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Faisalabad, formerly known as Lyallpur, is one of the most populous cities in Pakistan. It is a city that is famously known for its textile industries, high-quality cotton products, sports industries, traditional cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Under British Rule, Lyallpur became the third properly-planned city. For different people, this city is important for different reasons. For some it is the theatre, for others it is food. But what is almost always mutually significant between people, is Faislabad’s Ghanta Ghar, Urdu for the clock tower, which forms the nexus around which the entire city life rotates. There is a famous saying that relates to how if you start walking away from Clock Tower, you’ll end up back at the Clock Tower. In this blog, we will explore how Faislabad revolves around this Ghanta Ghar and synergizes the city.
Location of Ghanta Ghar In Faisalabad
In 1904, the district of Lyallpur was created with the inclusion of Samundri and Toba Tek Singh districts. A year prior to this in 1903, the foundation for Ghanta Ghar was laid down by British Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, Sir Charles Rivaz and Mian family of Abdullahpur. The inscription at the bottom of the clock tower reads that the building was laid in loving memory of Queen Victoria by the loyal inhabitants of Chenab Colony.
Ghanta Ghar is the center of old city Faisalabad. It boasts quintessential British and Mughal architecture and presents a harmonious picture of old and new, coexisting peacefully. As the old city was planned on the pattern of Union Jack, the tower is embedded within a square, which is bordered by four main roads: Circular Road, Kotwali Road, Regal Road and Sargodha Road. These four roads are the main exit points from the Clock Tower and its surrounding bazars.
The city was planned on the pattern of the Union Jack — the national flag of the United Kingdom. Around eight bazaars (marketplaces) surround the clock tower and each is named after the directions it leads towards. These markets are:
- Kutchery Bazaar
- Chiniot Bazaar
- Aminpur Bazaar
- Bhowana Bazaar
- Jhang Bazaar
- Montgomery Bazaar
- Karkhana Bazaar
- Rail Bazaar
All of these bazaars have been designed in such a way that the clock tower can be seen from everywhere. This means that the clock tower remains the highest building till today, and is the focal point for all commercial activities of the city. Products are brought to these bazaars for sale and purchase on a daily basis, and each bazaar offers a separate type of product.
As Faisalabad is primarily known for its fabric, the Wholesale Cloth Market or Makkah Center is one of the most sought-out marketplaces. It is said that no person can completely take a tour of the market in a single day. Here, you’ll find everything related to textiles—bedding materials, loose fabric for both men and women, woolen fabrics, carpets, stitched clothes for men, women, and children, and much more. This is primarily the market that traders visit for buying textile products as this is the city’s main supplier. For visitors, this market serves as the best place for securing bargains, especially if you buy in bulk.
Much like Lahore, Faisalabad also has an Anarkali Market, a market that serves all interests of women and girls. Here you’ll find fancy clothes as well as lose fabric, shoes, bags, traditional accessories, decoration pieces and much more. Walk down the narrow streets and you’ll get to experience delicious food, traditional jewelry, and clothes the likes of which you would have never seen before. If you want to explore the city’s traditions and art, the old Anarkali Market is the place for you.
This Clock Tower is therefore the focal point for all commercial activities in Faisalabad, and remains so till today. Much of the city’s history is also linked to the Clock Tower as well.
Historical Significance Of Ghanta Ghar In Faisalabad
Ghanta Ghar is widely believed to be the only clock tower in the city. However, most people do not know that Faisalabad’s first clock tower had been built by the British in the vicinity of the Irrigation Department office, and served various purposes; first, the clock, installed on the tower used to ring every hour to update the people of the area about the time; secondly, the tower had an arrow at its top to direct passersby towards the city. The British also used the bell to gather the people of the area either to collect taxes from them or to communicate any important message. On top of the tower, a rain meter was also subsequently installed to measure the amount of rainfall.
