LAHORE is a Municipal city, has been the capital of
Punjab for nearly a thousand years, and the administrative head-quarters
of a Division and District of the same name. It is situated one mile to
the south of the river Ravi, and some 23 miles from the eastern border
of the district. The city is built in the form of a parallelogram, the area within the walls, exclusive
of the citadel, being about 461 acres. It stands on the alluvial plain
traversed by the river Ravi. The city is slightly elevated above the
plain, and has a high ridge within it, running east and west on its
northern side. The whole of this elevated ground is composed of the
accumulated debris of many centuries. The river, which makes a very
circuitous bend from the East, passes in a semi-circle to the North of
Lahore. Lahore has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It is a
fine place to watch the world rush by. The improbable mix of painted
trucks, cars, bullock carts, buses, handcarts, scooters with whole
There is an ancient Punjabi adage,
"One who hasn't seen Lahore, hasn't been
Lahore is "Queen of cities"; others are "like a golden
ring, she the diamond."
Lahore Central Museum, was originally the
"Industrial Art Museum of the Punjab". Lahore was important
because of the key position of Punjab in the Indian Empire. Recently
annexed, efficiently administered in less than 30 years there had been
progress in irrigation, land settlement and a forestation. The British
were also keen to foster, develop and support local craftsmanship. Many
projects were undertaken. There are Gandhara, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain,
Indus valley and Islamic collections, wonderful paintings from Mughal
times and from the Punjab Hills, and many wonderful examples of
handicrafts, rugs and carvings. The collections of calligraphy are also
The Museums most famous exhibits include a Koran
which is a thousand years old, and several sculptures including the
emaciated fasting siddhartha from Taxila, the miracle of Sarasvati, and
the green goddess, Athena.
There are some fine prehistoric displays showing
archaeological finds half a million years old from the area around
Islamabad, and the struggle for Pakistan is well documented.
Out side the museum, not far away, Zamzama, the 18th
century fire piece immortalized by Kipling as "Kim's Gun",
takes up a surprising length of space in the middle of road.
Lahore is still growing, and Just like any other
city, there is incessant redevelopment. Old buildings become replaced by
modern concrete architecture. Modern sites of interest include the
Minar-i-Pakistan which marks the spot where the Pakistan Resolution was
passed on 23rd March 1940. It is located in lqbal Park. The tomb of the
philosopher and poet is in the Hazuri Bagh beside the Badshahi Masjid.
The WAPDA House building is, an example of a modern office block, with a
glass dome and a roof garden. Behind is the Punjab Assembly Hall and
before both, the modern Summit Minar are more interesting.
The Fortress Stadium is an attempt to combine the
style of merlons from a fort like Rohtas with a sports stadium. The
Stadium is the site of the famous Horse and Cattle Show in March. This
includes a display of livestock but also many spectacular feats of
horsemanship, tentpegging, dressage, camel dancing, racing, folk
dancing, pomp and pageantry. It is accompanied by exhibitions displaying
Pakistani craftsmanship and industry and is one of the most colourful of
Perhaps the best places to see new buildings are the
suburbs being developed by returning migrants, which are a happy blend
of influences and styles from the world. Lahore has plenty of fine parks
and a zoo, other leisure areas for the city have been developed in the
vicinity. These include Changa Manga, a man made forest, originally
planted and irrigated by the British to provide wood for railway
engines. Nowadays there is a miniature, steam driven railway and an
artificial lake with boats on.
Jallo National Park is more recent. It is also a
recreational and picnic site, with a zoo, children's play area, a lake
with motor and rowing boats, and other kinds of amusement. Beside it
Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Iqbal Park around the Minar-e-Pakistan, Model Town
Park, Race Course Park, which deservedly attract not only town-dwellers
but visitors as well.
"A garden," Babar wrote, "is the
purest of human pleasure." This impressive Mughal monument, the
most complete Moghal garden in the entire Indian subcontinent, is on the
Grand Trunk Road five kilometres towards the Indian border from the
center of Lahore.Laid out by Shah Jahan in1642 for the pleasure of royal
household, which often stayed here for days or week at a time.
