Prahladpuri Temple, Multan

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Prahladpuri Temple
پرَہْلادْپُورِی مندر
Prahladpuri Temple View.jpg
Ruins of Prahladpuri Temple
Governing bodyPakistan Hindu Council
LocationMultan, Punjab Pakistan Pakistan
Prahladpuri Temple, Multan is located in Pakistan
Prahladpuri Temple, Multan
Shown within Pakistan
Geographic coordinates30°11′52″N 71°28′11″E / 30.19778°N 71.46972°E / 30.19778; 71.46972Coordinates: 30°11′52″N 71°28′11″E / 30.19778°N 71.46972°E / 30.19778; 71.46972
TypeHindu temple

Prahladpuri Temple (Urdu: پرَہْلادْپُورِی مندر‎) was an ancient Hindu temple located in Multan city of Punjab province in Pakistan, adjacent to the Shrine of Bahauddin Zakariya. It was named after Prahlada and dedicated to the Hindu deity Narasimha. The temple is presently in ruins, since its destruction in 1992 by rioters in retaliation for the destructtion of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India by a mob of Hindu nationalists earlier that year.



The original temple of Prahladpuri is said to have been built by Prahlada, son of Hiranyakashipu, the king of Multan (Kashya-papura)[1] in honor of Narsing Avatar, an incarnation of Hindu deity Vishnu, who emerged from the pillar to save Prahlada.[2][3][4][5]


The Prahladpuri temple like the Sun Temple of Multan suffered several material losses and was reduced to a nondescript shrine by the 19th century. It is located on top of a raised platform inside the Fort of Multan, adjacent to tomb of Baha’ul Haq Zakariya.[5] A mosque has subsequently built adjacent to temple.[6]

Sikh era[edit]

In 1810, the height of the temple was significantly raised, which lead to tensions with the Muslim community.[7] The records suggested by Dr. A.N. Khan say that temple was once rebuilt in the decade of 1810,[5] when the area was under the rule of Sikhs. However, Alexander Burnes, who visited the temple in 1831, said that he found it deserted and without a roof. In his memoir "Travels into Bokhara", he describes the Pyladpooree temple as a low building supported by wooden pillars, with Hanuman and Ganesha as guardians to its portal. He further quotes "It is the only place of Hindoo worship in Mooltan; we were denied entrance to it".[8] Later, in year 1849, when British laid siege of Multan Fort against Mul Raj, a shell fired by British army fell on gunpowder store within the fort, thus destroying almost all of the fort except the mausoleums of Bahauddin Zakaria and his sons and the Prahladpuri temple complex.[9] Alexander Cunningham described this temple as it was seen in 1853 by him who wrote that: “It was a square brick building with some very finely carved wooden pillars for the support of the roof.[5][10]

Colonial era[edit]

The present temple was first built in 1861 by Mahant Bawl Ram Das at cost of Rs.11,000 by way of public donation[5] and again in 1872 by the subsequent Mahanta of Prahladpuri temple with donations from Thakur Dawara Fateh Chand Tanksalia and other Hindu citizens of Multan.

1881 Riot[edit]

In 1881 while renovating the temple, a major dispute arose between Hindus & Muslims over the height of shikhara of the temple which was to be raised higher than the dome of the adjacent shrine of Bahauddin Zakariya, which was opposed by local Muslims.[11] Hindus also became vehemently opposed the sale of beef in the city, with the beef controversy eclipsing the temple controversy.[12]

On 20 September 1881, a communal riot erupted over the temple’s height and sale of beef, resulting in 50,000 rupees worth of damage.[13] Hindu rioters burned a mosque in the city's bazaar and attacked the Walli Muhammadi Mosque and burned a Quran,[14] which was then retaliated for by a Muslim mob 2 hours later that then attacked Prahladpuri Temple and burnt it.[15]

The entire contingent of British troops from Multan Cantonment were called out to control the mobs.[16] However, the temple was renovated with funds raised by Hindu community of Multan and was managed by the community.[17]

Post Independence[edit]

After the creation of Pakistan, most Hindus migrated to the newly independent Republic of India and the affairs of temple were managed by minority Hindus of city. The original idols of Lord Narasimha were taken to India by Baba Narayan Das Batra from Multan at the time of independence in 1947. They are now placed in a temple at Haridwar.

