From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The highly-revered Shrine of Baba Farid is located in Pakpattan
The highly-revered Shrine of Baba Farid is located in Pakpattan
Pakpattan is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Pakpattan is located in Pakistan
Location in Pakistan
Coordinates: 30°20′39″N 73°23′2″E / 30.34417°N 73.38389°E / 30.34417; 73.38389Coordinates: 30°20′39″N 73°23′2″E / 30.34417°N 73.38389°E / 30.34417; 73.38389
Country Pakistan
Province Punjab
District Pakpattan
Old Name Ajodhan
 • Total 821.11 km2 (317.03 sq mi)
Elevation 156 m (512 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,584,285 (District population)
Demonym(s) Pakpattni
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Postal code 57400
Dialling code 0457[1]

Pakpattan (Punjabi and Urdu: پاکپتّن‎), sometimes referred to as Pakpattan Sharif ( پاکپتّن شریف‎; "Noble Pakpattan"), is the capital city of the Pakpattan District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Pakpattan is an ancient city of northern Pakistan, and is a major pilgrimage destination as it is home to the shrine of Fariduddin Ganjshakar, the renowned Punjabi poet and Sufi saint commonly referred to as Baba Farid. Pakpattan is located roughly 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the border with India, and 184 kilometres (114 mi) by road southwest of Lahore.[2]


Pakpattan was known as Ajodhan until the 16th century.[3] The city now derives its name from the combination of two Punjabi words, Pak and Pattan, meaning "pure," and "dock," respectively, which reference a ferry across the Sutlej River that was popular with pilgrims to the Shrine of Baba Farid.



Pakpattan was founded as the ancient city of Ajodhan.[4] Ajodhan was the location of a ferry service across the Sutlej River that rendered the city an important part of the ancient trade routes that connected Multan to Delhi.[3]

Given its position on the flat plains of Punjab, the city was vulnerable to waves of invasions from Central Asia that began in the late 10th century.[3] The city was captured by Sebüktegin in 977–78 CE and by Ibrahim Ghaznavi in 1079–80.[5] The town was besieged by Shaikha; the Khokhar, in 1394, and in 1398 was visited by Timur, Mughal Emperor who spared much of the inhabitants that had not fled, out of respect for the shrine of the saint Baba Farid.

Baba Farid[edit]

Turkish settlers also arrived in the region in the 13th century a result of pressures from the expanding Mongol Empire,[3] and so the city already had a mosque and Muslim community by the time of the arrival of Baba Farid.[3] Baba Farid's establishment of a Jama Khana, or convent, in the city where his devotees would gather for religious instruction is seen as a process of the region's shift away from a Hindu orientation to a Muslim one.[3] Large masses of the town's citizenry were noted to gather at the shrine daily in hopes of securing written blessings and amulets from the convent.[3]

Upon Baba Farid's death in 1265, a shrine was constructed that eventually contained a mosque, langar, and several other related buildings.[3] The shrine was among the first Islamic holy sites in South Asia.[3]

The shrine's importance began to outweigh that of Ajodhan, and the city was subsequently renamed "Pakpattan" in honour of a ferry service over the Sutlej River that became popular with pilgrims to the shrine. Pilgrims regarded the ferry journey as a metaphorical journey of salvation in a boat piloted by the saint.[6]

In keeping with Sufi tradition in Punjab, the shrine maintains influence over smaller shrines throughout the region around Pakpattan that are dedicated to specific events in Baba Farid's life.[7] These secondary shrines form a wilayat, or a "spiritual territory" of the shrine.[7] in which the shrine of Baba Farid serves as the major centre for pilgrimage and devotion,[7] thereby identifying Pakpattan as the capital of Baba Farid's spiritual territory, or wilayat.[7]

The Shrine of Baba Farid was extended royal patronage from the Mughal court, while Emperor Shah Jahan in 1692 bestowed royal support for the shrine's Diwan, or chief, and descendants of Baba Farid, who eventually formed a class of landowners known as the Chistis. The shrine and Chistis were defended by an army of devotees drawn from local Jat clans.[3]

Chisti State[edit]

Following the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, the shrine's Diwan was able to forge a political independent state centred on Pakpattan.[3] In 1757, the territory of the Pakpattan shrine was extended across the Sutlej River after the shrine's head raised an army against the Raja of Bikaner.[3] The shrine's army was able to repel a 1776 attack by the Sikh Nakai Misl state, resulting in the death of the Nakai leader, Heera Singh Sandhu.[3]

Sikh era[edit]

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the now united Sikh Empire seized the city in 1810, removing the political autonomy of the Baba Farid shrine's chief.[3]

British era[edit]

During British rule, Pakpattan Town was the headquarters of the tehsil of the same name in the Montgomery District, 29 miles south-east of Montgomery station on the North-Western Railway. The municipality was created in 1867, the population in 1901 was 6,192. During the ten years ending 1902-3 the income averaged Rs. 7,200, and the expenditure Rs. 7,000. The income in 1903-4 was Rs. 8,400, chiefly derived from octroi; and the expenditure was Rs. 7,300.[5]

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India:

Pakpattan is also quite famous throughout South Asia, for a number of Sufi shrines, of which the most renowned is that of Hazrat Shaykh Farid ud Din Ganj Shakar, of the Chishti Order. It is venerated equally by Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.


Pakpattan is located about 207 km from Lahore and 205 km from Multan. The district is bounded to the northwest by Sahiwal District, to the north by Okara District, to the southeast by the Sutlej River and Bahawalnagar District, and to the southwest by Vehari District.


Punjabi is the native spoken language [8] but Urdu is also widely understood. Haryanvi also called Rangari is spoken among Ranghar, Rajput. Meo have their own language which is called Mewati.[citation needed]

Shrine of Baba Farid[edit]

The Shrine of Baba Farid is one of Pakistan's most revered shrines. Built in the town that was known in medieval times as Ajodhan, the old town's importance was eclipsed by that of the shrine, as evidenced by its renaming to "Pakpattan," meaning "Holy Ferry" - referencing a river crossing made by pilgrims to the shrine.[9] The shrine has since been a key factor shaping Pakpattan's economy, and the city's politics. [9]

The shrine's importance is highlighted by the visit of Sikh Emperor Ranjit Singh to the shrine, and his annual gift of 9,000 rupees to the shrine's upkeep. Singh also bestowed the saint's descendants with tracts of lands, and granted special tax privileges to them.


  1. ^ "National Dialing Codes". Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Maps (Map). Google Maps. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Richard M. Eaton (1984). Metcalf, Barbara Daly, ed. Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520046603. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Suvorova, Anna; Suvorova, Professor of Indo-Islamic Culture and Head of Department of Asian Literatures Anna. Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries. Routledge. ISBN 9781134370061. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Pakpattan - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 19, p. 332
  6. ^ Meri, Josef (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 9781135455965. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d Singh, Rishi (2015). State Formation and the Establishment of Non-Muslim Hegemony: Post-Mughal 19th-century Punjab. SAGE India. ISBN 9789351505044. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Mubeen, Muhammad (2015). Delage, Remy; Boivin, Michel, eds. Devotional Islam in Contemporary South Asia: Shrines, Journeys and Wanderers. Routledge. ISBN 1317379993.