Multan is probably the second-best location to visit in Punjab after Lahore. With rich cultural history, amazing foodie adventures, and beautiful shrines, Multan is definitely a destination to be explored in late Autumn and winter. I planned a trip to Multan in January 2022. My focus on this trip was to explore the foodie joints in Multan as well as visit some historical locations in the city. For foodies and road-trippers, Multan can be an amazing destination for a weekend break.
How to travel to Multan from Lahore?
The average driving distance between Lahore and Multan is approximately 400 km. Winters can offer a challenge for drivers in the morning as the plains between Lahore and Multan are blanketed in thick fog. This can be a major hazard on the road, therefore, keeping you posted on the Motorway is a good idea.
We decided to start early and took GT Road. The driving conditions were difficult and at times we stopped at the roadside cafes to get some tea. The fog started clearing up around 830 am. However, by this time we had covered half the distance between Lahore and Multan.
Multan can be easily accessed from Lahore by train, bus, or private transport. Car rental is a great idea, as you can stop over on the way and get to explore many places in a short time.
The area between Lahore and Multan is mostly flat and is fed by rivers and an extensive system of canals. The intercity motorway cuts through the fertile plains of Punjab with mustard plantations in winter. The rich plains of Punjab are fed by one of the biggest irrigation networks in the world from major rivers crossing the region. We stopped on River Chenab to enjoy some scenic views of these majestic plains.
The Rivers of Punjab are major sources of freshwater fish. Plenty of fresh fish vendors have shops along with the river selling a variety of freshwater fish. The fish is normally served deep-fried.
First Stop in Multan – Shah Rukunuddin Alam Shrine
One of the major landmarks of Multan is a circular brick structure, the shrine of Shah Rukkudin and Bahauddin Zikriya which identifies the city of Multan in pictures. The early history of Multan has a rich Sufi tradition with many saints who arrived from Central Asia and made Multan the center of their teaching.
Shrines of many saints still occupy an important place in the rich spiritual and cultural history of the region. The shrine is also home to thousands of pigeons that are fed by visitors to the shrines.
Devotees visit these shrines from far-flung areas to pay homage to these saints. These shrines are maintained and managed by the Auqaf department of Punjab. Two major shrines Shaha Rukun Uddin and Bahauddin Zikriya are located very close to each other. The shrines are surrounded by beautiful gardens and parks that are popular picnic spots for families.
Exploring the Old City of Multan
The old part of Multan city spread around the foot of the hill on which Shah Rukun Uddin Shrine is located. Visually, the streets leading from the shrines to the Clock tower have a number of lanes leading to the inner city bazaars. The traditional heritage is kept alive by having sections of the inner city divided into various markets specializing in metal goods, clothing stores, and jewelry markets.
Exploring these markets on foot is a great experience and you will see vendors from all parts of the country selling imported material, local fabrics, stitched clothes, handwoven shawls and hand made sandals, etc.
The Clock Tower in Multan
The Clock Tower in Multan is a central location in the city and is currently home to a number of government departments including the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). The office is a storehouse of very useful information on tourism in the region. The staff is very supportive and friendly and can provide useful itineraries for travel in the region and also help get accommodation in the hotels in the area.
We tried to book a few hotels but most of the 4-5 star hotels were booked out due to some major event in the city. We are able to find a quality hotel near the “Clock Tower on Kacheri Road. The Crown Inn is a 3-star property that is a very reasonably priced and well-maintained property located in the commercial area of Multan.
We stayed in this hotel and enjoyed our stay. The deluxe rooms are well-furnished with all amenities. I highly recommend booking execute rooms if you want to enjoy extra space and comfort.
Where to eat in Multan?
Multan has a number of quality uptown restaurants as well as traditional desi eat-outs. We were recommended a few places by the hotel staff and we planned to check these places out.
Gulghast area is a modern uptown part of the town with a number of quality eateries. I enjoyed a lavish dinner at Shah Jahan Grill, which I highly recommend for the menu, ambiance as well as location. The menu has a good selection of continental food as well as desi dishes.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is very lavish and the quality of service is also very impressive.
Another interesting place visited for dinner is Angan in Gulghast Colony. The restaurant is very well decorated and offers a buffet dinner. The dinner, however, is a la carte. . I tried a number of local vegetarian and meat dishes. The quality of the food and service was impressive. The salad choice and selection are also very impressive. Angan is definitely my choice for my next visit to Multan.
Other local recommendations include “Al Nemat Restaurant” which is very popular with families due to its very reasonably priced snacks, fast food, and BBQ. the grilled fish is also very popular. The Green Karahi is highly recommended. This is a mid-range joint and is good for a casual quick bite.