Lahore is one of the most famous cities in the world. The tourists state that it is not a city, it is a habit or addiction. It must have been heard that he who has not seen Lahore has not been born yet. Lahore is the capital of the Punjab province of Pakistan, the 2nd biggest city in the country behind Karachi, and the 26th biggest in the world. It is one of the richest cities in Pakistan with an estimated GDP of $84 billion in 2019. This city is one of Pakistan’s most socially liberal, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities and the major metropolis and historic cultural hub in the greater Punjab province.
The origins of Lahore go back to ancient times. Throughout all its history, the city has been governed by several empires, like the Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, and the medieval Sultanate. Between the late XVIth and the early XVIIIth centuries, Lahore attained a height of magnificence during the Mughal Empire. In 1739, the city was taken by the armies of Afshari monarch Nader Shah and, while being disputed between the Afghan and the Sikhs, it went into a period of decline. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lahore finally became the capital of the Sikh Empire and recovered its lost splendor.
Then Lahore was annexed to the English Empire and named British Punjab the capital. Lahore has been key to India and Pakistan’s independence efforts, with the city serving as a venue for the Indian Independence Declaration and as a result of a resolution asking for Pakistan to be established. In the decades preceding Pakistan’s independence, Lahore had some of the deadliest riots. Lahore was proclaimed the capital of the Pakistani Punjab province following the triumph of the Pakistan Movement and its eventual Independence in 1947.
Throughout Pakistan, Lahore has an important cultural impact. Lahore is a significant publishing hub of Pakistan and the principal focus of the literary scene in Pakistan. The town, having several of Pakistan’s prominent institutions in the city, is also a significant education hub in Pakistan. Pakistan’s cinema, Lollywood, is situated in Lahore, and a key hub for Qawwali music. The city contains several tourist sites, like the Walled City, the city’s famed Badshahi and Wazir Khan Mosques, and various Sikh and Sufi Shrines. The tourism business also includes Pakistan. The Lahore Fort and Shalimar gardens, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are also located in Lahore.
History of Lahore
The history of the village before the Muslim period is less known. In the Hindu tradition, Lava or Loh, son of Rama, for whom he is believed to be called Lohawar, was the foundation of Lahore. Lahore may have been the city of “Labokla”, which was referenced in Ptolemy’s Geography Guide for the 2nd century.
The city’s history has been chaotic. From 1163 until 1186, it was the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty. Lahore was sacked in 1241 by the Mongol army. The city was again invaded by the Mongols during the 14th century, until 1398, when it was controlled by the Turkic conquistador Timur. The Mughal Babur’s forces seized him in 1524. This marked the beginning of the Mughal golden period when the city was often the royal home. During the time of Shah Jahan, it was substantially extended (1628–58), but during the period of Aurangzeb, his successor.
Lahore has been exposed to a power fight between Mughal leaders and Sikh insurgents since his death in Aurangzeb (1707). Lahore became the outpost of the Iranian empire with the invasion of Nadir Shah in the mid-18th century. It quickly became the headquarters of a powerful regime under the reign of Ranjit Singh (1799–1839) and was connected with the Sikhs’ growth. The city fell fast after Singh’s death and in 1849 it came under the control of Britain. Lahore became the capital of Western Punjab in 1947 when the Indian subcontinent gained independence; it was established in 1955 as the head of the newly established West Pakistan Province, rebuilt as Punjab.
Lahore comprises a historical town area surrounded by a suburban suburb to the south-east by modern commercial, industrial and residential sectors. Although a wall and a moat encircled the historic city, these buildings were substituted by parks in the north. Thirteen gates allow entrance to the ancient town by a circular path around the wall. The mosque of Wazir Khan (1634) and the fort of Lahore are remarkable monuments in the old city. The fort is a remarkable example of Mughal construction, a complex covering around 36 acres (14.5 hectares) which was partly erected by Akbar (ruled 1556–1605), and expanded by three Emperors.
In marble and cash or encaustic tile work, the mosque and the fort are ornamented. The Badshah Mosque, made by Aurangzeb and still one of the biggest mosques worldwide, has a length of 14 feet; the Ranjit Singh buildings and mausoleums; and the Shahdara Gardens containing the tomb of the Mughal emperor (1901); and the Mosque of Zamzama, which is immortalized in the novel of Rudyard Kipling, which is still in the city. Jahan’s retreat comprises about 450 fountains of roughly 80 acres of terraced and walled gardens. In 1981, the fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site by Shalimar Garden and by a group.
