Your Guide to the Walled City of Lahore
There is a very common saying amongst Pakistanis, ‘Jinne Lahore nahin vekhaya, o jamya e nahin’, it means if you haven’t seen Lahore, you haven’t truly lived. The beauty and architecture of the city stands by this saying.
Whether it is the gorgeous gardens waiting to make your day peaceful or whether it is the majestic Mughal architecture telling a story, Lahore always wins when it comes to architecture.
Let us tell you a bit more about Mughal architecture.
The Mughal architecture in Lahore is mostly situated in the old city of Lahore. Don’t be confused, we will tell you the difference between the old city and the new one. The old city of Lahore is also known as the walled city of Lahore, the thirteen gates the city encapsulates the walled city or androon –e – Shehr.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the walled city and its magnificent architecture.
History of Walled City of Lahore
The walled city came into existence long before Pakistan. This gateway to the new Lahore can be traced back to 1000 CE.
During the middle ages, a small area known as Lahore was surrounded by mud walls. These walls were joined together by thirteen gates at various locations. The city later became an integral part of the Mughal Empire in South Asia, as it was declared the capital city of the Mughal Empire.
It also became the political hub of the, and was called the ‘Gardens of the Mughals’ as well as the ‘City of Gardens’.
During the Mughal period a good number of people began to move and settle in the outskirts of the city, and only nine quarters located inside the inner city.
13 Gates of Lahore
These thirteen gates were erected to protect the city from pillagers and invaders. Out of the thirteen gates, only 6 gates are still standing, while the remaining 7 have decayed and have been lost to history.
The surviving gates are:
- Bhati Gate
- Delhi Gate
- Kashmiri Gate
- Lahori Gate
- Roshnai Gate
- Sheranwala Gate
The above mentioned gates can still be seen standing tall, withstanding the test of times. As soon as you take a step into the gates, you will feel like you have been transported back into time. Life within the walled city remains the same as it was during the Mughal era.
Historical Gates of Lahore
The gates that have decayed over time and their remains can no longer be seen are:
- Akbari Gate
- Masti Gate
- Mochi Gate
- Mori Gate
- Shah Alam gate
- Taxali Gate
- Yakki Gate
Tourist Spots within the Old City of Lahore
Lahore is a city that has a rich history; it’s dotted with Mughal architecture, especially within the walled city. Due to this very reason, the city has become a major tourist hotspot.
Here are some of the hottest spots for tourists in the walled city of Lahore:
- Lahore Fort
- Badshahi Mosque
- Shalimar Gardens
- Wazir Khan Masjid
- Tomb of Jahangir
Let’s tell you about these locations in a bit more detail.
Lahore Fort is also known as the Shahi Qila, it is a castle located near the northern side of the old city.
The fort hosts many brilliant structures and architectural masterpieces. It has around twenty-one historical monuments, and some of them can be traced back to the pre-partition era.
A couple of well-known sites within the Lahore Fort have recently been restored and are currently being used as museums. Some of the most notable mentions in this regard are the Naulakha Pavilion, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khaas, the Summer Palace, Moti Masjid and Sheesh Mahal. These places now exhibit various antique artifacts, from different periods of time in history.
The Alamgiri Gate, built by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1674, is the only entrance to the fort that is still functional. It is a huge gate, made with intricate and beautiful design.
Despite the time that has passed since the fort was built, it still stands in its full glory, as it did during the Mughal era.
Address: Fort Rd, Walled City, Lahore
Tickets: PKR 20 and for Sheesh Mahal PKR 100
Timings: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Located opposite the Shahi Qila, Badshahi Mosque is a testament to the extravagance of the Mughal era. The mosque is one of the most visited tourist spots of the city and is one of the largest mosques in Pakistan.
The mosque was constructed during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1673. This mosque is one of the most important pieces of architecture from the Mughal era. The few things one should know about the mosque is:
- The mosque can accommodate more than 55,000 worshippers at a time
- Its design and architecture is highly influenced by the Jamia Masjid in Delhi, which was constructed upon orders by Shah Jahan
- It was decorated using carved red sandstones with marble tiles
- The mosque has four minarets, which are about sixty metres tall
- In the corner of the masjid, lies the ‘Poet of the East or the ‘Spiritual Father of Pakistan’, Allama Iqbal
Address: Opposite Lahore Fort’s Alamgiri Gate on Fort Road, Walled City Lahore
Tickets: PKR 40
Timings: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
One of the most beautiful gardens of the city of gardens, the Shalimar Gardens is one of the hottest tourist spots in Lahore, where individuals go to end their days on a good note, which is one of the reasons why many individuals look for a house for sale in Lahore.
Situated in the walled city of Lahore, Shalimar Gardens cover an area of more than 80 acres and is listed in the World Heritage Sites in Pakistan.
The signs of the Mughal era are clearly highlighted through the brick-walled gardens and fountains. The terrace of the garden is divided into three:
- Faiz Baksh
- Hayat Baksh
- Farah Baksh
Some people refer to the gardens as ‘Shalamar Gardens’.
Address: Shalamar Chowk, G.T Road, Shalamar Town, Lahore
Tickets: PKR 10
Timings: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wazir Khan Masjid
The mosque is located right in the middle of the walled city of Lahore; Wazir Khan Mosque is another great masterpiece from the period of Shah Jahan. The viceroy or Wazir of Punjab was given the task of overseeing the construction of the mosque. It is located in such manners that not only are the bazaars linked to it, but so are the major routes of the city.
Its construction was completed in seven years. While the basic structure of the mosque is quite simple, the handwork on the walls and the domes is intricate and detailed. The enclosure of the mosque is quite huge and consists of the Tomb of Pir Miraan Badshah, as well as a Wuzu Khana. It is also surrounded by four minarets.
The mosque gives you a highlight of the Mughal era through the beautiful fresco paintings and the intricate Kashi Kari tiles on the walls and the minarets. The gate in front of the Wazir Khan Chowk is decorated with fresco tiles and Quranic verses.
A Shahi Hammam or a Royal Bathhouse was also established by the Wazir of Punjab, on the road of the mosque. The bazaar on the east of the mosque paints a very vivid painting of a scene from 17th century Lahore.
Address: Shahi Guzargah, Dabbi Bazaar, Walled City of Lahore
Timings: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
This brings us to an end to our blog about the walled city of Lahore, we hope the blog is helpful to you the next time you visit the gated city.