Multan, is a city located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is one of the oldest cities in South Asia, though the exact age has yet to be determined. Its modern name comes from its old Sanskrit name Mūlasthān. It has seen a lot of warfare because of its location on a major invasion route between South Asia and Central Asia. It is famous for its Sufi shrines.

Multan was ruled by the various native empires before the invasion of Alexander the Great. 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 Huen Tsang visited Multan in 641.

During the early period, Multan was known as the city of gold for its large and wealthy temples. The Sun temple, Suraj Mandir, 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 (“pool of the Sun”) and Temple of Prahladapuri. Story of Prahlada from whom the temple took its name.

According to native legends and mythology, Multan was the capital of ancient Trigarta Kingdom at the time of Mahabharta and ruled by Katoch Clan of Kshatriya Rajputs. 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 Prahladpuri Temple is situated close to the shrine of Bahawal Huk. 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.


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