Lahore is one of the major and most important cities of Pakistan. It is famous for so many things, including a variety of food, vibrant culture, and most significantly, its rich history. In this article, we are going to enlist the 7 Best Historical Places in Lahore.
It is said about Lahore to indicate its importance:
If a person has not seen Lahore, he has not been born yet.
Lahore is the capital of Punjab that is one of the provinces of Pakistan. It is the second-largest city in Pakistan after Karachi. Lahore is considered to be one of the wealthiest, advanced, socially liberal, and cosmopolitan cities. But it is the antiquity of the city that makes it so interesting and attracts the tourists to itself.
History of Lahore:
Origin of Lahore:
The origin of Lahore can be drawn back somewhat between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D. Among historians, rumor has it that it was founded by Loh-e-Son Rama, who is considered as a Hindu God in Ramayan.
As per Sir Robert Montgomery, Lahore became significant between the 2nd and 4th centuries. The Greek geographer Ptolemy suggested that Lahore was originated at the end of the 1st century. The book Ood-e-Aalamahore suggested that Lahore surfaced as a town in 882 A.D.
The people of Lahore say, “Lahore is Lahore.” to emphasize the rareness and uniqueness of their city. Over the centuries, the historic city of Lahore has been ruled by several great empires:
- Medieval Era:
- Late Sultanates
- Shah Jahan
- Ahmad Shah Durrani
- British Colonial Period
- Independence 1947
It was during the rule of the Mughals that Lahore reached its glory, especially during the reign of Akbar, who made Lahore city his capital. To this date, there are still several structures in Lahore that were erected during the Mughal period.
Below is the map of Lahore:
Now that we have explained the history of Lahore, let’s focus on the Best Historical Places in Lahore mentioned as follows:
1. Lahore Fort:
Lahore Fort is among the most famous 9 Best Historical Places in Lahore. It is also known as “Shahi Qila,” meaning “Royal Fort”. Its construction started in the 11th century in the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni and was finished in the 17th century. It contains at least 21 distinguished monuments, most of which date back to the reign of the Mughals.
Lahore Fort lies in the northern part of Lahore and is built over a land area of 20 Acres. The fort is basically divided into two sectors; the administrative sector and a private sector. The administrative sector connects the main entrances, Diwan-e-Khas (court for royals), and gardens.
Whereas, the second section is a private residential part that is divided into several courts and can be accessed via the elephant gate. The fort also contains one of the important structures, the Sheesh Mahal.
It also contains ancient sleeping chambers and small gardens. The fort was modified during both Mughal and Sikh rule. The architecture of the whole fort is such a treat to the eyes. Since 1981, the Lahore Fort has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some of the significant structures within the Lahore Fort include:
- Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle
- Shah Burj Quadrangle
- Jahangir’s Quadrangle
- Mai Jindan Haveli
- Khilwat Khana
- Maktab Khana
- Moti Masjid
- Naag Temple
Location: Fort Road, Walled City of Lahore, Lahore
Timings: 5:30 AM – 8:00 PM
2. Badshahi Mosque:
Badshahi Mosque is definitely on our list of the 9 Best Historical Places in Lahore. The Badshahi Mosque is a congregational mosque of the Mughal era. The mosque is situated in the west of the Lahore Fort, adjacent to the Walled City of Lahore. It is, you can say, the most iconic landmark of Lahore.
The Badshahi Mosque was built between 1671 A.D and 1673 A.D. by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. It is the largest mosque that was built during the Mughal era and is considered the second largest mosque in Pakistan.
The mosque was used as a military base by the British Empire, after the fall of the Mughal Empire. The damage caused to the mosque by the garrison forces was fixed and restored in 1939 by Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, the former prime minister of Punjab. He is buried adjacent to the mosque.
The exterior of the mosque is adorned with carved red sandstone and marble tiles. Emperor Aurangzeb chose the same architectural design as Shah Jhan’s Jama Masjid in Delhi, India. However, he built the Badshahi Mosque on a greater scale.
The mosque has an exquisite entrance and its full name, “Masjid Abul Zafar Muhy-ud-Din Mohammad Alamgir Badshah Ghazi,” is written in marble at the entrance.
After entering through the massive gate of the mosque, you will find yourself in a huge courtyard that is covered over a land area of 276,000 square feet and can house almost 100,000 worshippers for Namaz-e-Eid.
Location: Walled City of Lahore, Lahore
Timings: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
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3. Wazir Khan Mosque:
Wazir Khan Mosque is also among our list of the 9 Best Historical Places in Lahore. It is a 17th-century mosque that was built during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The construction of this amazing structure started in 1634 C.E. and was finalized in 1641.
Among one of the most elaborately designed mosques, The Wazir Khan Mosque is built on a higher ridge and designed with a particular tile-work known as Kashi-kari. The inside of the mosque is entirely embroidered with frescoes of the Mughal period.
Since 2009, the mosque has been under extensive refurbishment. The restoration is happening as per the directions of the Agha Khan Trust for Culture and the Government of Punjab. The United States, Germany, and Norway governments are contributing to the restoration cause. The Wazir Khan Mosque is on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage.
Location: Shahi Guzargah, Dabbi Bazar, Chota Mufti Baqar Walled City of Lahore, Lahore, Punjab
Timings: 5:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Minar-e-Pakistan or the ‘Tower of Pakistan,’ is definitely on the list of best historical places in Lahore. It is considered among the highest towers of Pakistan. This historical site has particular significance for the people of Pakistan.
