‘Paris of the East’, ‘Gardens of the Mughals’ or ‘The city of gardens’, call it any of these and you know you are referring to the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Lahore. It is situated on the banks of the River Ravi and Wagah, close to the Pakistan-India border.It boasts of a significant rich heritage of the Mughal empire. A native of Lahore is called a Lahori.
The city of Lahore, gets its rich heritage from the era of the Mughal rule, especially during Akbar’s time. The walled city of Lahore was barricaded during this time. The great Badshahi mosque, the Shalimar gardens, the Lahore fort and the mausoleums of Jahangir are notable monuments built during the era.
Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan is one of the most important national monuments of the country. It is a beautiful architectural tower and was built to commemorate the Lahore Resolution, to express the spirit of that movement. The base of the monument takes the shape of a five-point star and is enclosed within crescent shaped pools. It spans to sixty meters in height. It is an addition to the vast collection of significant monumental structures that were mostly built by Mughals in Lahore.
There are two distinct royal complexes that are a must visit in Lahore: TheLahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens. Both are located in the city, 7 kms apart from each other. The two monuments can be differentiated from each other as one has elaborate monumental structures and the other has an extensive water garden. Both are an outstanding example of Mughal artistic expression that was at its peak during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughal civilization, a culmination of Islamic, Persian, Hindu and Mongol sources dominated the Indian subcontinent for many centuries, strongly influencing it along the way.
Any ardent fan of cricket will definitely know about the Gaddafi stadium. It is a famous cricket ground named after former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It was designed by the architect Nayyar Ali Dada who modelled it on the Mughal School of architecture that features red hand-laid brickwork and arches. This was the first stadium in Pakistan to be equipped with modern floodlights and other modern facilities for media coverage were also available.
If you still have time on your hands, try squeezing in the HiranMinar into your itinery. The HiranMinar is a beautiful site that was constructed by Emperor Jahangir as a memorial for one of his pet deer, Mansraj. It used to be a favourite hunting spot for all Muslim rulers.
Did you know?
- According to legends, Lahore was founded by Prince Lava, the son of Lord Rama. Hence, it was known as Lavapuri in ancient times.
- The tomb of Jahangir features on the Pakistan rupees 1000 denomination bank note.