Article of the Month
The architecture of the numerous mosques, tombs and madras- sahs/khanqahs at Uch has been described as an extension of, or a derivation from. the better-known monuments of Multan However, while these two centres did have close cultural and political ties, the characteristics of the Uch monuments are sufficiently distinct to be identified as a related but independent building tradition There are two distinct types of buildings to be found at Uch:
fiat-roofed and domed. Both also exist in Multan. But while the brick-domed structures might well have been inspired by Mul- tan precedents, the reverse might equally be true of the flat roofed timber forms. These flat-roofed structures are represented by the tombs of Jalal Din Surkh Bukhari, Abu Hanifa,
Jahaniyan Jahan Gasht and Rajan Oattal. The dates of original construction in most of these are not certain, and most of them were restored or rebuilt during the 19th or early 20th centuries. Nevertheless, even in their present form they faithfully represent the originals built in the 13th and 14th centuries. This is borne out by inscriptions on the tombs recording the restorations, and is confirmed by the remaining structure of the tomb of Abu Hanifa, which has survived in its original shape without major repairs.
Typically, these structures consist of rectangular halls, with flat timber roofs made up of boards on purloins carried on timber beams spanning from column capital to column capital in both directions. The column capitals themselves are elaborately carved brackets supported on slender square, round or octagonal posts. The interior woodwork is painted or lacquered with brilliant yellow and white floral designs, usually on a brilliant red or orange ground. The enclosing external walls are in fine burnt-clay bricks, often in mud or lime plaster, cut and dressed into a variety of geometric patterns. The walls are sometimes slightly battered, and occasionally reinforced with timber courses. The entrances are usually marked by a generous projecting porch, also in timber, with projecting eaves. These details are characteristics also of the domestic architecture of the region as it survived into the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The use of brick domes was usually restricted to mausoleum, but may on occasion have been employed for a Zavia or madrassah. Typical of the domed mausoleum at Uch are those of BahauDin Uchi (also known as Baha-al-Halim), Bibi Jawindi, Ustad
Ladla and Musa Pak Shahid32. The development of this type of tomb structure has been traced from the Tomb of Khaliq or Khalid Walid near Multan to a similar tomb at Bela in Baluchistan, to the tomb of Shah Gardez at Adam Wahan in Bahawalpur, to the tomb of Baha ul-Din Zakariya at Multan (1262), to the mausoleum of Shah Rukn al-Din Rukn-i-Alam (1320- 25)33.
Although none of the domed mausoleum at Uch have survived without major damage, the features of a distinct local style are evident from the remaining structures. These consist of an approximately hemispherical, slightly-pointed dome on an octagonal drum over a square or octagonal chamber, with round corner towers, slightly tapered towards the top and sloped inwards. Externally, the surfaces are decorated with striking bands of blue glazed tiles, alternating with broad bands of lime plaster. Each of the round corner towers and smaller turrets on the octagonal drum appear to have been crowned with elaborately sculptured floral forms. The tombs of Baha al-Halim and of Bibi Jawindi are probably the best examples of the domed mausolea at Uch.
Among the other extant buildings of this period are the much altered tombs of Baba Farid-ud-Din Shakar Ganj and Ala-ud-Din Mauj-e-Darya at Pakpattan (Ajudhan). The latter was built by Shah Mohammad Tughlaq in 1335-34.
Taken From "The Architecture of Pakistan" By Kamil Khan Mumtaz
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