In design, it conforms to the classic Mughal
conception of the perfect garden and consist of three terraces of
straight, shaded walk sets around a perfectly symmetrical arrangement of
ponds, waterfalls, marble pavalions, all surrounded by flower beds and
fruit trees and enclosed within a wall and more than 400 fountains.
There are also huge fruit trees and little chipmunks scamper about.
The emperor's sleeping quarters are at the center of
the west wall, across from the Hall of Public Audience, which just
through the wall and out of the garden. The emperor walked through this
hall daily to show himself to the public gathered in a separate walled
WAZIR KHAN'S MOSQUE
Wazir Khan's Mosque is in the old city, 300 meters from Dehli Gate.
This unique mosque is one of the most beautiful in Pakistan. It was
built in 1634 by Hakim Ali-ud-din, popularly known as Wazir Khan, who was governer of the area during the reign of Shah
Jahan. The Mosque
is justifiably famous for the colorful fresco and tile decoration which
adorn both interior and exterior of the building.
THIRTEEN GATES OF LAHORE
The Raushnai Gate.
The Khizri Gate.
The Yakki Gate.
The Dehli Gate.
The Akbari Gate.
The Mochi Gate.
The Lahori Gate.
The Mori Gate.
The Bhatti Gate.
The Taxali Gate.
The Raushnai Gate.
The Raushnai Gate,or the
"gate of light". This is between the royal mosque and the
citadels. Being the principal entrance from the fort to the city, it was
most frequented by the Omerahs, courtiers, royal servants, and retinues;
and as the quarters about here were profusely lighted up at night, it
was called the "gate of light" , or, "gate of splendour"
Gate, so called
because it faces the direction of Kashmir.
Gate, the name is the
corruption of "Masjidi," the pertaining to a mosque. The
mosque of Mariam Makani, mother of Akber, is in its immediate vicinity.
Hence its name.
Gate. As already
noted, the river in former times flowed by the city walls, and the ferry
was near this spot. The gate was, therefore, named Khizri, after the
name of Khizr Elias, the patron saint, according to the Mahomedan
belief, of running waters and streams, and the discoverer of the water
of immortality. Ranjit Singh kept here two domesticated lions in a cage,
and the gate came to be called "Sheranwala" or the "
lions' gate". Peoole now call it by both names, the " Khizri"
and the "Sheranwalla" gateway.
On the east side are:-
The Yakki Gate.
The Yakki Gate. The original
name was "Zaki," that being the name of a martyr saint, who,
according to tradition, fell fighting against the Moghal infidels from
the north, while gallantly defending his city. His head was cut off at
the gate, but the trunk continued fighting for some time, and at last
fell in a quarter of the city close by. One tomb of this champion was
consequently built at the spot where the head had fallen, and another at
the place where the trunk lay. Both are revered by the faithful to this
The Dehli Gate.
The Dehli Gate, so called from
its opening on to the high road from Lahore to Delhi.
The Akbari Gate.
The Akbari Gate, named after
Mahomed Jala-ud-din Akbar, who rebuilt the town and citadel. Close to
this gate the Emperor also founded a market, which, after his name, is
called "Akbari Mandi".
On the south side are :-
The Mochi Gate.
The Mochi Gate. The name is the
corruption of Moti, a pearl. It was called so after the name of Moti
Ram, an officer of Akbar, who resided here at that time.
'Almi Gate, named
after Mohomed Mo'azzam Shah 'Alam Bahadur Shah (the son and successor of
Aurangzeb), a mild and munificent Emperor, who died at Lahore on the
28th February 1712.
The Lahori Gate.
The Lahori Gate, called also
the Lohari gate. The gate was named after the city of Lahore. It is said
that when Malik Ayaz rebuilt the town, in the time of Mahmud, the
quarter of the city first populated was about this gate, which, together
with the Lahori Mandi, or the Lahore market, was named after the city.
The Mori Gate.
