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Monday, 26 February 2018


by Ali Usman Baig

Few years back, I have visited a 400 years old Mughal Era Bridge located on Degh Nala. My inspiration to visit that place was a detailed article written on this site by Sir Salman Rasheed. In his  article, Sir Salman Rasheed also point out about another Mughal era old bridge located on branch of the Degh called the Chhoti or Lesser Degh not many miles to the west. 

Unfortunately, I could not able to trace exact location of this place for quite some time. At last I found it and visited this place last Sunday; it has coordinates (31°38'47.21"N,   74°14'33.37"E)
The bridge was operational in past; it was supposed heavy rains and a flood of 1976 were source of collapsing it. You will found debris lies in the stream at site. 

The bridge length was found to be 30 meter, which is exactly equivalent to Mughal Era Bridge situated on main Degh River. It was an arch bridge spanning over four arches at 7.5 meter center to center distance. The bridge supposed to be constructed in later decades of sixteenth century.

The chemical and mineralogical characterization of 17th century Mughal mortars, renders and plaster have shown the type of coarse (brick, kankar pieces, slag) and fine (river sand) aggregates usually embedded in calcite lime binder. The varying binder aggregate ratio was normally dependant on the functional aspect of the masonry unit. The chemical composition (major and trace) indicated locally available raw materials for the construction of these historic monuments. In current bridge, Nanak Shahi bricks construction has seen internally reinforced and filled with calcite lime mortar.

Arch bridges are one of the most popular types of bridges, which came into use over 3000 years ago. Because of their design, stone and wood arch bridges became very popular during the Roman Empire, when architects managed to build over 1000 stone arch bridges in Europe, Asia and North Africa. Many of those bridges remain standing even today. The attribution of collapse of this bridge from 1976 flood looks wrong to me as I have seen disintegration of arch members from top crown. The arch bridge carries loads primarily by compression. Such types of failure occur in structures when over loaded vehicles more randomly crossing over it; ironically this bridge was common route of loaded tractor trolley for decades. Understandably, Mughal Architects does not design it for such wheel loads. 

There is still remnant of 02 ft high and 40 meter length roadside wing wall running on both ends of bridge along the road. There are also columns at start of this wing wall. So the bridge could be visible from some distance. The bridge length is of almost double then the present Nala width, which shows the Nala width reduced as the water flow in river Ravi tremendously reduced with passage of time At present a new bridge is constructed over the debris.

In past the bridge was source of crossing the Degh for military troops of Mughal and Sikh Army’s. It has seen many centuries. Unfortunately no concerned department has ever taken any step to restore or protect it and made floods responsible for its destruction. 

A history vanish forever. 

  Looking towards Debris
 Wing Walls
 new bridge & old bridge
 Another view
 Disintegration from Crown
 Pillars at crown wall
 view of debris from new bridge
 wing wall
 Another view of wing wall

 Wing Wall

Google earth view 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Mamdot Villa


Nawab Shah Nawaz Khan was born at Mamdot in 1883. Sir Shah Nawaz Mamdot played a pivotal role in organizing the historic session of All-India Muslim league in March 1940 of Lahore and bare permanently all expenses. He became one of the trusted lieutenants of Quaid-e -Azam from 1937 to 1947.

Mamdot villa at Lahore was almost a second home of Quaid-e-Azam.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Kot Ramdas, the Ruin’s of Gurdwara & Grave of Muslim Saint in Sikh Smadi

Visited the place: 02-07-2017
Written by:  Ali Usman Baig

Kot Ramdas is a small village, which is situated some three miles South of Nandipur. Outside Kot Ramdas in green fields a two story, square, British era building is standing. On first look building does not gave you any impression that this was an old Gurdawara. Locals told before 1947 Partition, KOT Ramdas was a Sikh populated Village. After, Pakistan came into being; no Sikh family left in Kot Ramdas as they migrated to India. From then, it was converted and used as a girl’s school. Few years back the top roof which was resting on wooden beams has been collapsed and also it created cracks on walls.  The building is in no use now and in extreme critical condition and can be fallen down at anytime.  

Nobody knows the exact history and year of construction of this Gurdwara. However, the building structural member’s configuration and construction material usage gives a rough idea that it must have been constructed in early years of Nineteenth Century.

The most interesting element of fascination in front elevation is the multifold arch entrance. Also, the arrangement of square windows and closed brick masonry arches in front elevation wall was magnificently designed.

In front of Gurdwara, we found remnant of brick masonry wall, which was used as a Sarovar in past. Sarovar/sacred pools are considered to have curative properties because of the continual prayers of Sikh scripture recited in the vicinity.

