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  • December 2009 (39)
  • The Shahi Qila Of Lahore

    Thu, Dec 10, 2009


    Commonly known as Shahi Qila, the Lahore Fort is a fortress located in Lahore city of Punjab in Pakistan. The city of Lahore is walled from all the sides. The fort is positioned at the northwest corner of the city. This trapezoidal work of art has covered an area of more than 20 hectares. The original of the fort is not found till date. The base that is present even today is believed to be constructed during the rulr of a Mughal emperor named Akbar. The fort’s construction was continuously upgraded by the succeeding rulers. The Lahore fort has altogether 13 gates. The fort marks the royal traditions that are seen easily seen in all the Mughal architectures. The most significant sites inside the fort are Sheesh Mahal, Naulakha Pavilion, Alamgiri gate and the Moti Masjid. In the year 1981, the UNESCO declared the Lahore fort as a World Heritage Site. The Shalimar gardens shared the honor with the fort.

    Shahi Qila of Lahore


    The original construction of the Lahore fort is not till date known but it is based on the numerous traditional customs and rituals. In the year 1959 an excavations were carried out by the department on Archeology. The excavation works was carried outside the hall, Diwan-e-Aam. Excavating an area nearly 7.64 m a gold coin was been obtained. The coin belonged to Mahmood of Ghazni. The coin dates back to 1025 AD. The same area was further excavated for more 5 m. Numerous proofs was obtained from the area that stated that the place was been inhabitated even before its conquest by Mahmooh in the year 1025 AD. It was later found that the fort was also present when Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri had attacked Lahore in 1180 AD and later in 1186 AD. The actual date of the construction of the fort is not found, but there are many strong evidences that believes that the fort was been built somewhere around 1025 AD.

    Following are the changes that the Lahore fort had witnessed in the passing years:

    The Lahore fort was destroyed in the year 1241 AD by the Moghuls.

    Sultan Ghiyas ud din Balban had reconstructed the fort in the year 1267 AD.

    The fort was again destroyed in the year 1398 AD by the army of Amir Tamir.

    In the year 1421 AD Sultan Mubark Shah Syed had constructed the fort again with mud.

    Kabul’s Shaikh Ali had taken over the fort in the year 1432 AD. He was the one who took care of the damages of the fort that were created by Shaikha Kokhar.

    The famous Mughal Emperor Akbar had constructed the fort in the year 1566 AD with the help of concrete brick stonework on its original foundation. The area of the fort was extended up till the Ravi river and later by the year 1849 AD the borders of the fort was extended in the northen region. The Masjidi Gate, and the well-appreciated Jharoka-e-Darshan and also the Doula Khana-e-Khas-o-Am was been constructed by the Emperor Akbar in the later fortified area. Jharoka-e-Darshan is commonly known as the Balcony for Royal appearance.

    The Doulat Khana-e-Jehangir was been constructed by Jehangir in the year 1618 AD.

    In the year 1631 AD the Shish Mahal was been constructed by the year Shahjahan. The Shish Mahal is commonly known as the Mirror Palace.

    The Khilwat Khana commonly known as the retiring room , Moti Masjid commonly known as Pearl Mosque, the Khawabagh commonly known as the dream place and the Hamam was been constructed in the year 1633 AD by Shahjahan.

    The Hall of the Special Audience which is known as Diwan-e-Khas was constructed in the year 1645 The Hall of the Special Audience by Shahjahan.

    Aurangzeb in the year 1674 AD ordered the construction of the magnificent Alamgiri Gate.

    A Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh had order for the northern wall’s fortification. The walls were mortified with moat. Later an athdera was built out of the marble. The Havaeli Mai Jindal was also constructed during the rule of Ranjit Singh.

    The Britishers had acquired the Lahore fort in the year 1846 AD.

    In the year 1927 AD, the Lahore fort was handed over to the Department of Archeology by the Britishers. Few sections of the fortified walls on the southern region were demolished renovating the fort into a stride form thus the fort was refortified.

    The various sections in the Lahore fort are as follows:

    • Maidan Diwan-e-Aam commonly known as Garden of Public Audience.
    • Daulat Khana-e-Khass-o-Aam
    • Makatib Khana
    • Haveli of Mai Jindan
    • Jahangir’s Quadrangle
    • Haveli of Kharak Singh
    • Mashriqi and Maghribi Iwans commonly known as East and West Chambers.
    • Mashriqi and Maghribi Suites
    • Khwabgah-e-Kalan commonly known as Bari Khwabgah.
    • Bangla Pavilion
    • Zenana Hammam
    • Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle
    • Diwan-e-Khass commonly known as the Hall of the Special Audience
    • Intizar Gah
    • Khwabgah-e-Shahjahani
    • Paien Bagh and Khilwat Khana Quadrangle commonly known as Chamber of Seclusion.
    • Khilwat Khana commonly known as the retiring room
    • Lal and Kala Burj commonly known as Scarlet and Black Towers.
    • Shah Burj or Royal Tower
    • Reception Court
    • Ranjit Singh’s Athdara
    • Shah Burj Quadrangle commonly known as Royal Tower
    • Shish Mahal commonly known as Hall of Mirrors or Mirror Palace
    • East and West Dalans
    • Naulakha Pavilion
    • South Dalans
    How to reach

    Allama Iqbal International Airport is located at a distance of around 25 km from the Lahore fort. This distance is easily covered with the help of taxis and rented car services that are available across the city. The Allama Iqbal International airport has a good network of national as well as international flights. Lahore Railway station is the nearest located railway station.

    When to visit

    The best time of the year to visit the Lahore fort is during the months of October till March.

    Time required

    The time required to visit each and every corner of the Lahore Fort will require somewhere around 2-3 hours.

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