Tag Archives: model town

Eid Mubarak Lahore!

To all the readers and friends of Lahore Nama, Eid Mubarak.
May this Eid bring peace, prosperity and happiness to all of you and above all Pakistan.
Here is some photos of Rainy Eid in Lahore from Social Media.

Lahore Eid

Rainy day Lahore #Badshahimosque Photo by Jahangeer Arain #Instagram

Lahore Eid2

Eid prayer in rain at Badshahi Mosque Lahore, Pakistan Photo by Inzamam #Instagram

Lahore Eid3

Maria Memon says “Spotted in Model Town Lahore : Spare a thought for all these wardens/ police jawans who didn’t get a day off on Eid. “

On shaky grounds

By Haroon Khalid

Next to the planetarium, close to the old Anar Kali, a tall, cone-shaped Jain Temple greeted the visitor once. This was situated in the centre of the road, with two roads passing around it. Next to it are wooden balconies, with intricate designs on them; part of the original complex. This was one of the three Jain temples in Lahore, according to Jainworld.com. The other ones were inside the Bhatti gate and on Ferozepur road, near Model Town. The temple stood in the middle of this bifurcation of roads, which earned this junction the name of Jain Mandar Chowk. Years of religious disuse had resulted in severe depredation of the structure. It various compartments, originally used by visiting pilgrims, students and priests, are now taken up by refugees of the partition of 1947. Their interconnected rooms have been permanently closed by mortar and bricks, as the demand of privacy increased among the new occupants. Larger rooms were divided into two, or sometimes even more, and the surplus ones rented out. All of these small rooms entertain much more people, then meant to. A cycle tire repairperson had made a makeshift shop on the pavement, next to the temple, many years ago, and still sits here.

Then came the dreadful morning of 6th December 1992, and thousands of people converged towards the historical Babri Mosque, at Ayodhya, India. Within hours the Hindu fanatics, who wanted to correct the historical wrong that the first Mughal Emperor Babar committed, razed the structure. Their argument; Babar had destroyed a Hindu temple, meant to commemorate the spot, where the mythical Hindu King Ram was born, to build this mosque.

This unleashed a chain of events that had repercussions thousands of kilometers away in Pakistan. In the following days, rightist leaders in Pakistan aroused the sentiments of the people and they, in thousands, attacked various Hindu temples in the city, and all over the country. They attacked with axes, hammers, rods, guns, and even bare-hands. One of the mobs also attacked this landmark temple, and brought it to ground. Little that they knew, this was a Jain temple and not a Hindu one; a different religion altogether. The Jains are a pacifist religious group, who believe to the extent that the life of an insect or an ant is also worth preserving; but then what is the rationale behind a charged mob’s thinking. The cone-shaped structure that once served as the link between a non-Pakistani past now lies desecrated, inside a walled enclosure that was built around it. The tire repairperson still sits outside. The bifurcation was rechristened Babri chowk, in the honor of Babri mosque. However, no wagon, bus or rickshaw driver would know where the Babri chowk is; the bifurcation is still known as the Jain Mandar chowk, even without the Jain Mandar, a tribute to the desecrated temple, by the people of Lahore.

While there was a mob busy bringing down this structure, there was another charged one that took the direction of the Sitla Mandir, which was in between the Shah Alami and Lohari Gates. This was believed to be ancient temple, attended by Hindus and non-Hindus alike before the partition of British India. It was believed that a dip at the pool, which was next to the temple, could cure all skin diseases. Tara Chand, a 78 years old Hindu, living in Lahore tells me that for Diwali, a large number of people used to come to the temple, including Muslim women with their children.

The cone shaped structure is still standing and is visible from afar. It is a triple storey building, with each floor now carved up, ingeniously, to cater to the increasing population demand. One the first floor, there is a Madrassa Noor-ul-Quran. Original black and white tiles of the pre-partition times are still present. However the floor is uneven, because of severe damage wrought to it during the attack. Regardless of the predicament, the madrassa still functions, and people continue to live. There is a Mewati family living on the top floor of the temple. An old woman from the family told me that she bought that particular area for Rs. 60,000 from the head Qari at the temple. She was living here when the temple was attacked. Ironically, she told us, it was the same Qari, who ran the madrassa at that time, who lead the attack.