On backside, of this Gurdwara three well-constructed Smadi’s are present. Unfortunately, the inner walls which once painted with fresco art work are   white washed. However, outer walls paint work is still in original colors up to some extent. On top of Smadi’s roof domes are present with equal partitioned lining and art work.

Well, constructed Smadi’s is a sign that Sikh’s living in KOT Ramdas village before 1947 partition must be wealthy and rich. There is also a fourth Smadi’s which is located at some distance from Gurdwara.

In one Smadi, you will found a grave, which is told to be of Muslim Saint.  This Smadi was tried to be converted into a Tomb. However, Locals told that it was an illegal failed attempt to occupy the Gurdwara’s land.

 In past there was also a well in vicinity, which was filled with time.
One more interesting thing is carved painting of peacock in backside boundary wall.

There is no research and writing specifically done on this Gurdwara. My purpose of visiting this place was to document this place before it got vanishes from eyes forever.

One last thing, which hurts me after visiting this place, was that, this building was used as a school for more than five decades.  When I visit this place, there were children playing in vicinity of this gurduwara, most of them telling proudly their parents got education in this building in past. Now the building taking its last breathes, this building was their first institute of schooling, which is now turned into ruins.

Everybody have childhood memories, specifically associated with their schools. I don’t know how the old alumnus of this school feels, as their childhood memories turned into ruins and debris.

I wished they at least have taken some steps to preserve their school if not doing this for a Gurdwara building.

 The Smadi Converted into Shrine
 (Three Smadi's)
 (Fersco Art Work)
 Gurdawara and Smadi's in Background


 The carved Peacock Painting on Boundary Wall
 Krishna Painting
 The Muslim Grave in Smadi
 (another View)
(04th Smadi)

Monday, 5 February 2018

The Brick Tomb of Sheikh Sadan Shaheed

02 November, 2017

I came to acquaintance with this tomb few years back, when one of my friend Dr. Muzamil shared picture of this tomb with me. I was amazed by the cut-brick decoration on the walls of this building. I did not see such type of architecture in Pakistan before. I thought this is the only one of its kind but I was wrong.

This tomb is supposed to be constructed in Khiljis dynasty. The Khiljis dynasty fallowed by Muslim Tughlaq, who also followed Ghorids & Slave dynasty 1320-1413 dynasty.
The tomb of Muhammad Harun, an Arab governor of Makran in the early years of the 8th century A.D, is regarded to be the earliest Muslim tomb in Pakistan. This brick structure is square in plan and the square chamber is directly covered by a low dome. The second specimen in the series is the so-called tomb of Khalid Walid at the village of Khattichaur near Kabirwala.

The last example of the series is the tomb of Sheikh Sadan Shaheed, near village Jalaran, on the Muzaffar Garh – Jhang road. This brick tomb is square in plan and is erected on a high platform about two meters above the surrounding ground levels. The fine cut-brick decoration gives this tomb a unique place among the early funerary buildings in Pakistan and shows the impact and continuation of the Hindu-Buddhist architectural decoration, which is not found on early Muslim buildings in Pakistan. Internally the square chamber is converted into an octagon by means of corner squinches, which have a few courses of corbelled bricks.

I visited this tomb last year on first week of November; the day was Thursday. I witnessed huge numbers of gathering of followers coming with families on tractor trolleys from nearby villages to pay their gratitude and tribute. There is small mosque situated near tomb as well. People were reciting Quran and some were binding ribbons of hope at entrance of Tomb. There were few stalls as well where you could find pastil, bangles sweets and Shawls having writing of Quranic versus on them.

The location of this tomb is some 2.5 kilometers from Chenab River. There are two stories locals associated with this tomb.  One is that when Sheikh Sadan Shaheed died the locals buried them on nearby sand dunes and built his tomb there. That, location was different from the current tomb site. It is said that, Sheikh Sadan Shaheed was follower of Taunsa Sahib and Sheikh Saadan and first shrine was supposed to be built at higher ground level then Taunsa Sahib Shrine. So as gratitude of follower to s murshid even after his death, his shrine slipped down from top of nearby sand dunes with passage of time. 

The second myth associate with this tomb is that no roof can be constructed on top of this tomb.

I don’t know how much truth present in  these myths and stories but the most amazing truth which nobody can deny about this  tomb is that: It is symbolic representation of our rich civilization and heritage that our land  possess. The cut brick work is one of its own kind. More efforts required from concerned to preserve this national heritage. 

   (followers binding ribbons of hope at enterance)
 (Women Reciting Quran)
 Followers from nearby villages
 Binding ribbon of hope
  locals thought the original location of this tomb was at top of this sand dune
 local from nearby villages came for offering there gratitude
 Nearby Mosque
 Inside View of Tomb

 local villagers
Chenab in background