Best Places to Visit in Lahore Fort, It was my first question before visiting this magnificent structure. In this post, we will also share the top tourist attractions in Shahi Qila (Old Fort).
The fort in Lahore, also called SHAHI QILA, is a reflection of numerous eras. The fort is first mentioned in an account of Lahur (Lahore) written by Al-Biruni, who refers to a fort built in the early eleventh century. He adds that Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandari, who wrote the Khulasatut Tawarikh in 1695–1696 A.D., states that Sultan Mahmud’s favorite Malik Ayaz rebuilt the city of Lahore and built a masonry fort there. Khan thinks it is the same fort that was destroyed by the Mongols in 1241 and again in 1398 by a portion of Timur’s army, following which Sayyid, son of Khizr Khan, rebuilt it once again in 1421.
Following are the best places to visit in Lahore Fort.
Samadhi of Bhai Vasti Ram
Two modest buildings may be found outside the Lahore Fort wall, however, most people who enter the Greater Iqbal Park don’t notice them. These are the Sikh Samadhis of Jhinger Shah Suthra and Bhai Vasti Ram.
For the Sikhs, Bhai Vasti Ram’s Samadhi has spiritual significance. Bhai Vasti Ram, according to Sikh history and reference books, lived in Lahore from 1701 until 1802, where he was born. His father was a well-known Sikh named Bhai Bulaka Singh, who is thought to have traveled with Guru Gobind Singh to the south in 1707. With the Guru’s blessing, he left and returned to Lahore.
Due to his dedication to the study of medicine, Bhai Vasti Ram was well-recognized for his medical prowess and rose to fame for his knowledge of the effective use of local herbs for free treatment. He is regarded as being extremely modest, devout, and fearful of God.
Shah Burj Gate
The Lahore fort’s Shah Burj Entrance is a colossal gate that leads into the fort. This gate, which is connected to the fort’s wall in the image, has gone unseen for a very long time. Tourists simply drove by without stopping to take in its beauty or abundance of artwork.
Following the closure of the entrance through the Alamgiri Gate, which is located inside the Huzoori Bagh, the Shah Burj Gate, which is a portion of the biggest picture wall in the world, became the main entrance to the fort.
As the biggest mural Picture Wall in the world, it was meticulously painted with glazed tile and faience mosaics, ornate brickwork, filigree work, and frescos during the Mughal Empire, beginning in 1624 AD under Emperor Jahangir and finishing in 1632 AD under Emperor Shah Jahan. As you enter the Lahore Fort, you can see a wall that is 1450’x50′ (450 meters long and 17 meters high). Since each mosaic depicts a different aspect of royal court life and amusement, including combat scenes, royal portraits, mythological creatures, dance and music, and geometric patterns, the Lahore Fort was in large part chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
The wall had somehow fallen by the wayside and received little attention in terms of tourism and conservation. People were unaware that the Lahore Fort had a world heritage classification since it contains the longest mural wall in the world, which is exquisitely embellished with glazed tile mosaics. This wall encloses the Shah Jahan quadrangle, which contains the magnificent Sheesh Mahal and Naulakha Pavilion, as well as the Summer Palace. The Postern Gate serves as the entry to the surrounding surroundings, whilst the Hathi Pol Gate serves as an extension of the wall and entrance to the rest of the fort and later structures. The Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, a Sikh holy structure, also provides a rich historical immediate backdrop for the Picture Wall.
Diwan-e-Aam (Red Fort)
The royal jharokha (royal audience dais), which had been in use since Jahangir’s rule, lies directly to the south of the Diwan-e Aam Hall, which is located in a prominent location within the Lahore fort. In those days, it was common for noblemen to seek refuge in tents close to the jharokha. Shah Jahan built the Diwan-e Aam hall to serve as a more permanent and beautiful gathering place for noblemen.
Following the deaths of Kharak Singh and his son Nau Nihal on the same day in 1841, the hall was demolished by cannon fire during the struggle for power. When the British seized power in Lahore in 1846, they rebuilt the pavilion.
Sleeping Chambers of Shah Jahan
Let’s move to the quadrangle’s opposite side now that we’ve seen one side of it. Shah Jahan’s sleeping quarters were the five-room rows adjoining Diwan-e-Khas. There, five sleeping chambers are arranged in a single row. The chambers have paintings, inlaid white marble, and screens made of carved marble. I can picture the velvet bedding, silk and chiffon curtains, décor including enormous vases filled with fragrant flowers and candles at night, and the smell of rose water, which the Mughals loved. I wish I could be present to witness everything.
According to historical records, Wazir Khan, the governor of Lahore, was entrusted with this work by Emperor Shah Jahan. Wazir Khan finished the building in 1633, while it is also stated that it was finished in 1634. The impressive Wazir Khan Mosque and Shahi Hammam were built by the same Wazir Khan.