The Mori Gate, is the smallest
of the gateway, and as its name implies, was in old times used as an
outlet for the refuse and sweepings of the city.
On the west side are:-
The Bhatti Gate.
The Bhatti Gate, named after
the Bhatis, an ancient Rajput tribe who inhabited these quarters in old
The Taxali Gate.
The Taxali Gate, so called from
the Taxal, or royal mint, having been in its neighbourhood during the
period of the Mahomedan Emperors.
MAUSOLEUM OF JAHANGIR
A Moghul site is
Shahdara, located just across the
River Ravi. There are three mausoleums, those of Jahangir, his wife Nur
Jahan and her brother Asif Khan, who was the father of Mumtaz, the lady
of the Taj Mahal at Agra. Asif Khan's tomb has retained little of the
splendour that there must have been at one time.The entrance of this superb building is through two
massive gateway of stones and masonary opposite each other to the north
and south, these lead to a square enclosure. From this enclosure is
reached another, on a larger scale, giving a full view of the garden in
front, about six hundred yard squares which is traversed by four-bricked
canals proceeding from the centre, and in which innumerable fountains
were introduced, but these are now in ruins. The corridor is adorned
with a profusion of marble ornaments arranged in a most elegant mosaic,
representing flowers and texts from the Koran. In the interior of the
mausoleum is an elevated sarcophagus of white marble, enshrining the
remains of the Emperor, the Sides of which are wrought with flowers of
mosaic in the same style of elegance as the tombs in the Taj at Agra, on
two sides are most beautifully carved the ninety-nine attributes of God.
Jahangir's Tomb is magnificent and decorated with
pietra dura. The 99 names of God are inlaid in black on the marble and
there are beautiful jalis which admit patterns of light. Jahangir's tomb
was built by his son, Shah Jahan.
Jahangir's wife Nur Jahan was a power in the court
and apparently much loved. It is said that when Jahangir was a young
man, he handed the lady two of the royal pigeons to hold. While pigeon
flying may not be a cult in many countries, it is a sport enjoyed by the
gentle folk of the subcontinent. When Jahangir returned for his birds,
one had flown.He was surprised. "But how did it fly?" he
asked. "Like this!" She laughed and let go the second bird.
They say that from then on he was enchanted. Nur Jahan's Tomb was stripped down to the bricks by
the Sikhs, but it has been restored this century. In buildings of this
sort, the grave is underneath the mausoleum, in the cellar.
The massive walls of Lahore Fort, built by Akbar in
the 1560s, tower over the old city of Lahore, and the huge rectangle
they define, 380 by 330 meters (1,250 by 1,080 feet), is filled with
buildings from a variety of periods. A complete tour of the fort takes
about two hours.
The entrance is through Alamgiri Gate, the Maktab
Khana (Clerks' House) is a small cloistered court surrounded by arcades
in which clerks sat recording the names of visitors. The inscription
outside tells that it was built by jahangir in 1618. The Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) is entered via steps
rising from the comer of the large courtyard north of the Maktab Khana.
This little gem was built by Shah Jahan 1644. The Diwan-e-Am (Hall of
Public Audience) is an open pavilion with 40 pillars built by Shah Jahan
in 1631 to shelter his subjects when they appeared before him. The marble pavilion and red
sandstone balcony at the back of the Diwan-e-Am are originals built by
Akbar. Here the emperior appeared daily before the public-who, in his
day, crowded under a canvas awning. The serpentine sandstone brackets
are typical of Akbar's commissions, with the depiction of animals
showing Hindu influence and reflecting Akbar's policy of religious
tolerance.His two-storey Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), built
in 1566, is behind the balcony and is reached by stairs on the tight. Masti (or
Masjidi) Gate is cast of the Diwan-e-Am. It
was the original main gate to the fort built by Akbar in 1566.
