Lahore is situated 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
center 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
center during both the Moghul 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 Moghul era.
In the Mughal days a 9-meter high brick wall surrounded
the Old City 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.
In modern days, there are a large number of industrial
factories, which are running day and night to play their vital role
in country's economy. Ittefaq foundries are one of the biggest and most
important industrial units, which has played its role commendably in
stabilizing the country's economy. Lahore is also an important center
of journalistic activities. A large number of newspapers, journals and
magazines are published here. Lahore is a great commercial and trade
center. There are a large number of commercial and trade markets dealing
in different types of trade and business. Like Karachi, Lahore is also
a cosmopolitan city where people of different nationalities can be seen.
It has combined the life style of east and west and presents a lively
mixture of old and new patterns of life.
Mosque in Lahore
|National College of Arts Art
4, The Mall, Lahore
|Shakir Ali Museum
93, Tipu Block, New Garder Town, Lahore
|Lahore Art Gallery
Lawrence Road, Lahore
|Alhamra Art Gallery
Alhamra Art Center, The Mall, Lahore
The city as we know it today reached
its peak of glory during the Moghul rule, especially in the reign
of Akbar the great, who made it his capital. His son Jehangir
was buried here and its mausoleum are the place where tourists
visit frequently. Close is the mausoleum of famous Mughal Empress
Nur Jehan, who is known for introducing the rose plant and for
initiating several cultural movements in the sub-continent.
Akbar the great held his court in Lahore for 15 years from 1584
to 1598. In addition, built the Lahore Fort as well as the city
walls, which had 12 gates? Some of these still survive. The Jehangir
and Shah Jehan, the builders of the Taj Mahal in Agra and Shalimar
gardens in Srinagar and Lahore, built palaces and tombs. The last
great Moghul emperor Aurangzeb(1638-1707) built Lahore's most
famous monument, the great Badshahi mosque. At the time of river
|Holy Places of Khalisa
Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh:
This mausoleum of the powerful ruler of the Sikh dynasty is situated
just opposite to the Lahore fort. It is made of bricks and the
archietecture is a mixture of Mughal and Hindu style with more
crookedness of Hindu style. This building was built by Kharak
Singh son of Ranjit Singh in 1848 AD The square roof has a single
fluted dome which supports a chamber which has a small pavilion
decorated with pietra dura work. In this pavilion is a marble
urn in the form of lotus containing ashes of the Maharaja. Eleven
smaller knobs holds the ashes of four queens and seven slave girls.
The interior of the chamber is elaborately decorated with fresco
paintings. This mausoleum is only opened for Sikh tourists and
Kharak Singh the successor of Ranjit Singh, died in 1840. It is
believed that his death was hastened by poison at the behest of
his son Naunihal Singh. What is incident, is that the son was
also killed the same day by the fall of an archway. Their ashes
rest side by side in the Domes of Ranjit Singh's mausoleum.
Shrine of Guru Arjan Dev:
This shrine was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the memory of
Guru Arjan Dev the fifth Sikh Guru who compiled the Adi Granth,
The principal part of Sikh scriptures. This shrine has highly
gilded dome, which attracts many. Guru Arjan Dev was put in confinement
for having collaborated with prince Khusrov, The rebellious son
Emperor Jehangir. His followers assert that it is the same spot
where Guru Arjan Dev miraculously disappeared in 1606 AD in the
waters of River Ravi.
Between the Badshahi mosque and the Lahore fort is the Hazuri
Bagh. This is the square garden originally built by Aurangzeb
as a serai or Mughal hotel. The two-storey building by the Southern
gate was a boarding house for scholars who studied in the Mosque.
The north gate of Hazuri garden is the Rosin Darwaza, The gate
of light, so called because it used to be brightly lit at night.
North of Dai Anga's tomb is the Sarvwala Maqbara, the cypress
tomb. This is decorated with cypress trees in glazed tile mosaics.
The burial chamber is at the top, about the five meters from the
ground, and can be reached only by ladder. The surrounding garden
has completely disappeared.
|Festival's of Lahore
The fair is held in January at the time when mustard is blooming
in the fields. In other words this is the spring festival. Now
a days people of Lahore enjoy it by kite flying competition and
by visiting the shrine of saint Madho Lal Hussein, where they
assemble to pay their benediction.
Mela Charaghan or lamp festival is held annually in the last week
of March near Shalamar Gardens. At dusk lamps are lighted outside
the gardens while the inner side is lighted with electric Lamps.
