If one is visiting Pakistan, it is must to visit Lahore it’s a city in the province of Punjab known for its rich heritage and some spectacular gems from the Mughal era and most importantly delicious food. Lahore is also known as the city of gardens the reason for that is Lahore has a huge variety of beautiful gardens, this includes modern and some from the Mughal era. You can never get enough of Lahore there is a saying which goes as “One is not born until they have seen Lahore “. Lahore is a Metropolitan city and also the 2nd most populated city in Pakistan after Karachi being the first one. Its like a melting pot of cultures people from different parts of the country live there. As Lahore is situated in the province of Punjab mostly people living in Lahore are called ‘Punjabi’s’.
Let’s Explore Lahore
Lahore is a combination of old school and the modern world a perfect blend of both. The most important places to visit in Lahore although there is a lot to explore but some sites are not to be missed. Let’s start with the historical sites and the old school charm the first location is:
The Badshahi Mosque
can easily be called the crown jewel of Lahore it is located in the walled city which is about 40 minutes’ drive from central Lahore beware while visiting the traffic situations can be pretty bad sometimes. The Badshahi mosque was built in the 1671 by the Mughal empire, The mosque is designed keeping in mind the Mughal architecture style using red stone. This Mosque can easily be categorised as the second largest mosque in Pakistan as the courtyard can host up to 100,000 worshippers at one time. At least 2 hours should be spent to completely visit the mosque and admire the beauty of its architecture.
Shahi Qilla (Lahore Fort)
The second destination to visit is the Shahi Qilla (Lahore Fort) it is located near the Badshahi mosque the fort was rebuilt in the 17th century by the Mughal Empire the fort has been destroyed several times but now it is in its restored version. The Fort is huge so be ready to walk a lot the highlight is the ‘sheesh mehal’ The palace of mirrors this is indeed the most beautiful part of the fort the walls are adorned with intricate mirror work this was made by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. A beautiful view of the Badshahi mosque is also available from the sheesh mehal.
As Lahore is famous for its food the fort road food street is a must visit this street is full of yummy treats that will take your tastebuds on a rollercoaster ride. Some of the restaurants located their have historical value and the views from the roof top are just spectacular the best restaurants are Cuckoos den and Andaaz. This area is also known as the red-light area once it was popular for prostitution all these houses once belonged to the prostitutes also known as the diamond market now few of them have been transformed into restaurants but the true essence still remains within the ambience with the art work and the musical instruments. Traditional Pakistani food is served they’re with live music being sung in the background must visit place.
When visiting the walled city don’t forget the tanga ride (horse carriage) once being a very common mode of transportation now over taken by cars and bikes its a whole experience within itself.
Minar e pakistan
Minar e Pakistan is the largest tower in Pakistan and holds historical significance this tower is located in Iqbal Park the resolution for the separate homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent was passed here on 23rd march 1940 the architecture of this tower is a combination of Mughal and modern style. Daily thousands of people visit this landmark.
Built by Emperor Shahjahan in 1642 the Shalimar gardens are breath takingly beautiful made using the intricate Mughal architecture the gardens are also amongst the UNESCO world heritage sites. The garden comprises of 3 terraces all these terraces are constructed keeping the natural terrain in mind the distance is approximately 13 – 15 feet between all three. The top and bottom terrace is square shaped whereas the middle terrace is a rectangle. The Shalimar Garden is full of lush green grass beautiful flowers and fountains. The garden is spread on an area of 16 hectares these gardens are the most beautiful display of water work in the subcontinent. The total number of fountains in the gardens are 410 which are distributed amongst the three terraces. Once visiting the gardens, one is teleported in 16 century all the old-world glamour and charm can be experienced a huge number of foreign and domestic people visit the garden every day.
Anarkali Bazar (Market)
This market is situated in the old part of Lahore city to explore this market fully be ready to spend one whole day here. This market has a variety of shops that include shops with traditional clothes jewellery and shoes. Souvenirs can be found here the products are reasonably priced this market is one of Lahore’s largest and most famous. The narrow streets are full with treasures this market is surely a shopaholics dream come true.
When visiting Lahore attending the parade at wagah border is surely a must the traditional flag hoisting and lowering ceremony takes place twice a day at sunrise and before sunset. This ceremony is held on the border between India and Pakistan. The ceremony is carried out by the officers of the Pakistan Rangers they march Infront of the audience with patriotic songs playing in the background. This ceremony is attended by a huge number of people every day both on the Indian and the Pakistani side of the border.
13 Gates of Lahore
Delhi Gate, Roshnai gate, Akbari gate, Yakki gate, Bhatti gate, Sheranwala gate, Lohari gate, Kashmiri gate, Mori gate. Masti gate, Shah Alam gate, Taxali gate and Mochi gate. These gates served as different entrances to the city in the past and at the night time all these gates used to get locked. As for now not all of these gates remain but the ones that are still there have historical significance. The Delhi gate used to connect Lahore and Delhi, Lohari gate is one of the oldest amongst all these.
Shahi Hamam (bath house)
Also known as Hammam Wazir Khan the Shahi hamam’s are the only one remaining in Lahore. In the mughal times were introduced based on persian models they were not used for a long time because using public bathhouse was not very common in Punjab. The hamams are not used anymore but they have become a tourist information center. Visiting these hamams is also a unique experience the interior is mostly preserved to its original but the actual baths do not remain as they have been rebuilt in the 1990’s.
Is one of the oldest cultural institutions to exist the museum exists to educate visitors about the history of Pakistan dating from pre historic times till date. The museum has a red brick building it is situated on the famous Mall road. The museum opened its doors to public in 1894 the architecture is a blend of mughal and brtish colonial style. The museum has almost 60,000 artefacts that have historical and cultural significance the objects depict Islamic, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and Jain histories. Those who are interested in exploring history this is a must visit for them.
Samadi of Ranjit Singh (Tomb)
Built in the 19th century it is situated near the Lahore fort and Badshahi Mosque it was constructed by his son after his death in 1839 hazuri bagh can be seen from here which was built by Ranjit Singh. This Samadi is a beautiful mixture of Hindu Sikh and Muslim architecture the dome shines bright throughout the day. Maharaja Ranjit Sing’s ashes are present there in a lotus shaped marble urn which is placed in the centre of the tomb. Many sikh’s come here to pray many pilgrims travel from all around the world to pay their respect. Free food is distributed also known as (Langar) sikhs can be seen reciting Granth (Holy Book) there at all times. The monument was originally built on 8 pillars built but due to wear and tear additional 8 pillars were added.
Words can fall short but the beauty of city is difficult to describe in words the whole feeling and the warmth of the people living their can only be experienced while being there physically present.