Jahangir's Quadrangle, north of the Diwan-e-Am, and one of the fort's
most attractive areas, was started by Akbar in 1566 and finished by
Jahangir in 1617. The buildings on the east, west and south sides of the
court reflect typical Akbari style, with richly carved red sandstone
columns and elaborate animal-shaped brackets.Behind the buildings to the
east is Akbar's Court. The Khwabgah-e-Jahangir (Jahangir's Room of Dreams)is
the main building running the length of the north side of Jahangirs
Quadrangle and is typical of Jahangir's period in its austerity.It is
now a museum, containing a huge ivory model of the Taj Mahal, some
excellent illustrated manuscripts (including the Akbar Nama, the daily chronicle of Akbar's reign),
some beautiful calligraphy, good miniature paintings and a collection of
Many colleges and schools which found Lahore's
reputation as education center of Pakistan par excellence. Most notable
are Government College- first in prestige in the country, and of which
Allama Iqbal, founding father of Pakistan's Independence, was
distinguished alumnus; the Foreman Christian College, founded in 1864
near the Shah Almi Gate, added in 1950; the Kinnaired College for Woman
and Aitchison(chiefs) College, still the most expensive educational
eastablishment in the country.
King Edward Medical College
King Edward Medical College is
the country's largest medical institution, founded in 1870. The National
College of Arts, has separate departments in
Architecture, Fine Arts & design, on the competition entry basis 450
students recieves from all over the country.
Bazaars and market places in the Lahore is of course
legendary- the Kashmiri, Suha, Chhatta, Dabbi, Anarkali of the old city,
and Liberty and Gulberg main market in modern Lahore. These markets
supply everything that could possibly or impossibly want; from cloth to
copper, brass and silver-ware; watches and bangles to carpets, chapatis and chai.All is
all varity, all abundance, and all displayed to entice.
Anarkali Bazaar is a treasure-trove, selling
virtually everything from handicraft to transistor radio, tin sauce pan
to refrigerator, a maze of lanes and alleys which stretch northwards
from the Mall at the Central Museum end. The shops are an odd mixture of
east and west. Some are organised with fronts and windows and are
recognisable shops. There may be a chemist which is also recognisable,
but interspersed with these are colourful bangle sellers and alleys of
stalls offering dupattas in all the colours of the rainbow. A man may be
embroidering a dupatta in makash, silver patterns. He will sell it to
you right away, and an absolute bargain it is, too, Anarkali is
convenient for visitors to go shopping. No one is likely to get
impossibly lost and it does contain a range of shops to supply most
requirements, and the shopkeepers are mostly patient and very kind.
Old City bazaars
The bazaars in the old city are the ones people
dreams about-tiny alleys, some of which will admit a rickshaw, a string
of donkeys or carts- and pedestrians have to leap into doorways to give
room.some alleys are only possible single file.
The Shahi Mohalla, behind the Fort is the
Tart'sQuarter and contains the places where gentlemen can see dancing
girls. In this area are some splendid embroiderers. The alleys give
access to tiny booths which have a counter and a bench for potential
customers to perch on.
Every thing exist that a middle class person want
like Spices, vegetables, books, gold and silver, brass, jewellery, junk
jewellery, antiques, carpets, kitchenware, brooms and buckets, feather
dusters, shoes, pots and pans, garlands of money (for weddings or as
presents to whores), garlands of flowers for shrines, blacksmiths and
locksmiths, carpenters and furniture vendors, tea shops, snacks and food
vendors, milk shops with huge vats of milk, South Asian fast-food, and
piled displays of those highly coloured, rather substantial sweets.
There are sellers of suitcases and bags, travel
agents. Cats and dogs dine under stallfronts under stollen discarded
offal. Kite-flying kids stand on top of the houses and every year on
kite flying day they put powdered glass on their kite strings to cut
those of their rivals. The streets below are thronging with people, many of whom are kind and friendly and enjoy
stopping to chat with a stranger from another land.
For the ladies ready made stylish suits, shops near
the Liberty Market and Fortress Stadium are the best. For handicraft,
The Mall is very popular, which sells shadow work embriodery at
reasonable prices. Ichra Bazaar has the best buys for silk, cotton and
printed all sort of cloth, and the Mozang Bazaar, sells some
particularly interesting hand-block printed cloth, tablecloth and