Retaliatory destruction[edit]

In 1992, the temple was destroyed by a Muslim mob in retaliation for the destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India by a Hindu mob that claimed it was built on a site of the birthplace of Ram.[18]


The temple was built on a high platform inside Multan Fort and was before 1992 a prominent landmark of Multan. It had a main hall, circumlocutory and skylights and a large mandapa. The central hall had a replica of idol under a baldachin.[5] Adjacent to temple was dharamshala complex.

Traditions, however, claim that the original temple was a columnar structure and both the roof and the columns supporting it were made of pure gold.[5] It is further stated that for some unknown reason, this entire building sank into ground and over it was built a new temple.[19]


The temple is of ancient origin and is located on the site where the original temple is said to have been built by Prahlada himself. It is the place where the Lord Narasimha is said to have appeared out of pillar to save him from his father Hiranyakashyapa.[2][4] The Hindus, therefore, believe the tradition and the festival of Holika Dahan started here.[18]


The temple is in ruins since its destruction by violent Muslim mob in 1992. In 2006, on occasion of Urs of Baha-ud-din Zakariya, the minister of government, ordered construction of facilities for Wuzu and in 2008 facilities for Langar in premises of temple. These actions were later protested by some NGOs as according to the Constitution of Pakistan, no Muslim construction can be done within the places of worship of other religions. A case was filed and court ordered stay on construction. The matter is still pending in court. Many peaceful protests were held by minority organizations and many persons and organizations have requested Government of Pakistan to restore this ancient temple of importance.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Syad Muhammad Latif (1963). The early history of Multan. p. 3,54. Kasyapa, is believed, according to the Sanscrit texts, to have founded Kashyapa-pura (otherwise known as Multan
  2. ^ a b Gazetteer of the Multan District, 1923-24 Sir Edward Maclagan, Punjab (Pakistan). 1926. pp. 276–77.
  3. ^ Imperial rule in Punjab: the conquest and administration of Multan, 1818-1881 by J. Royal Roseberry. pp. 243, 263.
  4. ^ a b All the year round , Volume 51. Charles Dickens. 1883.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-07. Retrieved 2015-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Survey & Studies for Conservation of Historical Monuments of Multan. Department of Archeology & Museums, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan
  6. ^ Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries By Anna Suvorova. p. 153.
  7. ^ Punjab (India) (1976). Extracts from the District & States Gazetteers of the Punjab, Pakistan: Punjab (Pakistan). Research Society of Pakistan, University of the Punjab.
  8. ^ Burnes, Alexander (1834). Travels into Bokhara, Volume 3. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. p. 116.
  9. ^ MONUMENTS OF MULTAN Survey & Studies for Conservation of Historical Monuments of Multan. Department of Archaeology & Museums, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan
  10. ^ Cunningham, 129
  11. ^ Malik, Ikram Ali (1984*). Hindu Muslim Riots in the British Punjab, 1849-1900: An Analysis. Can be had from Gosha-i-Adab. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Roseberry, James Royal (1977). The Administration of Multan, L8l8-l881: A Study of Local Society and Imperial Rule in Punjab. University of Wisconsin.
  13. ^ Punjab (India) (1902). Gazetteer of the Multan District. "Civil and Military Gazette" Press.
  14. ^ Proceedings - Punjab History Conference. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. 2000.
  15. ^ Proceedings - Punjab History Conference. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. 2000.
  16. ^ Ross, David (1883). The Land of the Five Rivers and Sindh: Sketches Historical and Descriptive. Chapman and Hall, limited.
  17. ^ Ajudhia Das, who was formerly Mahant of two temples at Multan named Prahlad and N'arasingpuri, was removed from his office on January 23rd, 1913, by a Panchayat appointed at a mass meeting of Hindus which was convened on that date. All India reporter, Volume 3 by D.V. Chitaley, 1923
  18. ^ a b c [1]
  19. ^ Latif, 54

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