Lahore is considered as the heart of Pakistan with its very special atmosphere, its bustling streets and its colourful bazaars combined with an amazing mix of British culture and Moghal heritage. The city, also known as “the Pearl of Punjab” or “the Queen City”, is home to many a Pakistani artists and intellectuals. It hosts some of the most important historical monuments of the Indian sub-continent, but is also famous at a regional level for its succulent food restaurants. The local cuisine, from mild to spicy, suits all tastes. Lahorites appreciate late outings a lot, whether it consists in eating in a restaurant, enjoying a show at theatre or watching a film at cinema.
The city of Lahore was developed by the Moghal Emperor Shah Jahan on the similar lines as the city of Agra in India. The architectural resemblance of some monuments is indeed incredible and some would be tempted to say that the Mosque and the Fort of Agra are the copies of Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort, and vice versa. If we take a look from a bird’s eye view on both Lahore and Agra Forts, we will notice that both are facing each other. So it was not without reason that one of Agra Fort’s gates facing Lahore was named as "Lahore Gate" and the one facing Agra at Lahore Fort was named "Agra Gate". The Shalimar Garden is another example of "art de vivre" of Moghals with its absolutely calm, peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. Since 1981, the Lahore Fort and Shalimar garden are even inscribed on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. The mausoleums of Jehangir and Nur Jehan, Wazir Khan Mosque, Hiran Minar and Lahore Chauburji are also must-see places.
Later in the history, the Indian sub continent was governed by the British Empire and one can see the imprints of this colonial period on structures such as Punjab University, Railway station, Aitchison College, King Edwards Medical College, High Court building, Lahore Museum, the General Post Office...etc. If the Moghals contributed in its architectural glory, the British had their share for its cultural and intellectual expansion.
Today, Lahore is the fifth largest city in South Asia, the second biggest city of Pakistan and one of its Mega poles with a population superior to 10 millions of inhabitants. This important demographic hike has brought changes as well. The old and congested part of Lahore remains as it is whereas the new areas that have been built in its periphery are planned on modern lines with large roads and avenues, office buildings, parks and other recreational areas. Lahore is one of Pakistan’s most accessible cities and the only city in the country where one can find public and private transportation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This includes public buses, as well as thousands of rickshaws and taxis.
On the whole, it’s not a mere coincidence if one of the many nicknames given to Lahore is “the City of Lively People”. A promenade through its old bazaars like Anarkali or its jewellers market Sarafa bazaar will make you understand why and will bring you back to the charm of the era gone by. This wonderful city still holds surprises for you!
Lahore features a hot semi-arid climate with long and extremely hot summers, dry and relatively mild winters, a monsoon and dust storms. The weather of the city is extreme during the months of May, June and July, when the temperatures soar to 40-48 °C. From late June till August, the monsoon seasons starts, with heavy rainfall throughout the province. For your information, here below are the average temperatures per month in Lahore:
Lahore - Attractions
Lahore , the provincial capital of Panjab, is a tourists' heaven. Being the cultural nucleus of Pakistan , it offers visitors and locals alike, a rare treat of architectural splendour, magnificent museums, stunning gardens and colourful festivals. Over the years thousands of tourists have come to Pakistan to witness a multitude of unparalleled attractions.
According to legends, Lahore was founded by the son of Lord Rama almost 4000 years ago. From the 16 th to the 18 th century, the city was part of the Mughal Empire and this period saw Lahore reaching to glorious heights. Most of Lahore attractions were built under the patronage of Mughal rulers.
Royal Fort (Shahi Qila)
Centrepiece of Lahore 's Mughal architecture is the Royal Fort or Shahi Qila. Initially constructed by Mahmood of Ghazna and Akbar, the fort has seen many additions and extensions by every succeeding Mughal Emperor, the Sikhs as well as the British. A highlight of this stunning Lahore attraction is the Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors , featuring a collection of multi-coloured mirrors.
Roshnai Gate Area
Roshnai Gate serves as an entrance to the Walled City. The Badshahi Mosque, one of the world's largest mosques, is located just outside the Northeast corner of the Walled City . Between the mosque and the historic Lahore Fort lies the Hazuri Bagh Garden , featuring a marble pavilion. The Mausoleum of Muhammad Iqbal, the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh and the Shrine of Syed Ali Hajveiri (ra), renowned as Data Ganj Bukhsh, are all located in the garden.
Masti Gate Area
The Masti Gate entrance is situated behind the Lahore Fort and this area is predominantly occupied by shoe vendors. Going further down the street, one comes across one of the city's oldest mosques, the Mosque of Mariyam Zamani, named after the mother of Jahangir.
Bhati Gate Area
Entrance of the Bhati Gate is located on the western wall of the Old City and inside the gate is a popular area for dining in Lahore . The Data Durbar, the mausoleum of the Sufi saint Ali Hajweri (also known as Data Sahib Ganjbaksh) is situated just outside the Bhati Gate and people visiting here on Thursday evenings can witness the performances of Qawwali music.
The Lohari Gate
The Lohari Gate, another work of great architecture in Lahore , is located close to Bhati Gate. It is surrounded by shops. In urdu 'loha' means iron and the gate gets its name because of the blacksmiths (Lohars) who lived outside the gates and had their workshops here.
Delhi Gate Area
Delhi Gate is an entrance on the eastern wall of the Walled City . The Shahi Hammam or 'Royal Baths' are located inside the gate on the left hand side. Further down is the beautiful Wazir Khan Mosque, named after a viceroy of Punjab during the reign of Shah Jahan. The Sonehri Masjid is also located close by.
Located on Mall Road in Lahore , Anarkali is one of the oldest bazaars on the Indian subcontinent. Legend says that when the Mughal Prince Saleem fell in love Anarkali, she was buried alive inside one of the walls of the bazaar, on the command of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Gawal Mandi is home to the Food Street - the centre of authentic Pakistani cuisine. Surrounded by ancient buildings of Kashmiri-Persian architecture and several bazaars, the Food Street is a not-to-be-missed Lahore attraction. Visitors come here to enjoy the delicious Lahore cuisine and linger till late in the night, enjoying the lively atmosphere.
Tomb of Shah Jamal
The tomb of Sufi Saint Baba Shah Jamal is located in Ichhrah, Lahore . The famous Pappu Sain performs at the shrine every Thursday evening. Pappu Sain is a master dhol (Indian drum) player in Pakistan , who has performed in Germany , Switzerland , Britain , and throughout the Muslim world.
The Mausoleum of Bibi Pak Daman
The Bibi Pak Daman mausoleum houses the graves of five ladies from Prophet Muhammad's household (Ahlulbayt).
Parks and Gardens
The Shalimar Gardens , located just five kilometres east of old city, is one of the most popular Lahore attractions. A breathtaking work of art by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, the garden's exquisite landscape is enclosed within high walls with watchtowers in the corners. The Golden Mosque is situated in the Kashmiri Bazaar inside the garden.