By: Halima Khan
Sights and sounds. Distinctive! Setting one piece of land apart from one another; thus the world has it all a Lahore, a London, an Amsterdam too. What all these cities share is the keen-ness to preserve culture most predictably. But then this is where this masterpiece of a city, Lahore really stands out. Here we emphasize on preserving our taste buds; the real essence of survival. Or so they are considered here. So if live to eat is your business don’t miss out on why ‘Lahore Lahore hai!’ (Lahore is Lahore.)
Gawalmandi and Anarkali, part of the older city, and the real hub of passionate eaters and other activity too of course. But since the government has renovated these places as food streets, the dhabas and restaurants our parents so fondly referred to have us hooked to the exquisite ‘desi’ cuisine too. These places have undergone major restoration work which hasn’t just made food more accessible but has made it possible to enjoy tradition at its best in the magnanimity of ‘havilis’ as well.
Data Darbar, a spiritual sanctity and a recluse for the lost souls and the restless is the highlight of the day for many for its ‘langar’; after all there is always enough food for everyone there! With ‘qawalis’ ringing out of it all the time it builds up the atmosphere for a breath-taking experience at ‘Coocoo’s Den’, located just behind Badshahi Mosque near the Darbar. The Den is a 300 year old ‘kothi’ which gives a beautiful view of the city from its sitting area, which is mostly located in the outdoors.
Another landmark which is a treat to the creative instincts is the Pak Tea House in Anarkali; it is famed as a ‘ long favored haunt of intellectuals and artists.’
Talking about doing justice to your creative instincts Lahore with its faded elegance of wide variety of Islamic and British architecture sets the stage perfectly with its contrast and surprise. Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan, with fragrance of gardens spread around and the aroma of cultural heritage echoing in the Old Walled City.
Shalimar means the purest of human pleasure; during Shah Jahan’s reign this romantic Shalimar Garden was built with its triple-terraces, marble pavilions, ornamental pools, water falls and fountains. Purity indeed!