without parking, however cars must take into account long waiting times at security check-post at the premises entrance. Trolleys are provided for free at the airport and porter services are available.

PIA has three weekly flights from Dubai to Multan with seasonal routes to Medina and Jeddah. Moreover, it has direct flights from Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta. Budget airlines such as Shaheen Airlines flies from Karachi. Another useful option is the UAE-based budget airline FlyDubai, which offers direct flights from Dubai several times a week.

By train

Multan has three major stations: Multan Cantt, Multan City and New Multan City. Multan Cantt station is the main station serving the majority of the trains. Multan lies on the main railway line (Peshawar to Karachi) of Pakistan Railways (PR). Therefore, it is well connected with every major city of Pakistan. The major train lines that stop at Multan Cantt Station are Shah Shamas Express, Khyber Mail, Tezgam, Awam Express, Jaffar Express and Quetta Express.

By bus

Direct buses to Multan are to be found at almost every major city bus terminal of Pakistan. Most of the buses arrive at the New Bus Stand which is located at the Northern part of the city. Daewoo Bus Service has luxury bus service for Multan from almost all of its stations including Karachi. Buses from Lahore leave at every hour and the trip costs around 600 Rs. Faisal Movers run a service from Lahore from 5:30 in the morning and then every half an hour up till 2:30AM. Fare is around 450 Rs. There are frequent services from Faisalabad, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Islamabad and Bahawalpur. Multan has a modern new bus terminal where a service to any city can be found at almost anytime.

By car

The N-5 National Highway connects the city to all parts of Pakistan. From Karachi the distance is around 900 km, and from Lahore 400 km. The road otherwise, known as GT Road, allows connections to Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore as well as Bahawalpur.

Get around

Multan recently got a major overhaul of its roads and travelling times have reduced significantly. There are still roadworks going on so watch out for detours.

There are public buses. There are no passes or prepaid tickets. Payment is thru cash to the conductor and a ride can cost anywhere between 10 Rs to 25 Rs. Mini-vans also ply various city routes, are quicker but crowded and congested.

If you want to go to the Cantonment area, catch a bus or van which is going to Aziz Hotel chowk or Dera Adda.

They are still the most popular and efficient form of travel and are universally found. Expect to pay anything between 20Rs to 100Rs depending on the distance.

The rickshaws have rendered taxis out of business. Taxi's can be found though at the airport and at the major bus stands

See

Multan has enough to keep the visitor interested for 1 or 2 days - the highlights are the old fort and tombs, and the excellent Institute of Blue Pottery. Be aware that if you are not of south Asian appearance you will receive a lot of attention, from both locals and the authorities - be prepared for quite a lot of hassle.

Historical Gates of Multan

The Delhi Gate of Multan.

Shrines

Mausoleum of Shah Rukne Alam, one of the most eminent saints within the Sufi tradition of Islam.

Multan is famous for its association with saints, sufis and fakirs. The tombs boast a rich architecture with attention to the details. Some of the major shrines to be found and worth a visit are:

Syed Shah Yousaf Shah-e-Gardez

Bahauddin Zakaria The tomb is on top of the old city hillock, behind Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s Mazar. South Punjab’s largest University is named after this Sufi saint, Bahauddin Zakariya University.

Bibi Pak Daman

Syed Shams-ud-din "Shah Shams Sabzwari"

Hazrat Khwaja Hafiz Muhammad Jamal Multani

Shrine Khawaja Awais Kagha

Shrine Shah Ali Akbar

Shrine Mother of Shah Ali Akbar

Shrine Mai Maharban A shrine nine hundred years old located near Children Hospital Multan.

Remember to take your shoes off when you enter any of these.

Do

A huge but congested market that sells almost anything, famous for local textiles, electronics, spices, carpets, handicrafts, pottery, and the famous Multani halwa. Mind you that without negotiating, you will not get a good deal. Almost everyone are selling the same items, so finding a bargain is quite easy. Haggle for everything you want.