The decorations in these rooms are currently hidden because they were destroyed during several riots. It is also asserted that it was the first structure Shah Jahan erected inside the fort. Another well-known example of a four-part garden is Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle. It is obvious that the garden is separated into four sections. It is reported that the Emperor would hold daily meetings with his people.
Shahi Hammam (Royal Bath)
During the time of Emperor Shah Jahan, the Shahi Hammam, also referred to as the Wazir Khan Hammam, was constructed in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1635 C.E. It is a Persian-style bath. Ilam-ud-din Ansari, also known as Wazir Khan, the principal physician of the Mughal Court, constructed it. The baths were constructed as a waqf, or endowment, for the Wazir Khan Mosque’s maintenance.
Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace)
The Sheesh Mahal, also known as “The Palace of Mirrors” in Urdu, is a palace that can be found in the Shah Burj block of the Lahore Fort’s northwest corner. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor, had it built between 1631 and 1632, and Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh afterward added minor modifications.
The Lahore Fort, one of Lahore’s most recognizable landmarks, was gradually constructed over time by a number of Mughal kings, from Akbar to Aurangzeb, from the time of Akbar to that of Aurangzeb. But when it comes to architectural achievements, Shah Jahan is remembered for having built some of the most stunning structures, including the renowned Taj Mahal in Agra, the Jama Masjid in Delhi, and the expansive Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, among others. But the Naulakha Pavilion, the emperor’s preferred palace, was located inside the Lahore Fort.
In the Fort, west of the similarly stunning Sheesh Mahal, lies Naulakha, one of the twenty distinctive buildings that date back to 1665. Formerly the Mughal Emperor’s favorite summer residence, he regularly stayed here while visiting Lahore. It is a distinctive rectangular pavilion with a distinctive arched roof. This stunning marble building was given the name “Naulakha” because it is said to have cost 900,000 (9 lakh) rupees to build, which was an extravagant sum of money at the time. The word “Naulakha” is still used to denote a priceless item in the Urdu language vernacular today.
Unfortunately, the Pavilion fell into chaos with the end of the Mughal dynasty. The Afghans attacked Naulakha in search of its priceless jewels while Aurangzeb utilized it as a place of devotion. While the British soldiers pulled out most of the remaining jewels and gold from the roof, the Sikhs chose to leave it alone. Tourists still seek to steal or deface the Pavilion’s remaining diamonds after 1947, and the area’s traffic is deteriorating the Pavilion’s and Sheesh Mahal’s clean marble.
The Summer Palace sometimes called the Pari Mahal or “Fairy Palace,” is situated just below the Sheesh Mahal and Shah Burj quadrangle. The palace is a maze-like collection of Shah Jahan-era apartments. They were used as a place to live during the summer because the palace had efficient ventilation systems that sent pleasant breezes inside. The flooring system of the palace, which consisted of two layers with a layer of water piped in from the Ravi River in between, also assisted in cooling the area. A complex network of 42 waterfalls and cascades pumped cool water scented with roses throughout the castle.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh constructed the “Ath dar,” an elevated pavilion with eight entrances, to serve as his court. It shares a wall with the Shah Burj quadrangle gate and is close by. Marble and red sandstone make up the building. Krishna is depicted in Kangra-style frescoes on the inside walls, and the ceiling is ornamented with colorful mirror work.
The Diwan-i-Khas served as a hall where the Emperor would attend to matters of state and where courtiers and state guests were received, in contrast to the Diwan-i-Aam. Before each public session, elaborate processions lasting up to an hour took place in the hall.
Bhutto Jail (The dark side of Lahore Fort)
When the cruel Zia administration took power, the cell that the British had once used to jail freedom fighters was instead used to house ominous voices.
Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, and a handful of his cabinet members were also detained here. Pakistan finally achieved independence in 1947, but the British Raj’s use of prisons persisted.
Let me now tell you about some of the well-known and famous individuals who were held in this prison. Former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, political party leader Wali Khan, former Punjab chief minister Hanif Ramay, former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, journalist Agha Shorash Kashmiri, Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, Pakistan Movement leader Molana Abdul Sattar Niazi, Jamat-e-Islami leader Tufail Muhammad, journalist Zia Shahid, Muhammad Khan Daku, and numerous PPP politicians were all detained here.
These Royal Kitchens were constructed in the Lahore Fort during the Mughal Period, close to the Temple of Lava. Lava is credited with founding both Lahore city and Lahore Fort in Hindu mythology. The Royal Kitchens served as a jail as well. In 1988 AD, that political prison was finally shut down forever. Currently, under construction, these Royal Kitchens may someday be transformed into a restaurant.