Peoples in gay dresses and the playing fountains in the evening
make the atmosphere very picturesque. On the day of festival the
Shalamar garden is opened till late in the evening.
National Horse and Cattle Show:
The show has been described as an eloquent expression of Pakistan's
heritage and an authentic account of its agricultural and industrial
achievement's. It is held in Lahore Fortress stadium at the end
of February or at First week of March.
The fortress stadium, the venue of the show is thronged by active
participants, foreign visitors and peoples who watch the festival
with great enthusiasm, verve and aplomb.
A large number of them are interested in watching and appreciating
the best breeds of livestock. Many derive pleasure by watching
other activities such as display parade of animals, dances by
horses and camels, polo matches, tent pegging, dog shows and their
races, vaudeville acts of stuntmen, mass display of military band,
rhythmically physical exercise by the children. Tastefully decorated
industrial floats and torch light tattoo shows.
Additional attractions include a subtle interplay of lights to
weave enticing patterns at night and breath taking acts by foreign
The show began as a modest exhibition organized by the army to
project the cattle wealth of the country in the early fifties.
Today it is an international event to which come dignitaries from
abroad and visitors and foreign tourists.
The organizing committee comprises representatives of a number
of agencies including army, rangers, LMC schools, the police,
industrialists and the art councils.
Anarkali is the most fascinating of the city's many bazaars. The
alleys and lanes of this bazaar are full of exciting wares, especially
traditional crafts like leatherwear, embroided garments, glass
bangles, beaten gold and silver jewelry, creation in silk- anything
that you wish to bargain.
It is named after the Akbar's Courtesan called Anarkali, who,
according to legend was put to death by Emperor Akbar for having
a love affair with prince Salim, later known as Jehangir.
Old brass and copper are another good buy from the shops around
the Charing Cross. Some good buys can be found in the brass bazaar
in the old city but it is difficult to find and is usually unpolished
or still coated in tin. Brass is poisonous and cannot be used
for food until tinned.
Other Famous Bazaars:
- Sarafa Bazaar.
- Copper and Brass Bazaar.
- Kashmiri Bazaar.
- Liberty Market.
- Main Market Gulberg.
- Shah Alam Market.
- Sooha Bazaar.
- Urdu Bazaar.
Located in the heart of the town
and set in modern style. The Lahore zoo founded in 1872 is one
of the oldest zoo in sub continent. The material used in some
of the construction even bears the marks of 1853. The Lahore zoo
attracts a large crowd throughout the year.
Driving along the Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, just ahead of the charring
cross and opposite to the WAPDA House is the main gate of the
Close to the main gate are the four murals, each of the elephant,
a giraffe, a great Panda and an Urial which are set very artistically
in the background of waterfall. The driveway is lined with desert
concrete, which has also been used in the construction of the
In 1982 the Punjab wild life department took over the management
and since than remarkable changes have been taken place. The Zoo
can clearly be divided into old building and new building. Besides
the two aviaries of peafowl house and a round aviary housing songbirds.
The lion house is the probably the oldest structure retained in
the zoo. The Lion house is the most attractive building of olden
type comprising seven dens at the back. At the front are two very
nice grottos, to which the animals in dens are removed in succession
Peafowl house is the probably the oldest enclosure in the zoo.
From the main central portion, four arms just out. Roosts have
also been provided. Inside the housing the roof is set in old
barracks styled, reddish tiles, the house has recently been renovated.
The elephant house is modeled on the pattern of elephant house
at London zoo. There are four internal dens and three external
enclosures, to accommodate elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses.
The public is separated from the animals by ditches.
The monkey house is an attractive section comprising two blocks
of three and four cages respectively. The cages are high and narrow
and contain some ingenious climbing aids which monkeys use and
enjoy. The interior of the monkey house has recently been improved.
Glazed tiles have been plastered on the walls to ease the cleanliness
of the walls.
The Leopard house is the conventional design, as seen in many
zoo's. There are two small interior cages with exterior runs for
small cats. One of which houses the rare caracal cat.
The pheasantry is an originally designed attractive enclosure
with four row cages for the birds. There are special varieties
of peafowl's and pheasants in this section. A pheasantry for small
birds is also present which houses birds like cockatoos budgerigars
and other parrots.
