MonumentDHARMSHALA BHAI DYAL SINGH
LocationKUCHA DAYAL SINGH, INSIDE DELHI GATE
OwnerEvacuee Property Trust Board, Govt. of Pakistan (EPTB) (Non-Muslim Auqaf).
PRESENT: PRIVATE DWELLINGS RENTED by EPTB.
Period / DateLATE 19TH CENTURY - EARLY BRITISH PERIOD
Historical NotesThere is no evidence as to when precisely this Dharmsala was built and who was Dyal Sigh who built it. Only one reference to this institution could be traced out in the 1902 edition of the Multan District Gazetteer . In the subsequent edition of this Gazetteer published in 1926, even this brief reference has been dropped for unknown reason. According to the Compiler of 1902 edition, this complex was known as Dharmsala Bhai Dayal Singh. It was situated in the north–east of the city, maintained by a respectable group of Nirmala Sadhus and was patronized by several of the better classes of Hindus in the city. It contained a open hall, in which the Granth was suitably installed. As it has been named after a Sikh this Dharmsala must have basically belonged to the Sikh Community of Multan which is further supported by the many inscriptions within the structure which all reveal Sikh names. One inscription gives the name of Devidayal younger son of Hari Narayan Singh of Shuja Abad. Another inscription reads the name of Arjun Singh Qanungo, resident of Akal Garh Bikrami/ 1906 AD. One other inscription on a large marble slab scribed in English fixed on the wall is dedicated to Shri Mati Vira Bai, wife of Pokhar Dass, son of Lala Ganga Ram Chopra, who died on 13th June 1924. Still another inscription in black stone but Urdu script tells us that one Chandar Bhan Poj Patta Bhai Buta Mal , caste Sukheja, resident of Multan rendered some service for this building (tehl karai – in reward of service) in 1905 AD.
Description / Main FeaturesIt was originally spread over a large area with entrance through a gate beyond which was a covered passage, traces of which still remain. The main building comprises a large hall with two attached wings on left and right – all the three sections are now under different occupations. The remaining property has also been parceled out among a group of tenants and occupants and clumsily overbuilt and ill-maintained. The only portion easily accessible and worthy of visit is the main central building. It is a fine example constructed of large size bricks. Various decorative features have been created either by cutting the bricks or by molding them. Projection and corner protuberances are particularly noteworthy. Brackets under the projections are made of peacocks, snakes and vegetable shapes. The façade is in the form of a half-octagonal with a rectangular hall behind. The remaining parts of the roof behind the façade shows that once it had a beautifully painted false ceiling, now preserved only over a small portion near the entrance. The hall has now been divided into various parts and used for different purposes. The floor is laid with marble slabs many among them carry inscriptions in Urdu English and Landai scripts which record the names of those who had rendered some service for this building. Some of the dedicatory slabs are fixed on the dado. Three even give dates of their dedications.
Access / EnvironsIt is a long walk from Delhi Gate to Mohalla Maharaja Ram, Ward No. 7, Kucha Dayal Singh.
Present ConditionEncroached by at least a hundred families for residential purposes, it is in very poor condition and difficult to access as additional structures and encroachments have been built around it. The left and right sides are damaged and new construction has completely destroyed the authenticity of the monument.
INTERVENTIONSThe numerous structures constructed within the premises have left little of the original.
ReferencesDistrict Gazetteer (Extracts), 348;
Dharmshala Dayal Singh
Vehicular Access / ParkingNo access and no parking.
Use of SpaceResidential use; the building has been subdivided by numerous encroachments. Buffalo kept in part of the building.
Visitor FacilitiesNone available.
ElectricityElectricity is available with meters; dense wiring in front of the building.
SewerageOpen drains run along the gali in front of the building.
DrainageRun off is down the slope towards the main street to the west; there are areas outside the building of dampness collecting near the base of walls.
Solid WasteSolid waste is deposited in the lanes around the building; the area is littered and not kept clean.
Pavement and surfacesStreet surface is PCC conglomerate; courtyard of dharamshalla is marble
External threatsThere are numerous structural cracks in the encroaching buildings abutting the monument which threaten the site.
ConditionCracks are visible throughout; there is overloading due to unauthorized building additions. There are cracks from the tops of all internal arches and openings. External walls have substantial cracks in upper portions in particular. The critical structural issue is the collapsing roof and upper parapet which are dangerous and in need of immediate action.