By: Halima Khan
World’s largest existing historical mosque is also hosted by this city of old tales. Blend of white marble and red stone and beautifully engraved Quranic verses Badshahi Mosque stands tall as a symbol of Mughal religious zeal. The neighboring Lahore Fort was founded way back in the B.C era. However it got its present face by the infamous architects aka Mughals. The Sheesh Mahal (The Palace of Mirrors), Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), Diwan-e-Aam (Court for the Commons), Hathi Per (Elephant Steps are masterpieces in themselves and best preserved too. The Fort also has a museum covering the Mughal and Sikh periods.
The Lahore Museum established during British Raj displays the evolution of culture in this region with rare and best collection of the Buddhist art from the Gandhara Period, Islamic artifacts, Calligraphy, Old Manuscripts, Arms, Costumes and Jewelry.
Lahore seems to have always favored tales of lost love and has preserved legends in its bazaars and ‘galis’ and gardens and tombs too. ‘Jahangir ka maqbara’, where lies the most romantic soul of the Mughal era, and ironically his final resting place is still an alcove for the romantic souls of today. Like Jehangir there is a beautifully constructed tomb of his beautiful and much doted wife Noor-Jehan.
The history of the Old City of Lahore is a thriving one, accessible by 12 gates it’s a multiple bazaar and the hub of oriental culture with its distinctive flair and aroma.
This city of extreme weather conditions shows great traces of westernization now, to cater to the more modern needs of the young generation. MM Alam Road is the result of the great demand of restaurants and cafes. From KFC to Pizza Hut and Subway almost all international food chains have their outlets in Lahore. Another upcoming trend that has hit this city is the ‘sheesha’; Iranian face of our local huqa. It is all the rage amidst teenagers! While there are no bars as such, smoky cafes and hangouts don’t make their absence felt.