Cityscape of Lahore
The contemporary cityscape of Lahore comprises the medieval walled town of Lahore in the northern section of the town, which encompasses several sites of the global and national patrimony. Lahore’s urban planning was founded not just on geometrical design, but on a fragmentary structure, created in the context of nearby structures, with little cul-de-sacs, katrahs, and streets. Although certain districts have been named after certain religious or ethnic groupings, the districts themselves were often varied and the collection of names was not dominated by them.
The old walled city had formerly been encompassed by thirteen gates. The Raushnai, Masti, Yakki, Kashmiri and Khizre, Shah-Burj, Akbari, and Lahori Gateways are among the surviving gates. The large British-era Lahore Cantonment lies southeast of the walled town.
The Walled City
The town of Walled Lahore is one of the oldest towns in the world and has the following sites.
The Lahore Fort is a massive mass of a building that the Mughals constructed, followed by the Sikhs, their imperial quarters. It is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Sikh era of the 18th century is devoted to a small museum. You might be taken to the summer chambers beneath by a nice museum custodian. In Lahore, there is also the mausoleum of the Sikh monarch, Ranjit Singh. Non-Pakistanis have a Rs 200 entrance charge.
The Badshahi Mosque, which was long the biggest mosque on the planet, was erected by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Entry is free, however, on leaving the shopkeeper you are required to pay around Rs. 10 (Nov. 2006). Try to go late in the evening when there are few people. Since mosques are sacred, ladies are encouraged not to wear shorts to this mosque or a mezzanine, but to put on a shawl and to cover their heads. Before entering, remove your shoes.
A park featuring Minar-e-Pakistan or Pakistan’s Eiffel Tower lies right in front of the Fort and Badshahi Mosque. It was constructed on the location of the recognition in 1940 of the foundation of a distinct Muslim state. The inner city is replete with temples and palaces, the Imperial Baths and the Asif Jah Haveli being the most remarkable among them (recently restored). The Mosque of Wazir Khan is an amazing carved mosque near the Gate of Delhi.
Gates of the Inner City
The Old Town was enclosed in the days of the Mughals by a 9-meter-high brick wall and a rampart surrounding it was used as a city defense. Thirteen Lahore Gates provided entry to the town on a circular path around the rampart. Some of these gates’ formidable architecture is still maintained.
- Between the Royal Mosque and the Citadels stands the Raushnai Gate, the “Gate of Light.” There is a notable street, often called the Shahi Mahala. Following Shahi Qila, the name Shahi was bestowed. Some people live here. Around the gate are several food businesses.
- The gate is named the Kashmiri Gate since it faces Kashmir’s direction.
- The Gate of Masti is situated near to Kashmiri gate.
- Khizri or the Gate of Sheranwala. In the past, the river flowed through the walls of the city, and it was near the bridge. The gate was called Khizr Elias’ name.
- The Gate of Yakki was originally named for the Martyr’s saint “Zaki,” who died in a struggle against Mongol invaders, according to a legendary story.
- The gate of Delhi is nicknamed because the gate faces Delhi.
- The Akbari Gate is named after the city and fortress rebuilt by Muhammad Jala-ud-din Akbar.
- Moti Ram, an officer from Akbar who lived here at that time, might be nicknamed Mochi Gate.
- The Shah ‘Almi Gate is named after the Shah’ Alam Bahadur Shah’s Mo’azzam (the son and successor of Aurangzeb). He was a kind and benevolent ruler who, on February 28, 1712, died in Lahore. After Lahore, the Lahori Gate was also known as the Lohari gate.
- The Mori Gate is the smallest and was utilized as an outflow for the waste and cleaning of the city, according to its name.
- The Gate of Bhatti was called after Bhati, an ancient tribe of Rajput who used to live there.
- The Taxali Gate was called after the Taxal or royal mint, once in its neighborhood.
