The mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam is also situated on the fort mound. The Shaikh was the son of Pir Sadar-Al-Din Arif born at Multan on the 9th of Friday Ramazan 649/26 November 1251. He was the grandson and successor of Shaikh Baha-Al-Din Zakariya.
Shaikh Rukn-i-Alam (Rukn-al-Din) died on the 7th of Friday (735/3 Jamadial-Awwal, January 1335). He was buried in the mausoleum of his grandfather, according to his own will. After sometime, however, his coffin was transferred to the present mausoleum. It was constructed, according to a popular belief, by Ghiyas-al-Din Tughluq (1340-1350) during the days of his governorship of Depalpur, but was given by Feruz Shah Tughluq to the descendents of Shah Rukn-I-Alam for the latter’s burial. The mausoleum of Rukn-I-Alam has been admired by not only the travelers and chroniclers but also by the art-historians and archaeologist who wrote the architectural history of the subcontinent.
The tomb was built on octagon plan, 90 ft in diameter with walls which are 414 ft high and 13.3 ft thick. The mausoleum was constructed with burnt bricks and supported by timber framing, and decorated with tile faced bricks and wood beams. The whole structure is divided into three stories. Over the second story is a smaller Octagon, leaving a narrow3 passage all around the place, above which stands a hemispherical dome. As the tomb is standing on a high artificial mound, it is visible from about 45 kilometers. Most of its patterns are geometric-created by arranging the glazed tiles-and a living testimony to creative genius of their designers. The building is also decorated with some floral as well as calligraphic patterns. In the 1970s the mausoleum was thoroughly repaired and renovated by the Auqaf Department of the Punjab Government. The entire glittering glazed interior is the result of new tiles and brickwork done by the Kashigars of Multan. This clearly demonstrates the talents and dexterity of the local craftsmen.
The Mazar of Rukn-i-Alam is the glory of Multan. When the city is approached from any side the most prominent thing which can be seen from miles all around is a huge dome. This dome is the Shrine of Sheikh Rukn-ud-Din Abul Fath commonly known by the title Rukn-e-Alam (pillar of the world). The tomb is located on the south-West side of the Fort premises. In beauty and grandeur so other dome perhaps equals it This elegant building is an octagon, 51 feet 9 inches in diameter internally, with walls 41 feet 4 inches high and 13 feet 3 inches thick, supported at the angles by sloping towers. Over this is a smaller octagon 25 feet 8 inches, on the exterior side, and 26 feet 1 0 inches high, leaving a narrow passage all-round the top of the lower story for the Moazzan, or public caller to prayers. The whole is surmounted by hemispherical dome of 58 feet external diameter. The total height of the building, including a plinth of 3 feet, is 100 feet. As it stands on the high ground, the total height above the road level is 150 feet. This contributes materially to the majestic and colossal appearance of the tomb, making it the most prominent object of view to the visitors. Besides its religious importance, the mausoleum is also of considerable archaeological value as its dome is reputed to be the second largest in the world after ‘Gol Gumbad’ of Bijapur (India), which is the largest.
The mausoleum is built entirely of red brick, bounded with beams of Shisham wood, which have now turned black after so many centuries. The whole of the exterior is elaborately ornamented with glazed tile panels, string courses and battlements. Colors used are dark blue, azure, and white, but these are contrasted with the deep red of the finely polished bricks, while the result is both effective and pleasing. These mosaics are not like those of later day’s plane surfaces, but the patterns are raised from half an inch to two inches above the background. This mode of construction must have been very difficult but its increased effect is undeniable, as it unites all the beauty and variety of colors with the light and shade of a raised pattern.
The grave of Rukn-e-Alam is of plain brick work covered with plaster. The tomb was said to have been built by Ghias-ud-Din Tughlak for himself, but was given up by his son Muhammad Tughlak in favor of Rukn-e-Alam, when he passed away from this world during 1 330 AD at the age of 88. It is generally believed that Sh. Rukn-e-Alam was not. Equal in piety and sanctity to his illustrious grandfather Bahawal Haq, but there is no doubt that he was one of the most accomplished men of his age. He taught his disciples a modified form of metempsychosis, and discoursed with the people on metaphysical subjects.
He was on friendly terms with the saint Nizam-ud-Din of Dehli and was visited by the emperors of Dehli more than once. The hereditary guardians of the Shrine of Bahawal Haq and Rukn-e-Alam are called the Mukhdums of Multan, and they have thousands of disciples in southern Punjab and Sindh.
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