Zoo possesses some of the oldest trees in Lahore, which may be
about 400 years of age. Large numbers of interesting trees shrubs
and other plants are recently planted. Large lush green grounds
are used by visitors for picnic and rest. The children parks have
been provided the facility of slides swings and jumping devices.
||Opposite side of
Punjab University (Old Campus), Lahore
On the far side of Zamzma is the
Lahore Central Museum built in Mughal Gothic style and opened
in 1894 is the best museum in Pakistan with superb collection
of relics of rich cultural heritage of Lahore. The rare collection
of Mughal paintings, statues of Buddha in various attitudes
| including the priceless 'Fasting Buddha',
also other examples of Gandhara sculpture and evidence reflecting
the successive stages of the oriental civilization, miniature paintings,
manuscripts are on display.
There are fine specimens of Mughal and Sikh doorways and woodwork
and has a big collection of musical instruments, ancient jewelry,
pottery, textiles and armory. There are also relics from the Graeco-
Pactrian times as well as some Tibetan and Nepalese.A visit to the
Lahore museum will prove to be a rewarding experience.
|Faqir Khana Museum
||Inside the Bhati Gate in city Lahore.
This museum is inside the private home, This Toshakhana
is the private museum of the Faqir's family, it is also a microcosm
of Lahore history of which the Faqirs themselves are very much
part. The 6th generation of Faqirs today traces their family background
to an 18th century ancestor, who came from Bukhara to the holy
city of Uch Sharif. The first founder of the family was a Faqir
or religious ascetic who had three sons, all devout Muslims in
a Sikh court, who contrived to win Ranjit Singh's favor. One version
is that one of the brothers cured a persistent infection in Ramjet's
good eye. Since Ranjit was an illiterate, he heavily relied on
the brothers specially Faqir-Aziz-ud-Din who acted as combined
Prime Minister, interpreter and travel agent. Faqir Nuruddin was
the Royal Physician and founded a hospital for poor Muslims in
Lahore, today known as the Mayo Hospital.
All official visitors to Ranjit brought ceremonial gifts to Ramjet's
court. Lord Auckland, The British governor gave Ranjit a picture
of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes framed in gold, set
with turquoises and rimmed with the orders of the garter and the
bath plus a magnificent aigrette. These gifts were in turn bestowed
upon the favorites by Ranjit Singh including the Fairs brothers,
which included a miniature brass cannon which ingeniously fired
at noon each day. Pieces of English cut glass and china lamps,
clocks and watches. Some of these are in the Lahore museum as
part of the faqirs family bequest.
Ranjit Singh also appropriated many treasures from his Moghal
predecessors like calligraphic manuscripts, including Quran's
and several hundred exquisite 17th and 18th century paints, which
are made in a process now, lost, by grinding precious stones such
as emeralds and amethysts to a powder. Many of these miniatures
found their way to the Faqir Khana.
Other collections include clothes worn by the 18th century Moghul
emperors, carpet from their courts, a collection of Sikh weapons,
vital accessory in any imperial oriental court, a stone poison
filter recently tested by a drug company, guaranteed to work.
Later generations traveled the world and assembled Chinese and
Japanese paintings cracked imari bowls, song celadons, damaged
Indian bronzes, Persian coins, Budhist stone carvings, ring made
from freak stone formations, brass knick knacks, old hand blown
green glass bottles, tea kettles and teapots. a quantity of tarnished
silver plates , a print of Mona Lisa and selection of walking
The collection was first displayed in 1909, inaugurated by British
dignitaries Sir Edward and Lady Maclagan.
||Industrial and Commercial Museum
Situated at Poonch house, Multan
Road, Lahore. It was established in 1950. Industrial and commercial
Museum is meant to depict country's economic resources both in
the form of raw products and worked objects. Its collection is
arranged in one gallery and one large hall of the building. The
main hall displays a long range of variety of material such as
well plated musical instruments, table lamps of camel skin from
Multan and Bhawalpur, Cotton, Silken-woolen and embroided textiles
from all important cites of Pakistan. Copper and brass wares from
Peshawar and Lahore, dolls from Lahore and Karachi, decorative
and functional ceramics from Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Lahore.
Beside that, there are some agricultural, chemical pharmaceutical
and forest products of Pakistan, sports and plastic goods, metallic
as well as plaster of Paris and clay toys, national models, and
stuffed birds e.t.c. There are good specimens of glassware, silver
jewelry, ivory artifacts, alabaster objects, oil and wash color
paintings etc. in the gallery there are few handicrafts, medical
instruments and plywood goods from Sialkot are displayed.