The Lahore fort has an appealing ‘abandoned’ atmosphere and a wonderful place to simply wander around to start attraction of the old city. Lahore is the 2nd largest city of the country, contains many historical places. It is also called Royal Fort, Shahi Qila and Badshahi Qila covers a massive area of 20 hectares. Lahore Fort and Shalamar Garden are enlisted as World Heritage Sites in 1981 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The Lahore Fort history is shrouded in mystery and no one known about its traditions. However, Lahore fort was built by son of Ramayana of Legendry age, attributed to mythic “LOH”, a small shrine still exist in Lahore fort nearby to Alamgiri gate. Therefore, built, damaged, demolished, rebuilt and restored numerous times before being given its present form by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1566. Thus, within it is a succession of stately palaces, halls and gardens built by Mughal emperors Akbar. In 1618, Emperor Jehangir modified the fort, however later on; it was damaged by Sikhs and British. Moreover, the small Moti Masjid “Pearl Mosque” was built by Shah Jahan in 1644 for the private use of the ladies of the royal household and was restored to its original delicacy in 1904.

Lahore fort is the only place, which represents the diverse phases in the development of Mughal architecture. Emperor Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, built many other great Mughal forts at Delhi and Agra in India. It’s believed that the site conceals some of Lahore’s most ancient remains. The fort is entered on its western side through the colossal Alamgiri Gate, built by Aurangzeb in 1674 as a private entrance to the royal quarters. It was large enough to allow several elephants carrying members of the royal household to enter at one time. Moreover, Diwan-i-Aam “Hall of Public Audience” was built by Shah Jahan in 1631, with an upper balcony added by Akbar. It’s where the emperor would make a daily public appearance, receive official visitors and review parades. Khawabgah-i-Jehangir “Jehangir’s Sleeping Quarters”, a pavilion on the north side of his quadrangle, now houses small museum of Mughal antiquities. By moving towards west side, another elegant pavilion, the Diwan-i-Khas “Hall of Private Audience”, was built by Shah Jahan for receiving guests.

Makateeb Khana “Reception Chamber” the forecourt of Jahangir’s palace was built in 1617-18 A.D. It was used as the entrance gate by Muharrirs (Clerks). Lal Burj, is a three storied summer pavilion lies adjacent to Diwan-e-Khas are the beautiful work of Emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The exterior is beautifully furnished with tile mosaic and filigree work, while the interior is a model of colorful fresco paintings. Moreover, Kala Burj building also used to serve as a summer pavilion and it is similar to Lal Burj in many respects. It occupies north-west corner of Khilwat Khana (Place of Isolation). Another Hammam-e-Shahi (Royal Bath) was built by Shah Jahan in about 1633 A.D. patterned on Turkish style, so it comprises Jama Khana (Dressing and undressing room). The bath also had the facility of warm and hot water.

In 1631, Shah Jahan built Shish Mahal “Palace of Mirrors”, beautifully decorated with glass mirrors set into the stucco interior, it was built for the empress and her court and installed with screens to conceal them from prying eyes. The walls were original marble tracery screens and pietra dura (inlay work) are in remarkable condition. The view from here over the rest of the fort and Badshahi Mosque is breathtaking. Furthermore, “Naulakha” (meaning nine lakh (900,000), refers to the price to build it or the number of semiprecious stones used in its construction) is the marble pavilion on the west side of the quadrangle, lavishly decorated with pietra dura – studded with tiny jewels in intricate floral motifs. Also, move to down the Hathi Paer “Elephant Path” and through Shah Burj Gate; look behind to see the fine painted tilework of the outer wall. There are three small museums on site “Armoury Gallery” exhibits various arms including pistols, swords, daggers, spears and arrows; the “Sikh Gallery” predominantly houses rare oil paintings; and the “Mughal Gallery” exhibits old manuscripts, calligraphy, coins and miniature paintings, as well as an ivory miniature model of India’s Taj Mahal.

The use of elephant-shaped column brackets reflects Hindu influences on the syncretic architectural style of Emperor Akbar.

The use of elephant-shaped column brackets reflects Hindu influences on the syncretic architectural style of Emperor Akbar.

The Summer Palace is a labyrinth of chambers that was used as a residence during the hot summer months.

The Summer Palace is a labyrinth of chambers that was used as a residence during the hot summer months.

The Sikh-era Sehdari, or Three-doored pavilion served as an office for Faqir Syed Noor-ud-din, a trusted Governor of Ranjit Singh.

The Sikh-era Sehdari, or Three-doored pavilion served as an office for Faqir Syed Noor-ud-din, a trusted Governor of Ranjit Singh.

The Sheesh Mahal is elaborately decorated with a myriad of reflective glass tiles.

The Sheesh Mahal is elaborately decorated with a myriad of reflective glass tiles.

The samadhi of Jhingar Shah Suthra is a Hindu shrine located adjacent to the fort's northern wall.

The samadhi of Jhingar Shah Suthra is a Hindu shrine located adjacent to the fort’s northern wall.

The Diwan-i-Khas is where the Emperor would attend to state affairs.

The Diwan-i-Khas is where the Emperor would attend to state affairs.

The fort's iconic Alamgiri Gate was built during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.

The fort’s iconic Alamgiri Gate was built during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.

The fort's massive Picture Wall dates from the Jahangir period.

The fort’s massive Picture Wall dates from the Jahangir period.

The marble Naulakha Pavilion is one of the most iconic sights at the fort.

The marble Naulakha Pavilion is one of the most iconic sights at the fort.

The Picture Wall features mosaics depicting a myriad of scenes.

The Picture Wall features mosaics depicting a myriad of scenes.

Sheesh Mahal is known for its ayina kari - mirrored tile-work.

Sheesh Mahal is known for its ayina kari – mirrored tile-work.

Lahore is the 2nd largest city of the country, contains many historical places.

Lahore is the 2nd largest city of the country, contains many historical places.

Sehdari Pavilion

Sehdari Pavilion

Naulakha Pavilion and Sheesh Mahal form parts of the Shah Burj Quadrangle.

Naulakha Pavilion and Sheesh Mahal form parts of the Shah Burj Quadrangle.

Makateeb Khana “Reception Chamber” the forecourt of Jahangir’s palace was built in 1617-18 A.D. It was used as the entrance gate by Muharrirs (Clerks).

Makateeb Khana “Reception Chamber” the forecourt of Jahangir’s palace was built in 1617-18 A.D. It was used as the entrance gate by Muharrirs (Clerks).

Lahore's Moti Masjid is earliest of three Mughal Pearl Mosques. The two others are the one in Agra and the other in Delhi.

Lahore’s Moti Masjid is earliest of three Mughal Pearl Mosques. The two others are the one in Agra and the other in Delhi.

Lahore_Fort_view_from_Baradari

Lahore_Fort_view_from_Baradari

Kala Burj building also used to serve as a summer pavilion and it is similar to Lal Burj in many respects.

Kala Burj building also used to serve as a summer pavilion and it is similar to Lal Burj in many respects.

The Lahore fort has an appealing 'abandoned' atmosphere and a wonderful place to simply wander around to start attraction of the old city.

The Lahore fort has an appealing ‘abandoned’ atmosphere and a wonderful place to simply wander around to start attraction of the old city.

Akbari Gate was built in 1566 and now called Maseeti Gate.

Akbari Gate was built in 1566 and now called Maseeti Gate.

A picture showing the Lahore Fort and Hazuri Bagh Pavilion in 1870.

A picture showing the Lahore Fort and Hazuri Bagh Pavilion in 1870.

Source: Wikipedia / Lonely Planet

 

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