Category Archives: Mughal


On Cavalry Road, Mughalpura

On Cavalry Road, Mughalpura

by Ahmad Rafay Alam

We all know mosques are places of worship. But occasionally stepping outside the confines of this limited relationship can be rewarding. Few see mosques as anything other than places of worship. But, as a type of structure, I wager there are more mosques in Pakistan than any other type of structure. Continue reading

The native returns

Unaffected by the prophets of doom, a Lahori decides the city is the place to be

By Raza Rumi

Twenty years ago, I left Lahore. Excited by prospects of quality higher education and the adolescent yearning for freedom, this was a moment that only with age I have understood. A flash that alters the life-path even when one is not aware of it. As I grew up and visited Lahore from a multitude of cities and continents, Lahore’s provincialism and inward-looking ethos irked me. However, the splendour of its lived history and multi-layered present fascinated me endlessly. A false sense of fatalism whispered that my exile was going to cover a life-span.

The last few years were spent abroad: so dejected I was that not living in Lahore would mean living just anywhere. When I decided this summer to return to Pakistan, I was astounded by the reactions from all and sundry. I was told that I am ‘mad’ to have chosen to return to a burning, imploding and crashing Pakistan. Such is the power of global corporate media that even the discerning and schooled Pakistanis have started to believe in the failed state mantra scripted outside Pakistan. Continue reading

Lahore Fort – the Shahi Qall’a

Shahi Qila

The Lahore Fort, locally known as Shahi Qila, is located in the northwestern corner of Lahore’s Walled City. The majestic edifice is the result of many centuries’ work. According to the Pakistani historian Wali Ullah Khan, the earliest reference to the Fort comes in the history of Lahur (Lahore) compiled by Al-Biruni, which refers to a fort constructed in the early 11th century. Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandar, author of the Khulasa-tut-Tawarikh records that Malik Ayaz, a lieutenant of Sultan Mahmud, built a masonry fort at Lahore and inhabited the city. It is generally believed that present Lahore Fort is the same fort, which was damaged by the Mongols in 1241 and again in 1398 by a detachment of Timur’s army, then rebuilt in 1421 by Sayyid, son of Khizr Khan.

The Fort was extensively refurbished, extended and upgraded during the Mughal era. This is why it is rightly attributed as one of the gems of the Mughal civilization. Emperor Jalal ud Did Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb all added to it. During the period of Sikh occupation, Ranjit Singh added several pavilions on the upper ramparts. Some modifications to the Fort were made during the British period beginning in 1846 for housing facilities for colonial functions. Those modifications have been reverted and efforts made to bring the Fort back in its pre 1846 appearance. Continue reading

Heavenly light – Badshahi Mosque

LAHORE: A view of the Badshahi Mosque from Hazoori Bagh. Around 600 people will sit for aitekaf at the mosque for abstinence and special prayers during the last 10 days of Ramazan, starting from the evening of Ramazan 20. Official sources said that around 2,500 people will sit for aitekaf at the Jamia mosque of Data Darbar. Believers seeking God’s blessings and forgiveness will confine themselves to prayers, and entirely devote their time to religion. Sehri and iftari meals will be provided free. The Auqaf Department has made special arrangements for people sitting for aitekaf in Auqaf-controlled mosques. The district government has also made special security arrangements for worshippers. app (courtesy Daily Times)

Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) – Lahore Fort

The picture shows the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) at the Shahi Qila, Lahore, Pakistan..

The Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) is located within the Shah Burj block in north-western corner of Lahore Fort. It was constructed under the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631-32. The ornate white marble pavilion is inlaid with pietra dura and complex mirror-work of the finest quality. The hall was reserved for personal use by the imperial family and close aides. It is among the 21 monuments that were built by successive Mughal emperors inside Lahore Fort, and forms the jewel in the Fort’s crown.[1] As part of the larger Lahore Fort Complex, it has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Continue reading

‘Rarra maidan’ outside Delhi Gate

by Majid Sheikh
IF you were to stand in the middle of the gateway of the mosque of Wazir Khan and draw a straight line through the Chitta Gate entrance of Chowk Wazir Khan, and if the line was carried onwards in an easterly direction, it would pass bang in the middle of the gateway of Masjid Qasaban in the middle of Yakki Gate. Does this mean that Delhi Gate came about much later and that the term ‘rarra maiden’ used for this area meant that the walls of preMughal Lahore were to the west of the mosque?

This possibility was first suggested by a distinguished Lahore researcher, Dr Abdullah Chughtai, who contended that the original route used by royalty was, coming from the east, or Amritsar, along G T Road and through Yakki Gate and straight to the fort, passing to the north of the mosque of Wazir Khan. The Katra Wazir Khan occupied the area to the north of the mosque, and an entrance to the mosque was originally from the chowk Purani Kotwali. It seems that the Delhi Gate bazaar was deliberately formed to ease the flow of traffic to allow the royal route to the north to function with ease.

For this reason the Delhi Gate bazaar is an immensely important portion of the walled city. This 200-yard long bazaar is bound by Delhi Gate to the east, ending at Chitta Gate to the west, which links it to Chowk Wazir Khan. To the north is the famous Mohallah Qasaban, the place where the first Sikh onslaught before Maharajah Ranjit Singh took place on the pretext that they wanted to cut off the noses of all the butchers of Lahore as revenge for their terrible role in slaughtering thousands of innocent Sikhs as part of the Mughal campaign against them. Continue reading

Lahore Fort’s garden a parking stand now

 Source: Our historic monuments that should have been preserved by the concerned authorities lie wasted away owing to the negligence of the Archeology Department.Lahore Fort is the first choice of visitors (including locals and foreigners) and is one of the best Mughal era construction piece. The garden in the front of the Fort, which used to double the fort’s attraction has now given way to bus stands, approved by the Archeology Department. Some of its portion remains intact, but the grandeur has withered away.The Post observed in its survey that the part of the garden used for bus stand is the dirtiest and the most muddied with garbage strewn all around and contaminated water further polluting the environ. The beggars continue to repose there while the iron fence around the part lies broken from three different places. Grass has been removed and crushed beneath the tyres of buses. Continue reading

Saving the outer wall of the Lahore Fort

Raza Rumi

Just read that a special crane was being procured to support the conservation work at the Lahore Fort. Well, I not sure if a crane would help unless there is the requisite political will and the technical capacity within the relevant government agencies. While reading the story, this little introduction to the frescos and paintings on the Lahore Fort’s wall was quite interesting – here it is – a kind of an introduction for readers who may not be too familiar with it..

“…..the pictured wall is situated in the north and northwest of the Lahore Fort and presents a series of tile montage panels which are amongst the most spectacular worldwide.It has a remarkable unity of composition along with a variety of unique designs. Its construction was started by Mughal Emperor Jahangir and completed during the tenure of Shah Jahan in 1631-32 AD.

Continue reading

Lahore’s Shalimar Gardens under attack

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: The historic Shalimar Gardens are losing height to construction work, which continued for decades, and lack of interest shown by the authorities who should be preserving the monument.

Similarly, most eastern and northern walls of the monument, with the precious artwork done by the Mughal era artists, have been lost or is on the verge of collapse, but the authorities concerned failed to restore the walls of the gardens despite having millions of rupees at their disposal, provided by Unesco and other donor agencies.

The Shalimar Gardens were built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1641 AD while the project was launched under the supervision of a noble of Shah Jahan’s court, Khalilullah Khan, and other prominent figures, like Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni. Continue reading