Lahore is the Capital city of Punjab Province of Pakistan. With the population of approximately 10 Million it is a very lively city. The main attraction of the city is its beautiful Architecture and bustling Bazaars. The tradition of buildings is centuries old in Lahore but the Moghul (1500AD to 1800AD) have contributed the most to it. The Moghul buildings are probably the most attractive. On an average one can easily spend two full days of sightseeing here. There are numerous mosques monuments bazaars, evening Musical programs and a variety Lifestyle in the city. The Lahore Museum is the largest in the country and houses articles from all over the country. The city is located just 25 KMS away from the Indian border on the grand Trunk road. This makes it a transit point before going into India from Pakistan.
There is a train from Lahore to Amrastar on Thursdays & Tuesdays , beside regular road transport. It is also well connected internationally by PIA and a few other local & Foreign carriers. There are also regular flight from all major cities of Pakistan to Lahore operated by Private airlines and PIA. Temperature is usually warm except in the months of January & February it is a bit chili.
on the east bank of the Ravi River, Lahore is very old. Legend traces
its origin to Loh, the son of Rama Chandra, the hero of the Ramayana,
but history records that it began as a dependency of the 8th century AD
Hindu ruler, Lalitiditya. In the early 11th century it came under Muslim
rule and evolved as a centre of Islamic culture and learning as well as
trade and commerce. In the 13th century it was depopulated and razed to
the ground by the Tartar-Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. Timurlane and
his Muslim Turks also arrived and destroyed the city.
Lahore was a cultural and intellectual centre during both the Mughal and British eras, and it's an atmosphere which still pervades today, but it is the diversity and contrast of the different sections of the city which make Lahore interesting. Apart from local tourists with their blaring transistors, you could almost be back in the Moghuls era.
Lahore is 213 meters above sea level and has a population of approximately 3 million. The temperature here drops down to 10C in winter, but in summer can soar to 40C or more. The best time to visit is straight after the monsoon period when the weather is cool and pleasant.
The Old City:
the Mughal days the Old City was surrounded by a 9 meter high brick wall
and had a rampart running around it with a most connected with the River
Ravi which served as a protection for the city. A circular road around
the rampart gave access to the city through thirteen gates. Some of the
imposing structures of these gates are still preserved.
In the bazaars of the Old City one still comes across tiny shops where craftsmen can be seen busy turning out master-pieces in copper, brass, silver as well as textiles in the traditional fashion.
Royal Fort Lahore:
most parts of the Royal fort were constructed around 1566 AD by the Mughal
Emperor, Akbar the Great, there is a evidence that a mud fort was in existence
here in 1021 AD as well, when mud fort and constructed most of the modern
Fort, as we see it today, on the old foundations. Constructions of the
fort dates back to the early Hindu period.
The Royal Fort is rectangular. The main gates are located alongside the centre of the western and eastern walls. Every succeeding Mughal Emperor as well as the Sikhs, and the British in their turn, added a pavilion, palace of wall to the Fort. Emperor Jehangir extended the gardens and constructed the palaces that we see today in the Jehangir's Quadrangle, while Shah Jehan added Diwan-e-Khas, Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and his own Sleeping Chambers. Aurangzeb built the impressive main gate which faces the Hazoori Bagh lying in between the Badshahi Mosque and the fort. the famous Sheesh Mahal or Place of Mirrors, is in the north-east corner of the fort. This is the most beautiful palace in the fort and is decorated with small mirrors of different colors set. The part of the wall of the elephant Steps towards the forts inner gate are scarred by bullet marks, bearing testimony to the Sikh Civil War of 1847 AD. A party of Sikhs had mounted their guns on one of the minarets of the mosque across the courtyard from where they fired on their opponents. the Sleeping Chamber of Mai Jindan houses a very interesting museum with relics from Mughal and the Sikh periods.
