Lahore is located near the border with India, directly on the Ravi River and is considered the second largest city in the country. Lahore is considered the cultural, culinary and industrial center of northern Pakistan.
Since the eleventh century, Lahore can boast of being one of the spiritual centers of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. In the Pakistani city, one can visit several mosques. Most of them date back to the Mughal period. The most interesting mosques from this period are the Badshahi Mosque and the Pearl Mosque, built in the seventeenth century.
In any case, the artistically designed Shalimar Garden in Lahore is impressive. It was built between 1585 and 1598 when Lahore was still the magnificent capital of Pakistan. At that time, Lahore was the symbol of unlimited power and almost inexhaustible wealth for the Europeans.
Lahore owed its wealth and outstanding development of that time to Akbar, the founder of Mughal splendor.
The English had also conquered the city in 1799. In 1848, Lahore was the capital of the Sikh Empire. The city has been the scene of exciting events over the centuries and has an eventful history.
Another attraction of Lahore is the city’s oldest and most prestigious educational institution. The University of the Punjab was founded back in 1882.
Tip 1: Lahore Fort
The Lahore Fort, also known as Shahi Qila in Urdu, is located within the walled old city of Lahore. The complex dates back to the famous Mughal ruler Akbar and was built in the second half of the 16th century. Further additions happened under subsequent rulers, including the Sikhs and during the British colonial period.
In particular, Akbar’s son, Jehangir, added more buildings to the site, such as the Palace of Mirrors. In addition to several palace and representation rooms, the Mothi Mosque dominates the ensemble. Only two gates lead into the interior of the fort, of which the Alamgiri Gate was built by Aurengzeb, while the Masti Gate, on the other hand, dates back to the original construction by Akbar. Together with the Red Fort in Delhi and the fort in Agra, the Lahore Fort forms an outstanding example of Mughal fortification architecture.
Tip 2: Badshahi Mosque
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and one of the largest mosques in the world. It rises on a platform accessible by stairs in the old city opposite the Lahore Fort. Built in 1673/74 on the orders of Grand Mogul Aurangzeb, it is considered one of the most important works of Indo-Islamic sacred architecture of the Mogul period.
The Badshahi Mosque resembles the Jama Masjid in Delhi, built two decades earlier. The building, whose corners are marked by four low, octagonal minarets with attached pavilions, is dominated by three white marble domes. The symmetrical facade of red sandstone inlaid with white marble consists of a tall central aiwan adjoined on either side by five smaller aiwans. The square courtyard can accommodate over 50,000 worshippers. It is surrounded by a crenellated wall about 150 meters long on each side, with tall minarets at the corners. The water basin in its center is for ritual purification before prayer. The main building is located on the west side of the courtyard, the entrance gate is on the east. The interior of the mosque is decorated with plant tendrils and cartouches executed in stucco.
Near the entrance there is also a small museum where relics of Islamic saints can be seen, such as the turban of the Prophet Mohammed.
Tip 3: Wazir Khan Mosque
One of the many shrines of the Pakistani city of Lahore is the Wazir Khan Mosque, which took seven years to build from 1634 to 1635, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It was named after the governor known as Wazir Khan.
In the courtyard of the mosque is an underground tomb of the ruler Syed Muhammad Ishaq, who settled in Lahore during the Tughlaq dynasty. The Wazir Khan Mosque is built in the classical Mughal style, with the open interior enclosed on four sides with minarets at the corners, and the facade of the main building decorated with numerous frescoes made by the best craftsmen in the city. On both sides of the main entrance there are two high towers crowned by domes. Pastel colors predominate in the exterior decoration, while the interior of the mosque has remained unchanged since its construction. Today, the Wazir Khan Mosque is a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Every year many tourists visit the place, some to pay homage to the great rulers, others to enjoy the architectural masterpiece. Whatever your plans, you can be sure that a visit to the Wazir Khan Mosque will evoke only positive emotions.
Tip 4: Tomb of Jahangir
The Jahangir Mausoleum (17th century) is located in the northern suburbs of Lahore, Pakistan. It is a structure with zigzag inlays of white and yellow marble and four 30-meter-high minarets, built between 1627 and 1637 for the fourth Padishah of the Mughal Empire, Jahangir (1605-1627). The mausoleum is located in the gardens of Dilkush, a “favorite place” of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan when they lived in Lahore.
The interiors are decorated with frescoes and marble, and the facades are adorned with Florentine mosaics. The tomb of Jahangir, together with the adjacent Akbari Sarai and the tomb of Asaf Khan, form an ensemble. The Mausoleum of Jahangir is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Tip 5: Shalimar Gardens
The Shalimar Gardens date back to an initiative of Shah Jahan. Started in 1641, it took only about a year to complete. The gardens are a unique monument of landscape architecture, combining elements from Central Asia, the Kashmir region, western Punjab, Persia and also the Delhi Sultanate. On a not quite rectangular basic shape of 658 by 258 meters, three separated terraces extend, each under a theme and with a height difference of almost five meters.
410 fountains pour into wide marble pools, providing a constant breath of cool air in the heat of Lahore. Pleasure pavilions and palaces as well as various exotic trees complete the inviting picture of this garden complex.