Lahore is the second-largest city of Pakistan, and is the cultural centre of the country. The city has been ruled by many empires in the past, giving it a rich history and culture. The architectural remains of the city are a great tourist attraction. Following is the list of places that exhibit the essence of the city and are worth a visit.
1. Lahore Fort
The Lahore Fort, or the Shahi Qila, signifies the finesse of the glorious Mughal empire. Although its foundation dates back to 11th CE, the modern form of the Fort was rebuilt by the emperors of the Mughal Empire in 17th CE. Its architectural layout is Indo-Islamic. Within the Fort lie many other monuments. The notable ones include the Sheesh Mahal, Moti Masjid, Naag Temple, and Maktab Khana. The fort lies within the Walled City and has always been an attraction for the tourists.
2. Badshahi Mosque
Badshahi Mosque is another emblem of the Mughal Empire. The mosque holds tremendous charisma. It was built by Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor in the year 1671. Its peculiarity comprises of its exterior, that is decorated with carved red sandstone.
It is the second-largest mosque in Pakistan, with the prayer hall of the mosque having accommodation of 10,000 worshippers at a time. An interesting narrative about the mosque is that one of its rooms contains strands of hair from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his son-in-law Hazrat Ali(AS).
3. Shalamar Gardens
The Shalamar Gardens is a garden complex built by Shah Jahan in the year 1642. Its layout is Persian-styled Charbagh, that represents four gardens from paradise. The four gardens are divided by walkways. It contains 410 fountains, adding to its attractiveness and making it a place worth visiting. There are distinguished buildings within the gardens. The variety of trees planted all around the gardens, enhance the beauty further, bestowing a mesmerizing view.
4. Lahore Wagah Border
The Wagah Border is a must-visit place in Lahore. It is a part of the border between Pakistan and its neighbour, India. It is one of the top tourist attractions of Lahore. Every evening a ceremony is held, involving military from both sides of the border, hailing their countries with certain gestures. The ceremony witnesses a cheering spectators everyday. With a joyful crowd, patriotic gestures and fierce moves of the soldiers, the experience at the Wagah border is unparalleled.
5. Wazir Khan Mosque
Another symbol of the Mughal Empire, the Wazir Khan Mosque, was built by Shah Jahan in the year 1641. The mosque is known for its intricate tile work and for its interior surfaces that are embellished with Mughal era frescoes (paintings), making it the most ornately decorated mosque of the Mughal era. The walls of the prayer hall are decorated with calligraphy, both Arabic and Persian.
6. Jahangir’s Tomb
The Tomb of Jahangir, as the name suggests, is mausoleum of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. It is built along the Ravi River, which had been a favourite spot of the Emperor and his wife when they resided in Lahore. Some historians state its construction was initiated by Jahangir’s son Shah Jahan, however there are claims that it may have been his wife’s manoeuvre. Every inch of the mausoleum represents the conventional Mughal architecture, with embellishments of frescoes and marble. Its construction started in 1627 and took 10 years to complete. The tomb as we see it today, has been desecrated, affected by floods, and repaired several times, leaving its primary charm to one’s wonder.
7. Delhi Gate
Delhi Gate is one of the gates of the “walled city.” It was used as the main entrance to Lahore during the Mughal-era. While some of the gates of the “walled city” were demolished during the British era, the Delhi Gate remains intact with a road and a garden around. The building of the Gate has two storeys. The gate leads to Delhi Gate Bazaar, filled with vendors selling traditional stuff like bangles, shoes, toys, and clothes. Undoubtedly it becomes the best place in Lahore to collect souvenirs from.
8. Jilani Park
Jilani Park (formerly known as Race Course) is a renowned park in Lahore. Its attractions include the beautiful floral layout and an artificial waterfall. It comprises cricket grounds, a study hall, and walking/jogging track which is one of the longest in Asia. Annual horse races are also held in this park. The plantation in the park is spell-bounding. There are around 200 kinds of trees and plants including imported exotic species. This park covers 88 acres and 6 canals containing two cricket grounds, 5 canteens, gym and fitness centres, a study hall, a beautiful lake, small open areas, walking and jogging tracks and a lot of trees, flowers and shrubs.The length of walkway of hard tiles is 5.5 km while jogging track is completely made of clay and its length is approximately 2.75 km and it is one of the larger jogging tracks in Asia which is made up of pure mud and clay only clay. The maintenance is done properly and is watered 3 times a day, in morning, evening and at night.The style of landscaping in the park is a Japanese styled garden. Japanese landscape design reflects the pure beauty of nature. There are about 80,000 plants & flowers planted in a small area of 6 canals. Some of the plants and trees are also imported from foreign countries. About 200 types of trees and the shrubs are imported which are very rare and expensive. An artificial hill is made behind the lake.
9. Data Darbar
Data Darbar is a Sufi shrine affiliated to Sufi saint Abul Hasan Ali Hujwiri (Data Ganj Bakhsh) built in 11th CE. It is the largest shrine located in South Asia. It is considered a sacred place and is regularly visited by the devotees. The number of visitors is approximately 30,000 to 60,000 per day, which surges to 100,000 on religious holidays and annual urs festival. Qawalli performances are regularly held and the shrine is decorated on special occasions. The traditional celebrations on occasions include dinner for thousands of people and the playing of Sufi music for hours.
10. Fort Food Street
Lahoris are known for their love for food. The food and culture of the city is blend of its rich history and innovations and is unique in itself. To fulfil a trip to Lahore, a visit to this eye-catching place is a must. The Fort Food Street is lined up with many restaurants offering traditional Lahori cuisine. The view of Badshahi Mosque that the street provides is its major attribute. It is connected to Roshni Gate, which gives it a peculiar “old city feel.” While the places to visit in Lahore are plenty, these are 10 of them that consummate the city and are sufficient to have an idea of the beauty of Lahore.