Multan Sun Temple

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Sun Temple of Multan
Sun Temple of Multan is located in Pakistan
Sun Temple of Multan
Sun Temple of Multan
Location within Pakistan
Coordinates 30°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
Primary deity Surya
Architectural styles Hindu temple
History and governance
Governing body Pakistan Hindu Council

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


The original Sun Temple at Multan is said to have been built by Samba, son of Krishna, to gain relief from the symptoms of his leprosy.[3][4][5] The Sun Temple is also mentioned by Greek Admiral Skylax, who passed through the area in 515 BC. Multan, earlier known as Kashyapapura, and its temple are also mentioned by Herodotus.[6]

Hsuen Tsang is said to have visited the temple in 641 AD, and described an idol of the Sun God made of pure gold with eyes made from 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 the Sun God. Hsuen Tsang is also said to have seen several devadasis ("dancing girls") in the temple.[8][9][10] Travelers like Hsuen Tsang, Istakhari and others, mentioned other idols in their travelogue, saying that the idols of Shiva and Buddha were also installed in the temple.[11]

After the conquest of Multan by the Umayyad Caliphate in the 8th century AD, under the leadership of 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 close to the temple, 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 a 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] Al-Baruni visited Multan in the 10th Century AD and left a 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] Al-Baruni 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]

The city of Multan may get its name from the Sanskrit name for the Sun idol and Sun temple, Mulasthana.[21][22] The exact site of the Sun Temple of Multan is unknown, and is the subject of ongoing 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