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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture- 1983, Shah Rukn-i-Alam Tomb, Multan (June 26, 1984)

The mausoleum of Shah Rukn-i-Alam, built in 1320-24 AD is a massive, two storied, octagonal structure, Built mainly in red brick it is elaborately ornamented with dark blue, azure and white tiles.
2.The Mausoleum of the celebrated saint Sheikh-Rukn-Ud-Din, is the climax of Multan-style of tomb-architecture. This magnificent Mausoleum is unique for its architectural embellishment and has been rightly called by late Sir John Marshall, the famous archaeologist and author as \'One of the most splendid memorials ever erected in honour of the dead\'. If Sher Shah Sun\'s mausoleum at Sasaram, India, is the masterpiece of the Sultanate period and the Taj, the climax of the Mughal (lndo-Talmurid) tomb-architecture, the mausoleum of Shaikh Rukn-i-Alam is at the zenith of architectural glory of Multan-style. It is unique in its sophisticated surface decorations. The red of the bricks, cobalt blue of the enamelled tiles and dull brown of the timber, laid in a most visual and schematic pattern, leaves a pleasant impression on the viewer.
3.This colossal mausoleum is a diminishing gigantic mass in four stories viz., a ground floor, octagonal in plan, a second storey also octagonal but lesser in diameter, a high neck surmounted by a hemispherical dome culminating in a structural lantern and a golden pinnacle, which appears to be a later addition. The height above the floor, excluding the lantern and the pinnacle, is 99 ft. 1 inch, but as the mausoleum stands on a high artificial mound, the total height is about 160 ft. above the ground which gives it an appearance of a tower-tomb. The ground floor has a diameter of 49 ft. 3 1/2 inches each side measuring 20 ft. 6 inches from interior. The walls of the ground storey are 13 ft. 10 inches thick and 41 ft. 3 inches high including the parapet composed of battlement of blind-niched merlons. At angular points, the mausoleum is strengthened by sloping solid turrets with a total height of 53 ft. 3 inches. The slope in the walls is one in 27 inches which appears proportionate and impressive. 4.As many as ten building crafts and devices, as mentioned below, were used for the first time in the subcontinent in the construction of this grand edifice:-
(i)Introduction of Octagonal plan for the tomb.
(ii) Carved wood Mehrab.
(iii) Cut and dressed brick-work.
(iv) Carved and cut brick work.
(v)Enamelled tile work in a schematic way.
(vi) Enamelled tile intarsia work.
(vii) Filigree work.
(viii) Turn wheel (Kharadi) timber ornamental work.
(ix) Lacquer work.
(x) Gilding work.
5.This remarkable tomb won the Agha Khan Award for Architecture in 1983 (the Restoration of the tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam) which is a great honour for Pakistan, its architects and crafts-men. The award consisted of a trophy and a cash prize of U.S. $ 45,000/-
6.Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp on the tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam of the denomination of 60 paisa on June 26, 1984 to focus attention on its architectural magnificence.