After the first clock tower, railway and power lines were also laid out. Gumti and Qaisari Darwaza were the first two monuments that were built by the locals mainly to honour Queen Victoria on her birthday, to which the Muslims protested as they felt isolated for not having a monument that represented them in honoring Queen Victoria. The British administration then along with Muslims and other religious minorities built a second Clock Tower (present day Ghanta Ghar) that carries four different inscriptions on the bottom representing the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and Christian communities.
As a result of this equal representation, and its unique design, the Ghanta Ghar has emerged as the center of the city and its various activities. For instance, during the election season, each of the political parties tries to hold a rally at this spot. The same is the case with protest demonstrations. The rallies and processions of varying religious groups are also held here. In addition, the mayor of Faisalabad delivers his speech and uses the platform to inform the residents about anything important.
Popular Restaurants Near Ghanta Ghar
Whenever we talk about a city’s culture, we aim to also explore its flavours through food. In Faisalabad too, you’ll find a number of places that have kept the city’s flavours intact. Of all these, we have picked the top three places near Ghanta Ghar that you should definitely visit:
- Ludhiana Foods
This is a name synonymous with good-quality fish. This is located in Kutchery Bazaar and offers bbq fish that draws in crowds of people each night.
- Food Center Restaurant
Located in Jhang Bazaar, this restaurant is known for its mutton karahi, and other delicacies that are prepared with mutton. This place is especially for those who love meat.
- Nehari House
Here you’ll find all varieties of traditional nihari, which is a stew made by slow cooking meat. This place is considered to be on the outskirts of Ghanta Ghar as it is located Jhang Road, Nashtarabad.
- Al Mashur Halwa Puri
If you are looking for scrumptious traditional nashta, head on over to Al Mashur Halwa Puri at Aminpur Bazaar. This is the place for adequately-spiced traditional breakfast.
Faisalabad’s Ghanta Ghar is especially famous for its fish cuisines. The best fish places in Faisalabad are:
- Al Jannat Fried Fish, opposite Chatri wali ground
- Jalandhar Fish Shop & Fish BBQ in Bhawana Bazaar
- Huzaifa Kasuri Fish on Susan Road
Now that we have covered the arts and food, let’s look at the best places you should visit in Faisalabad.
Other Famous Places Near Ghanta Ghar
There are a number of historical places in Faisalabad that you can visit whenever you visit the city. These places are:
Lyallpur Museum Faisalabad
This museum was completed in 2013 and carries within its walls the history and culture of the city. There are about 10 galleries inside the museum:
- Orientation Gallery
- Regional Heritage Archaeological Gallery
- Chenab Colony Gallery
- Sandal Bar Gallery
- Thought and Act Gallery
- Pakistan Movement Gallery
- Social Beauty Gallery
- Muslim to Sikh Period Gallery
- Textile Gallery
- Lyallpur Gallery
This is the place where Sir Charles James Lyall was laid to rest, however, it gets its name from the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
One of the top cricket stadiums in Pakistan, Iqbal Stadium has hosted 25 test matches and 14 One Day Internationals (ODIs), as it carries a capacity of 18,000. Previously, it was named Lyallpur Stadium, National Stadium, and City Stadium. Presently, it has been named after Pakistan’s national poet, Allama Iqbal.
Moreover, Faisalabad presents a number of investment opportunities as well. If you are looking to diversify your investment portfolio, check out this list of Zameen.com-approved projects:
- Mall of Faisalabad
- Prime City
- Officers Colony No.1
- Mannan Town
- Khayaban Housing
- Mid City
- Royal City Sargodha
- Canal View Housing Scheme
- Lyallpur Commercial Market
- Model City Executive Block
Faisalabad’s Ghanta Ghar is a topic of much debate, and the centerpiece of many analogies. Some people have equated the Ghanta Ghar and its eight bazaars, mainly due to the way they were designed, with military force or a dictator, meaning that the tower remains central to all operations. They argue that military dictators concentrate powers in their hands and remain the central like the Ghanta Ghar.
If you are looking to explore Faisalabad, follow this travel guide. For any queries or feedback, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, keep checking Pakistan’s largest property blog, Zameen Blog, for all the latest news from Pakistan.