The Imperial or the Badshahi Mosque is across the courtyard from Alamgiri Gate of the Lahore Fort. The Mosque which is made up entirely of red sand-stone was built by Emperor Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughals, in a record time of two and-a-half years. Its construction was completed by 1674 AD. It has a beautiful gate-way which measures 21.33 meters in length and a courtyard that measures 161.5 x 160.6 meters and is said to be the largest mosque courtyard in the world for outdoor prayers. The marble domes cover seven prayer chambers. Four lofty minarets stand at the four corners of the mosque, each with an outer circumference of 20 meters, soaring up to 54 meters.
In the chambers above the Gate of the mosque, are housed relics attributed to the Holy Prophet of Islam Peace be upon him, his daughter and his son-in-law and are said to have been brought to the sub-continent by Amir Taimur. Within the Mosque almost all the colors have been used for painting the floral designs but the overall effect remains one of sobriety, piousness and simplicity.
is a new landmark in Lahore and stands in the Iqbal Park to commemorate
the date when a resolution was passed there back in 1940 demanding the
creation of separate homeland for the Muslims of this sub-continent. The
Minar is a blend of Mughal and modern architecture and has been very boldly
designed. The Minar is about 60 meters tall.
The Golden Mosque Golden Mosque is also situated in the Kashmiri Bazaar. It was built in 1753 AD by Nawab Syed Bhikari Khan, who was Deputy governor of Lahore, It is remarkably beautiful with three golden domes.
Wazir Khan's Mosque:
the old part of the town and off the Kashmiri Bazaar, reputedly the most
beautiful Mosque in the sub-continent is situated. The Mosque was built
in 1683 AD by Hakim Ilmuddin who was Minister to shah Jehan and was generally
known as Wazir Khan. It is a marvelous specimen of the work and arabesque
Three miles east of Lahore are the famous Shalimar Gardens laid out by the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan in 1642 AD. The Gardens are spread out in typical Mughal style and are surrounded by high walls with watch-towers at the four corners. Originally, the gardens were spread over seven ascending terraces, but only three remain now which cover an area of about 42 acres. The brick-work of the floors of the three terraces have been repaired according to their original designs which differ on all three terraces. There is a marble pavilion under which water flows and cascades down over a carved, marble slab creating a water-fall effect. Across the water-fall is a marble throne. At the end of the second terrace is a beautiful structure called Sawan Bhadon, a sunken tank niches on its three sides. Water cascades down from it in sheets in front of the niches, producing the sound of falling rain. In the olden times, small oil lamps were placed in the niches which reflected myriad colors, through the water. Shalimar gardens have the proud privilege of being the stage of all important state receptions. Outside its walls the annual festival of Mela Chiraghan is held every March, special lights on the first and second terraces of the Gardens have been installed and the area is illuminated half-an-hour after sun set.
Shrine of Data Sahib:
to the junction of the Lower Mall and the Circular Road is the shrine
of Data Sahib. Data Sahib was a great sufi saint whose well-known work,
"Kashf-ul-Mahjub" has been translated from the original Persian
into several European languages and is considered a classic. Attached
to the Shrine is a beautiful mosque.
Allama Iqbal's Tomb:
the Badshahi Mosque, near its steps, lies the tomb of Allama Iqbal, the
poet-philosopher of the East. the mausoleum is a mixture of Afghan and
Moorish styles of architecture and is constructed entirely of red sandstone
which was quarried and brought from Rajasthan.
Mausoleum of Emperor Jehangir:
tomb of the fourth great Mughal emperor, Jehangir, lies three miles north-west
of Lahore across the River Ravi. It has a majestic structure made of red
sand-stone and marble. the outer entrance to the tomb opens out into a
court-yard which was used as a caravan Serai during Mughal times. An entrance
to the right leads into a Mughal garden with exact geometrical pattern
balancing each side. The marble tomb is approached from four corridors
leading from the garden. Three of these corridors are closed by intricate
marble screens. The marble grave is elaborately inlaid with floral designs
and the 99 Attributes of God are inscribed on its two sides. On the top
is a verse from the Holy Qur'an. The tomb was built by Queen Noor Jehan
and the Emperor's son Shah Jehan, around 1637 AD.
