Legend has it that two sons of Rama
founded Lahore about 4,000 years ago. Historically, it has
been proved that Lahore is about 2,000 years old. Hieun-tsang,
the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of
Lahore city, which he visited in the early parts of the seventh
century A.D. For 200 years, beginning from about 1525 A.D.,
Lahore was a thriving cultural center of the great Mughal
Empire. Mughal Emperors beautified Lahore with palaces, gardens
and mosques. During the British regime, many monuments sprang
up in Lahore, which blended beautifully with the Mughal, Gothic
and Victorian styles of architecture. Lahore is the second
largest city of Pakistan and the provincial capital of Punjab.
Apart from being the cultural and academic center of the country,
Lahore is the Mughal "show-window" of Pakistan. Reminiscence
of its hoary past is the remains of a subterranean temple
in the northern part of the Royal Fort, attributed to Rama,
the legendary hero of Ramayana. Lying on the main trade and
invasion routes to the South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and
plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. However, it
touched the zenith of its glory during the rule of the Mughals.
The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some
of its finest architectural monuments that are extinct today.
EXCAVATION AT LAHORE:
of the city of Lahore and its early history is shrouded in
mystery. Abu Rehan Muhammad bin Ahmed AL-Biruni in his Tarikh-e-Hind,
at the time of Mahmud Ghazanavi's invasion, mentions Lahore.
In order to obtain conclusive evidence, it was decided to
use the more dependable method of archaeological excavation
in the Royal Fort, situated on the highest point of the city.
The upper levels revealed building remains of the British
and Sikh period. The Mughal period is marked by intensive
building activity. The outstanding find from the lower level
was a gold coin of Mahmud of Ghazna struck at Ghazni during
the time of the Abbasid Caliph Al Qadir Billah. Below the
pre-Mughal levels the remains of the non-Muslim or Hindu period
PLACES OF INTEREST:
The most important historical monuments of the Mughals
in Lahore are: the Royal Fort, the Badshahi Mosque.
The independence monument, the tombs of Emperor Jehangir,
Empress Noor Jehan ,Anarkali, Asif-Jan and the famous
The Royal Fort (Shahi Qala)
Although the Mughal Emperor Akbar constructed most parts
of the Royal Fort around 1566 A.D., there is evidence
that a mud fort was in existence here in 1021 A.D. as
well, when Mahmood of Ghazna invaded this area. Akbar
demolished the old mud fort and constructed most of
the modern Fort, as we see it today, on the old foundations.
Construction of the fort dates back to the early 10th
Century. The Royal Fort is rectangular .The main gates
are located alongside the center of the western and
eastern walls. Every succeeding Mughal Emperor, as well
as the Sikhs and the British in their turn, added a
pavilion, palace or wall to the fort. Emperor Jehangir
extended the gardens and constructed the palaces that
we see today in the Jehangir's Quadrangle, while Shah-Jehan
added Diwan-e-Khas, Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and his
the impressive main gate (Alamgiri Gate) which faces
the Hazoori Bagh lying in between the Badshahi Mosque
and the Fort. The famous Sheesh Mahal or Palace of
Mirrors is in the north -east corner of the Fort.
This is the most beautiful place in the Fort, decorated
with small mirrors of different color sets. The part
of the wall of the Elephant Steps, towards the Fort's
inner gate, is scarred by bullet marks bearing testimony
to the Sikh civil war of 1847 A.D. A party of Sikhs
had mounted their guns on one of the minarets of the
mosque across the courtyard from where they fired
on their opponents. The Sleeping Chamber of Mai Jandan
houses a very interesting museum with relics from
Mughal and the Sikh periods.
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