Muhammed Sultan's Serai

Located just outside Delhi Gate in the Landa Bazaar are the remains of this once extensive serai. Sultan, a Kashmiri by caste, worked as a soap manufacturer in the time of the Sikhs. He was also an expert in the art of wrestling. Prior t the British rule, he was neither rich nor famous but during the time of the British, he became a contractor for Public Works, supplying bricks for the construction of cantonment and other city buildings. In a short period of time, he became immensely wealthy' and from Sultan the Kashmiri, came to be called Muhammed Sultan, the contractor.Muhammed Sultan's Serai

He was the destroyer of numerous old mosques and mausoleums, and the builder of edifices as numerous as those he demolished for the sake of bricks. Among his most notable works of destruction were the palaces of Pari Mahal and Rang Mahal and the magnificent mosque of Sitara Begum.

At the place where the serai was built, stood, in the time of Aurangzeb, the palaces of Dara Shaikoh, and the great market called Chowk Dara. Sultan purchased the site from the government and dug up the ground and excavated the foundations of Dara Shaikoh's palace, which proved to be a mine of bricks. With these bricks, he built the serai and the Landa Bazaar with its row of shops. The serai had two gates to the east and the north. Eastern gate was much larger but today only small portins of it survive. The northern gate has fared better and survives in the form of a doorway. There were rooms for the travelers on all four sides of the serai. For the British officers and other travelers of stature, there were better accommodations. A well was also dug up and the boundary wall was solid. To the west of the serai, he built a house for himself and a beautiful 3-domed mosque.

In the later part of his life, his health deteriorated and his wealth disappeared. He came under debt of around 700,000 rupees and had to mortgage all of his property to the Maharaja of Jammu to pay off his debtors. He died two to three years after and the Muslims of time maintained that his misfortune date from his destruction of Sitara Mosque, the house of God.

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