You may be able to catch a game at the Multan Cricket Stadium, which is a traditional venue for a test match and a one day international every cricket season, which runs from September to February in Pakistan. Cricket has a huge following here, as anywhere in Pakistan. The national captain and star batsmen Inzamam-Ul-Haq is a local boy, and any game sets the town into a frenzy of excitement. ODI's are well attended, sell out crowds. For an "at ease" experience, go to a day at the test. Moderate crowds will make it a much more enjoyable experience. The Multan pitch is one of the flatest in the world, so batting feasts are the norm. Good viewing!

Visit these beautiful shrines ranging from 400 to 1000 years old architectures. Tomb Mai Maharban near chowk fawara Shrine of Shah Rukne Alam in Multan fort Shrine of Shah Bahaudin Zikarya in Multan fort Shrine of Shah Yusuf Gardez inside bohar gate Shrine of Shah Shah Ali Akbar suraj miani graveyard Shrine of Khawaja Awais Kagha in dera basti graveyard Shrine of Bibi Pak Daman in dera basti graveyard Shrine of Inayat Wilayat Shrine of Musa Pak Shaheed

Buy

Multan has three main shopping districts. Saddar Bazzar, Hussain Agahi and Gulgasht. While there is no big supermarket, tourists and foreigners do their shopping from CSD plaza in Cantonment, Prince Departmental store in Saddar (there is a fine supermarket at the basement where you can get all the imported groceries) and Panda on Bosan Road. Sharif Plaza near the city courts has garment retail shops that sell at a bargain. Food Festival is a local chain of convenience stores with main branch at Nishtar Chowk. HTH stores are located in Shahruknealam colony and Garden town.

Most of the brands are found at Chenone Tower at Abdali Road and Pace at Bosan Road. Feb-March is usually the big sales season

Multan is very famous for its beautiful blue tiles, used in bathrooms and other areas of house /building for decoration.

Multani pottery is very famous all over Pakistan, used as decoration, especially vases.

There are also good local tailors who can wrestle up a fine tunic-trouser combo in fair time. Nice prices.

Very well known all over Pakistan due to its uniqueness of designs, colours and sizes, especially "Multani Har". Hassan Arcade on Nusrat Road has a whole square of Goldsmiths.

'Multani clay' is used as Mud mask.

Very famous and traditional shoes, worn during weddings and festivals usually. Look for shops near Ghanta Ghar

Eat

Multan is known as the city of mangoes for a reason. The mango season, whilst stifflingly hot for non regional visitors, affords an amazing treat. Multan produces the juiciest, thickest and the most succulent mangoes in the world. Worth an international flight alone...almost! There are many types of Mangoes in Pakistan. Consists of but not limited to "SindhRi", "anwar rittol", "langRa" , "Chonsa", "doosairi" and many more. Each of them is different in taste, size, quality of pulp etc.

Special dessert of Multan (sometimes mistaken as Habshi Halwa). It is made of sugar, pure ghee and flour and then jeweled with nuts and pistachios. It can be had at most of the tourist spots and sweets shops . Visit Qadeerabad if you want to see it made fresh and indulge in its flavour when it is dished out right off the stove.

Drink

Alcohol is sold at Ramada and Sindbad Hotel to non-Muslims only.

All types of both local and international propriety soft drinks are available in almost every store and roadside shops. Bottled water is ubiquitously available. Keep yourself hydrated as mercury can rise sharply sometimes.

In summer you can try the local 'falsa cola' (redcurrant cola) which is almost unique to Multan.

Also give a try to the 'Goli Wali Bottle' (Soft Drink Bottle with Marble in it) It can be had at specialized drink shops at Dera Adda or in the old city.

Sleep

Multan offers both budget and uptown room and board options. The city's guest houses and budget inns are mostly found in the Area called Altaf Town on Tariq road. Some of the more pricey options are:

Go next

Near the fort is a marble mosque which has been modeled after the Red Fort in New Delhi. Getting to the fort is a bit tricky. Although there is a proper metaled road, but there are no sign boards or directions pointing which way to go. From Ahmedpur East , before the toll plaza, a service road takes you to the town main market (if you are heading south on the highway). Take a left, and after every 10 minutes ask for directions.

form punjnad river which end in indus river. near Head punjnad is Nalka Adda basti Gabol village beautiful area

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