Noor Jehan's Tomb:
Empress Noor Jehan, "Light of the World" was the only empress
whose name appeared on the coins of the Mughal empire. She was buried
in 1845 AD at Shahdara (Lahore) outside Jehangir's mausoleum across the
Her tomb once had a marble cenotaph which she had built herself during her life time. After the decline of Mughal rule, the tomb suffered extensive damages along with her husband's tomb at the hands of Sikh marauders when they gained power during the early part of nineteenth century. Both were stripped of most of its original beauty and splendors. All treasures and tiles, it is said were carted off to decorate the Golden Temple of Amritsar India.
Qutbuddin Aibak's Tomb:
was appointed Governor of India in 1191 AD by Muhammad Ghauri. He established
the Slave Dynasty on the death of Muhammad Ghauri in 1206 when he assumed
independence of his reign and was followed by nine other slave kings.
He was a patron of the building art and is known to have erected some
monumental stone buildings in Delhi and elsewhere. A very avid player
of polo, he died in Lahore in 1210 AD while playing the game. His tomb
can be visited in Anarkali Bazaar.
Asif Khan's Mausoleum:
the courtyard near Jehangir tomb lies buried his brother-in-law, Asif
Khan, father of Shah Jehan's beloved Queen Arjumand Bano. He lies in a
tomb today shows little of its former splendor.
the old University Hall, a Mughal style building on the Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam,
houses the Lahore Museum. the Museum contains some fine specimens of Mughal
and Sikh door-ways and wood-work and has a big collection of paintings
dating back to Indo-Pakistan, Mughal, Sikh and British times. It has also
a collection of musical instruments, ancient jewellery, textile, pottery
and armory. There are also relics from the Graeco-Pactrian times as well
as some Tibetan and Nepalese exhibits.
very large and interesting private Museum known as Faqirkhana lies inside
the Bhati Gate and is worth visiting. The museum houses a variety of old
paintings, including some by great masters, original manuscripts in different
languages and artifacts from South East Asia and the Indo-Pak sub-continent.
Fairs and Festivals:
The Festival of Lamps of Mela Chiraghan is a very important and popular event. This is celebrated every Spring on the last Friday of March outside the Shalimar Gardens. During the Festival, people from all walks of the life gather from all over the province to actively participate in the Festival.
National Horse and Cattle show:
One of the most famous annual festivals. the National Horse and Cattle Show is also held in Spring in the Fortress Stadium. During the week long activities there is a display of the finest livestock, horse and camel dances, tent pegging colorful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays and tattoo shows in the evening.
Basant - Kite-flying Festival:
the advent of Spring, skies of Lahore are resplendent with all types of
sizes of kites. The entire population participates in kite-flying matches
to herald the coming of Spring.
Anarkali bazaar is the most fascinating of the city's many bazaars. The alleys and lanes of this bazaar are full of exciting wears, especially traditional crafts like leather wear, embroidered garments glass bangles, beaten gold and silver jewellery, creations in silk. Anything that you wish for a bargain, it is named after the famous courtesan of Akbar's court called Anarkali (Pomegranate Blossom). Anarkali too has its share of historical monuments. There is the grave of Emperor Qutbuddin Aibak, who died falling off his horse playing polo. And Mahmud Ghaznavi's General Malik Ayyaz buried in the commercial area of Rang Mahal.
Excursions from Lahore:
Minar is set in peaceful environs near Lahore. It was constructed by Emperor
Jehangir as a monument to Hansraj, one of his pet antelopes. It is a popular
picnic resort with a lake and boating facilities.
Manga is a man-made forest 68 kms from Lahore. There is a lake, and a
miniature railway which winds its way through its forest. Chhanga Manga
has 12,510 acres of plantations. It is a popular picnic spot spread over
50 acres with a lake and row boats, motor boats, children's park, swimming
pool, cafeteria, canteen and rest-houses.
The Park is 28 kms from Lahore. It can be visited by road and by rail. A rail-car leaves for Jallo Railway Station every half hour. Spread over an area of 450 acres, It has expanses of lawns, a forest research centre, a children's park, zoo, a small museum and a gift shop.
check-post is about 30 kms from Lahore and is the cross-over point for
travelers into India by the land route. It is open daily to foreigners
only (except Indian and Pakistani nationals) from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.