Festivals of Lahore
Throughout the year, the residents of Lahore celebrate several festivals and events, including Islamic, traditional Punjabi, and Christian and national celebrations. Many people adorn their houses and use candles to brighten streets and residences on public holidays. Many of the dozens of Sufi shrines in Lahore are celebrating their saints at an annual holiday called on us. For instance, the Ali Hujwiri tomb at the Data Darbar shrine gets up to one million people each year. Mela Chiraghan is celebrated in the Madho Lal Hussain Shrine in Lahore, while other great shrines take place in Bibi Pak Daman Shrines and at Mian Mir Shrines. In the town, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are held with light adorned commercial malls and public buildings. Also, in the course of the large procession in Karbala during the first ten days of Muharram, Lahori remembers the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (peace and blessings be upon him).
Basant is a festival of traditional Punjabi marking the entrance of the spring. Basant celebrations are held in Pakistan in Lahore, and the city is celebrated annually by people from around the country and internationally. Drawing competitions are typically held during Basant on the town roofs, while the Lahore Canal is furnished with floating lamps. Courts restrict kite flying on the grounds of losses and losses of the power plant. The restriction was removed for two days in 2007, and then re-imposed immediately, when eleven individuals died of celebrative gunfire, sharp kites, electrocution, and competition-related falls.
The churches in Lahore are carefully adorned for festivals of Christmas and Easter. Even although Christians make up 3percent of Lahore’s general population in 2016, shopping and public buildings still provide Christmas facilities to commemorate the holiday.
Lahore is still Pakistan’s biggest tourist attraction. Renovated in 2014, the Walled City of Lahore is renowned because of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. The Lahore Forts next to the Walled City are one of the most famous sites, including the Sheesh Mahal, the Alamgiri Gate, the Naulakha Pavilion, and Moti Masjid. Since 1981, it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage, like the fort and the neighboring Shalimar Gardens.
It has several old monuments, including famous Hindu Temples, the Temple of Krishna, and Valmiki Mandir. The Ranjit Singh samadhi, also located in the vicinity of the Walled City, is home to Sikh king Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s burial urns. Badshahi Mosque, built in 1673, was the most renowned religious edifice in the world and was built as the world’s biggest mosque. The Mosque of Wazir Khan, which was built in 1635, was also famed for its large faience tiles.
Cuisines of Lahore
Lahori cooking refers to Lahore City of Punjab, Pakistan’s food and cuisine. It belongs to the Punjabi regional cuisine. Lahore is a town with a rich tradition of food. Lahore people around the country are renowned for their culinary love. The city provides a wide range of gastronomic possibilities. Recently, the meal type has been popular in other nations, particularly in the Pakistani diaspora, because of its digestible and milder flavor.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork or from using alcohol together with other compulsory Islamic food regulations since the advent of Islam in South Asia has impacted local cuisine to a large degree. Pakistani people focus on different food sectors, like beef, lamb, poultry, fish, lentils, vegetables, and traditional fruits and milk. The effect on Pakistani food is the ombudsman ship of Central Asian, Northern Indian, and Middle East cuisines. Many of Lahore’s food is influenced by Punjabi and Mughlai native dishes. Chinese, western and international food, as well as traditional local cuisine, are popular in the whole city and are blended with regional recipes to produce refined flavors named Pakistani Chinese food.
- Chicken Lahori is a dish from Lahore, Undivided India. Serving with rice basmati. In Lahore, it’s a favorite road meal.
- The Biryani is a blend of rice from the Indian subcontinent. Mixed rice meal. This is composed of Indian spices, rice, and meats, including eggs and/or vegetables, such as potatoes with specific regional variations. They include chicken, beef, goat, sheep, cream, and fish. Both Biryani and its diaspora are popular across the whole of the Indian subcontinent. In other locations, like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, it is also prepared.
- In the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, Haleem is a sort of stew. The recipe differs from one place to another but includes options for wheat or barley, meat, and lentils. Keşkek in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and northern Iraq; hareesa in the Arab and Armenian regions; Haleem in Bangladesh and Western Bengals, India; khichra in Pakistan and India are the main variants in the region.
- The Panipuri or Golgappa is one of the most prevalent snacks in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, originating in South Asia.
Now that you’ve learned about the Lahore travel guide, it’s time for us to shake hands.
Featured Image Credit: Flickr @Umair Khan