MULTAN: The historical temple of Suraj Kund which is on the list of 52 monuments to be preserved on the pattern of Morocco’s city Fez, awaits action from the authorities as it is nearing collapse.
The temple is located in the south of the city on Old Shujabad Road. Historian Hafeez Khan says according to Hindu mythology Hiranyakashyapu was the king of Multan who had a sister, Holika, and a son, Prahlad.
Hiranyakashyapu was blessed by Brahma (god) that no known man or animal born in the natural process could kill him; that he could not die in the day or in the night, on earth or in heavens, either by fire, water or by any weapon. After getting the blessing, he commanded his subjects to worship him but his son, Prahlad, refused to do so.
He said that the king asked Holika who had power to remain safe in fire to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad. She was unaware of the fact the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad came out unharmed while Holika was burnt to ashes.
The act of the king enraged Lord Vishnu who incarnated himself as Narasimha or Narsingh (half-man, half-lion) to destroy Hiranyakashyap. Narsingh, neither a man nor an animal, came out of a broken pillar, and tore up Hiranyakashyap. It was dusk time -- neither day nor night -- and satisfied the condition of Brahma's boon and destroyed the evil, he added.
‘To cool down, the indignant of Vishnu, sun god, moon god, star god and others descended from the heavens at a place near the temple that was already situated there. Vishnu took both from the nearby pool (Kund) and an idol of Narsingh was placed in the temple by removing the idol of Hiranyakashyap,’ he said.
He said that the pool where Narsingh had taken bath became the holiest place for the Hindus and they visited Multan from all over India to take bath (Ashnan) in this pool.
He said that the place where all gods were landed had become holy for the Hindus and they distributed Parshad (sweets) to pay homage to their gods.
‘Interestingly, the place is sacred for the Muslims. Here, Shah Shams Subzwari brought down the sun to roast a piece of meat when the people of Multan refused to give him fire. A mosque was made there after Partition as before partition all the population of Suraj Kund was Hindu,’ he said.
He said that Dewan Sawan Mul who remained governor of Multan for 23 years (1821-1844) concreted the pool and also rebuilt the old temple.
Waris Ali who witnessed the glory of the temple before partition told Dawn that after the announcement of the creation of Pakistan, the Muslims of the nearby villages attacked Suraj Kund and burnt the temple. Bundu Das, the caretaker of the temple, escaped with the idol.
He said that before the start of winter, Hindu devotees would lay blankets there for visitors and before the start of summer hand-fans.
Punjab Archeology Department in charge Malik Ghulam Muhammad told Dawn the department was preparing PC-I of 52 monuments for preservation under a Prime Minister’s Development Package.