Multan Sun Temple

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Sun Temple of Multan, also known as Aditya Sun Temple,[1] was an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Surya also called Aditya, which was located in city of Multan, in modern Punjab, Pakistan.[2]


The original Sun Temple at Multan is said to have been built by Samba, son of Krishna, to get relief from disease of leprosy.[3][4][5]

This Sun Temple has been mentioned also by Greek Admiral Skylax, who passed through this area in 515 B.C. Multan, earlier known as Kashyapapura, and its temple are also mentioned by Herodotus.[6]

Hsuen Tsang is said to have visited this temple in 641 AD and had described the deity made of pure gold with eyes of large red rubies.[7] Gold, silver and gems were abundantly used in its doors, pillars and shikhara. Thousands of Hindus regularly went to Multan to worship Sun God. He is also said to have seen several dancing girls (devadasis) in the temple.[8][9][10] He further mentions the deities of Shiva and Buddha were also installed in the temple.[11] After the conquest of Multan by Umayyad Caliphate in 8th Century AD, under Muhammad bin Qasim, the Sun Temple became a source of great income for the Muslim government.[12][13] Muhammad bin Qasim 'made captive of the custodians of the budd, numbering 6000' and looted its wealth, sparing the idol — which was made of wood, covered with red leather and two red rubies for its eyes and wearing a gem-studded gold crown — 'thinking it best to leave the idol where it was, but hanging a piece of cow's flesh on its neck by way of mockery'.[14][15] [16] Muhammd bin Qasim built a mosque in the sample place, the most crowded place in the centre of the bazaar. Later, the temple was also used a bargaining chip to blackmail any Hindu kings heading towards Multan. Whenever an Hindu king was about to invade, the Muslim ruler would threaten to destroy the idol, which apparently made the Hindu king withdraw.[14][17][18] In the late 10th century, the Ismailis who conquered Multan broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests. A new mosque was erected on its site, which was to replace the Umayyad mosque which was ordered to be shut until Mahmud of Ghazni restored the old mosque to a place of Friday-worship, leaving the Ismaili mosque to decay. Al Biruni wrote that the temple in Multan was never visited by Hindu pilgrims in the 11th century because it was completely destroyed by that time and never rebuilt.[19] [20] [14]

Al-Baruni, who also visited Multan in 10th Century AD has also left glowing description of it.[3]However, the temple is said to have been finally destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 AD[13][9][8]

The city of Multan may get its name from the Sanskrit name Mulasthana named after location of this Sun Temple.[21][22] The exact site of Sun Temple of Multan is, however, unknown and subject of debate for researchers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Journal of Indian history: golden jubilee volume. T. K. Ravindran, University of Kerala. Dept. of History. 1973. p. 362. 
  2. ^ [1] Survey & Studies for Conservation of Historical Monuments of Multan. Department of Archeology & Museums, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan.
  3. ^ a b Bhagawan Parashuram and evolution of culture in north-east India. 1987. p. 171. 
  4. ^ Region in Indian History By Lucknow University. Dept. of Medieval & Modern Indian History. 2008. p. 79. 
  5. ^ Ancient India and Iran: a study of their cultural contacts by Nalinee M. Chapekar, pp 29-30
  6. ^ Islamic culture, Volume 43. Islamic culture Board. 1963. p. 14. 
  7. ^ A Religious History of Ancient India, Up to C. 1200 A.D.: Smarta, epic-Pauranika and Tantrika Hinduism, Christianity and Islam by Srirama Goyala, 1986, pp 339
  8. ^ a b Divine Prostitution By Nagendra Kr Singh. 1997. p. 44. 
  9. ^ a b Encyclopaedia of Indian Women Through the Ages: The middle ages By Simmi Jain. 2003. p. 132. 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Sun-worship in ancient India. 1971. p. 172. 
  12. ^ Schimmel pg.4
  13. ^ a b A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West ..., Volume 1 By H.A. Rose. 1997. p. 489. 
  14. ^ a b c Wink, André (1997). Al- Hind: The slave kings and the Islamic conquest. 2, Volume 1. BRILL. pp. 187–188. ISBN 9789004095090. 
  15. ^ Al-Balādhurī. Futūh al-Buldān. p. 427. 
  16. ^ Al-Masʿūdī. Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawahir, I. p. 116. 
  17. ^ Al-Masʿūdī. Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawahir, I. p. 167. 
  18. ^ De Goeje. Ibn Hauqal. pp. 228–229. 
  19. ^ Sachau. Alberuni's India, I. pp. 116–117. 
  20. ^ Sachau. Alberuni's India, II. p. 148. 
  21. ^ Multān City - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 18, p. 35.
  22. ^ Hindu History BY Akshoy K Majumdar Published by Rupa and CO PAGE 54