There were 2 other temples here too, all of which were attacked. This temple was lucky in particular as it survived the attack. There is a mosque next to this temple, which was built after the destruction of a temple here. “The mob had brought a crane with them, which they used to bring down the structure,” said the woman. She tells us about a passionate devotee who had climbed to the top of the structure damaging the temple with his axe, when the entire structure fell. “He became an instant Shaheed,” she added. The Qari continued teaching at the madrassa inside the Sitla temple, but quit a few years ago. A small plate which reads “Ya Allah” decorates the niche at the top of the structure. Its historical pool has been filled and a Jinnah park for the community has been made.

About 10 kilometers from here, inside the famous Thokar Niaz Baig, there is an ancient Hindu temple. This was the Bhadrakali Mandar, dedicated to an incarnation of the Hindu deity, Durga Mata. This was a huge complex, with various smadhs (stupas), a baoli (a huge well, with stairs that led to the base), an ancient Banyan tree, a pool and two temples. According to Tahrikh-e-Lahore, written by Kanhiya Lal, this temple used to host the largest Hindu festival in and around the city of Lahore. There is no historical account of one of the temple buildings, which served as the main one, but another huge structure with a dome was summoned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when he became the King of Punjab, according to Lal. This structure was never used as a temple. Now a government primary school functions in it. The smadhs have been filled, the pool covered, the Baoli lost, and the Banyan tree cut. The original temple, now houses several Mewati families that migrated to Pakistan in 1947. They have wrought various changes to the structure to cater to their demand.

A couple of years ago, when I visited the temple for my thesis the people living inside the temple were destroying the structure. When I asked them, their reason was that the structure had become weak and was a threat to the people living inside it.

An old man, who requested to stay anonymous, from Niaz Baig, told me that following 1992 a mob attacked the temple, led by a proscribed organization, based here. However, before much damage could be wrought, the elderly of the locality dissuaded them. They argued that this is no longer a temple, but serves a primary school. The school children would be the only one affected by this action. This way the temple was saved, however, severe damage was wrought to the other building, which is now it is being razed to make way for a securer structure.

Living Lohawarana

by Raza Rumi

Also published in Himal Magazine’s October issue

There was a Lahore that I grew up in, and then there is the Lahore that I live in now. Recovering from an exile status for two decades, I find myself today turning into something of a clichéd grump, hanging desperately on to the past. Yet I resist that. Writing about Lahore is a sensation that lies beyond the folklore – Jine Lahore nai wakhaya o janmia nai (The one who has not seen Lahore has never lived). It has to do with an inexplicable bonding and oneness with the past, and yet a contradictory and not-so-glorious interface with the present.

Lahore is now the second largest city in Pakistan, with a population that has crossed the 10 million mark. It is turning into a monstropolis. Had it not been for Lahore’s intimacy with Pakistan’s power base – the Punjab-dominated national establishment – this would be just another massive, unmanageable city, regurgitating all the urban clichés of the Global South. But Lahore retains a definite soul; it is comfortable with modernity and globalisation, and continues to provide inspiration for visitors and residents alike.

Over the last millennium, Lahore has been the traditional capital of Punjab in its various permutations. A cultural centre of North India extending from Peshawar to New Delhi, it has historically been open to visitors, invaders and Sufi saints alike. Several accounts tell how Lahore emerged as a town between the 6th and 16th centuries BC. According to commonly accepted myth, Lahore’s ancient provenance, Lohawarana, was founded by the two sons of Lord Ram some 4000 years ago. One of these sons, Loh (or Luv), gave his name to this timeless city. A deserted temple in Lahore Fort is ostensibly a tribute to Loh, located near the Alamgiri gate, next to the fort’s old jails. Under the regime of Zia ul-Haq, Loh’s divine space was closed and used as a dungeon in which to punish political activists. Continue reading

More on the history of Model Town Lahore

On the history of Model Town in Lahore:

In 1927 Col Jamaluddin had been posted as Civil Surgeon in Lahore. Mr Kirpalani was the Deputy Commissioner and Sardar Teja Singh was the Sessions Judge. All three Indians were posted together for the first time. With the help of a French architect who was their mutual friend, they planned the community of Model Town, as a retirement abode. Innitially, ModelTown was divided into three parts with a Mosque, a Temple and a Gurduwara as a center point to worship, surrounded by three blocks of housing each. Land at the center of the development was left vacant for recreation and community service centers.