It is the place where, as a result of the two-nation vision shared by Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the resolution was passed to make a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent. The Minar-e-Pakistan is located within the Iqbal Park; the latter is named after Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who presented the idea of a separate homeland.
The tower was built and designed under the supervision of a Russian-Pakistani architect, Nasreddin Murat-Khan. The tower was built almost in the entirety of the 1960s. The foundation stone was placed on 23rd March 1960 and the construction was completed in 1968.
The tower depicts a blend of Islamic, Mughal and present-day structural engineering. The tower’s base is 8 meters above the ground, whereas the tower itself is almost 70 meters high from the ground level. The tower’s platform is built with patterned tiles and faces the Badshahi Mosque.
The base of the tower comprises four platforms which are symbolic as they symbolize the humble commencement of freedom struggle. The first platform is constructed with the uncut stones from Taxila, the second platform with hammer-dressed stones, the third platform with chiseled stones and the final platform is built with polished white marble that showcases the success of the Pakistan Movement.
There are several commemorative plaques made of white marble at the tower’s base. The engravings read the content of Lahore Resolution/Pakistan Resolution in Urdu, English and Bengali. Other plagues display Quranic verses, the National Anthem of Pakistan, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s quotations.
Location: Minar-e-Pakistan, Circular Road, Walled City of Lahore, Lahore
Timings: Open 24 Hours
5. Shalimar Garden:
The Shalimar Gardens come at fifth on our list of best historical places in Lahore. The ancient city, Lahore, had been the heart of the Mughal Empire. The city is often called the ‘City of Gardens’ due to its so many gardens, parks, and picnic spots. There is no doubt that the Shalimar Gardens are at the top among the most famous and historically significant gardens.
The Shalimar Gardens are a garden complex of the Mughal era. The place has survived several regimes and tests of times. Ever since the partition, it has been maintained to preserve the culture of the Mughal period.
The Shalimar Gardens were set up as a Persian paradise garden and the goal was to create a place that would represent a utopia where human beings could exist in harmony with nature. The construction of the gardens began during the reign of the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1641 and was completed in 1642.
The Shalimar Gardens are designed in a rectangular shape and they are covered over 16 hectares of land. In 1981, UNESCO included the Shalimar Gardens in their World Heritage Site as they are a perfect description of the Mughal garden design.
Location: AH1, G. T. Road, Shalamar Town, Lahore, Punjab
Timings: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
6. Tomb of Anarkali:
The Tomb of Anarkali is another marvel of history that is also on our list of the best historical places to visit in Lahore. It is yet another Mughal monument from the 16th century. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Jahangir built the tomb for his beloved. There are no reliable sources to confirm the name of his beloved, but as per the contemporary travel accounts, his beloved name was Anarkali.
According to the legend, Jahangir’s father, Emperor Akbar, learned about his son’s affair with Anarkali, got furious and buried her alive. There is no confirmed date of the tomb’s construction, but it is said that it was built either in 1599 or in 1615.
The tomb has survived through different ages and reigns. Kharak Singh occupied it during the age of the Sikh Empire. Later, it was converted into the house for the wife of Jean-Baptiste Ventura, who was a general in Ranjit Singh’s army.
During British Raj, in 1847, the tomb was transformed into clerical offices and after four years, it was converted into the Anglican St. James Church. Later, it was called as ‘Protestant Cathedral’ of Lahore. However, the church congregation was moved to another place and the tomb was turned into the Punjab Record Office.
The tomb is designed in an octagon shape and has semi-octagonal towers at every corner. The historical structure has a double-dome resting upon eight arches of 12 feet and 3 inches. The huge arches on building sides were common in Mughal fashion, but they were shut off by the British.
The building has been whitewashed and is presently used as the Punjab Archives and is not accessible to the public.
Location: Nasir-ud-Din Road, Islampura, Lahore, Punjab
Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (For officials only)
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7. Begum Shahi Mosque:
Begum Shahi Mosque, also referred to as Mariyam Zamani Begum Mosque, is one of the oldest surviving monuments from the Mughal period. At the same time, it is one of the best historical places in Lahore. The mosque is also termed as the ‘Mother of all Mosques’.
The early 17th-century mosque is located within the Walled City of Lahore. The mosque is named after one of the Akbar’s wives, Wali Nimat Begum, who was given the title of Mariyam Zamani. The mosque was built by the orders of Mariyam Zamani’s son, Jahangir, in honor of his mother.
The very mosques inspired the building of another later celebrated building, the Wazir Khan Mosque. Under the Sikh administration, this mosque was renamed Shaheed Ganj Bhai Mani Singh in honor of the most famous Sikh hero, Bhai Mani Singh.
The gate of the Walled City that leads straight to this mosque is the Gate of Masiti. Emperor Akbar built the fort’s original main gate in 1566. Because of the mosque directly across the street, this entrance is known as Masjidi Gate (also known as Masiti Gate).
The gate is no longer there, but a directing marker on the circular road will lead you there. According to historians, Masiti Gate was named after this mosque and was originally known as Masjidi Gate; however, over time, the name was corrupted to Masiti Gate as it is known today.
Several shops have encroached on the mosque, and illegally erected tyre shops have blocked views of the mosque from the Akbari Gate of the Lahore Fort. According to the Walled City of Lahore Authority’s announcement in July 2016, the shops would be demolished, and the mosque would be renovated.
Location: Fort Road, Walled City of Lahore, Lahore, Punjab
Lahore is famous for so many things, but the very prominent thing about the city must be its rich historical background. If you are planning to take a trip to the ancient history, we have compiled a list of the Best Historical Places in Lahore. We hope that the blog will help you decide which places you should visit in Lahore.
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