Model Town Lahore:The Best Planned Localities of Pakistan

Posted by Raza Rumi

Owais Mughal writes about Lahore’s delightful Model Town. Incidentally, I grew up in Model Town and still remember the old house surrounded by shady trees and the noisy birds.. Am cross-posting the excellent post below:

Model Town is designed in the shape of a square with major roads dividing it into blocks vertically, horizontally and diagonally. The area of Model Town is 5.9 square kilometers (or 1463 acres). The center of the square shape is a circular park. I don’t know the exact dimension but somewhere I’ve read the circumference of this circular park is more than 2km. Besides the obvious symmetry of design, what else has always attracted me to Model Town’s planning is its generous allotment for green areas and parks. Almost 19% of model town’s area is alloted to parks. Another 4% area is alloted to plant nurseries and playgrounds. This ratio of open area (23%) to residential area (56%) is hard to match in most of the well-planned localities of Pakistan.

More here

Illegal commercialisation of Model Town

: Residents waiting for action against by-law violators

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: Residents of Model Town Society (MTS) still await action against people using residential plots for commercial activity.

Offices, private schools and even the office of the Special Investigation Unit, a wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), are still operational in the MTS.

Recently, the MTS administration handed over a list of more than 150 residential sites to the quarters concerned. The residents said they were living under constant threat after suicide bombers attacked the FIA office in the area on March 11. Continue reading

Lahore’s culinary feast: Phajjay ke Paye

Fazal e Haq – aka Phajjay ke Paye by Aqeel Ahmed

Here is a review of Fazl e Haq (nicked as Phajja) chain of restaurants. Now this is truly authentic Lahori taste we are talking about. Not even the neighbouring cities of Lahore have been found to be that keen about Paye (feet) or Siri (heads) of goats. It sounds gross, doesn’t it? But then again, this is us .. Lahories .. and you have already read about us eating goat testicles.

Fazl e Haq or Mr. Phajja was perhaps the first person who commercialized the idea by coming up with a Paye specialty restaurant in Hira Mandi, the Red light district (Taxali gate) named as Phajjay ke Paye. People would (and still) flock to this place every morning and wait in queues to have a breakfast of sticky and rubbery meat of goat feet. The Siri on the other hand is not a breakfast item. A typical Siri meal is accompanied by assortments like Maghaz (brain), Zuban (tongue) and Khad (Jawbone) – everything cooked of course. You eat it with Roti or Kulcha. Another reason for having started his venture in the red light district of Lahore was perhaps the purportedly aphrodisiac nature of these meals. Aphrodisiac or not, they are rich in cholesterol for sure. Continue reading

At least 20 killed in two blasts in Lahore

LAHORE, Pakistan, March 11 (Agencies) – Two bombs exploded in the city of Lahore, capital of Punjab province, Tuesday morning, killing at least 20 people and injuring up to 100 others, police and officials said. One of the bombs went off at about 9.25 a.m. outside the city-centre Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), badly damaging the four-storey building and nearby buildings on the busy Mall Road. Reports said 16 persons were killed. “We’re trying to evacuate the wounded trapped under the debris,” FIA chief Tariq Pervez told Reuters from Islamabad. Chaudhry Manzoor, the director of the agency, which focuses on illegal immigration, said 14 employees had been killed. A second bomb went off in the mainly residential neighbourhood of Model Town, about 10 km from the site of the first blast, killing two children, besides the two suicide bombers, said a city administrator, Mian Ejaz. Police said the second attack was caused by a suicide car bomb. The car had two people inside and blew up after it was stopped at the gate of an advertising agency office. Last week a twin-suicide bombing killed five people in an attack on a navy college in the city. According to private TV channels the blast at the FIA building took place in the parking lot and caused extensive damage to parked vehicles besides the adjoining buildings. On the other hand, the Model Town blast was caused when the explosive laden vehicle was dashed against the boundary wall of the bungalow housing the advertising agency. The two children killed were brothers. Emergency has been declared in Lahore hospitals which have so far received up to 100 injured, the TV channels reported. (First Posted @ 09:50 PST, Updated @ 11:55 PST) DAWN