The city of Lahore is a beautiful metropolis. Lush green gardens, bustling food streets, neighbourhoods full of life and especially the magnificent Mughal architecture can be spotted all across the city. One of the most important remains of the era is Lahore Fort, popularly known as the Shahi Qila.
Highlights of Lahore Fort
Boasting a spellbinding architecture, Lahore Fort is also counted among the five most popular historical forts in Pakistan. The place wasn’t as quiet and as peaceful as it looks today, in fact, it was one of the busiest buildings in the region as it was home to the royal emperors of the Mughal reign. Let’s explore more about this fascinating historical place in Lahore.
- Layout and Architecture
- Tourist Attractions
The actual origin of Lahore Fort is unknown, shrouded in various traditional myths. After a siege and battle that lasted for a long time, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered the city of Lahore and rebuilt it. Made with mud, Lahore Fort was one of the constructions of the time.
The fort was destroyed and rebuilt several times in history, the origin of the present structure of Shahi Qila can be traced back to the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, who occupied this site for its important location for guarding the empire’s northwest frontier.
The fort also remained under the occupation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh for about 40 years (1799-1839 AD) during which an additional fortification wall was added to the fort. The history of Lahore fort is a living testimony of the rise and fall of many Mughals, Sikhs and colonial rulers.
Layout and Architecture
Shahi Qila is one of the historical places to visit in Lahore with a stunning architecture that allows visitors to live its history. There are two main divisions in the fort: one is the administrative section and the other is residential division.
The administrative section is connected with the main entrance that includes courtyards and gardens to greet the royal audiences. On the other hand, the residential division featured concealed chambers and courts for privacy that can be accessed from the elephant gate.
The captivating art of the fort building is an incredible blend of the Islamic and Hindu architecture. The structures and the scriptures engraved on the walls speak volumes about the diversity of the history of Lahore Fort.
Keeping in view its immense historical importance, the government of Pakistan nominated Shalimar Gardens and Lahore Fort to be officially recognized as a landmark historical site of the country. The efforts of the Pakistani government resulted in the addition of both of these sites in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites situated in Pakistan.
Owing to the deteriorating condition of the overall Lahore Fort structure, the government of Pakistan sent out a distress message to the UNESCO in 2000. As a result of this move of the state of Pakistan, international support jumped in and backed the government of Punjab financially for the restoration of Lahore Fort as well as Shalimar Gardens.
The whole restoration process was collaboratively funded by countries like Hong Kong, Norway, the United Kingdom and France. After years of the restoration work, Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens were removed from the list of endangered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There are many worth-visiting Mughal era remains in Lahore. However, Lahore Fort in particular is a site where you get to see multiple historical structures at one place.
Spreading over an area greater than twenty hectares, the fortress has tourist attractions like Naulakha Pavilion, Picture Wall, Khawab Gah (Sleeping Chamber of Shah Jahan), Pari Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Masjid, Akbari Gate, Alamgiri Gate and Naag Temple.
The two most famous historical places to visit in Lahore Fort are Sheesh Mahal and Alamgiri gate. Sheesh Mahal is the palace of mirror that has a complex mirror work locally known as Ayina Kari.
There is a separate fee for entering Sheesh Mahal as it is among the most popular monuments of Lahore Fort. On the other hand, Alamgiri Gate – the only entrance that allows public to get into Lahore Fort – is also one of Lahore’s most iconic monuments, which was once featured on Pakistani currency.
Within Shahi Qila, there are three small museums that showcase the weapons, armoury and other important tools used by people who lived at the time of Mughal era. One of these museums also feature the actual horse of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh that has been stuffed and preserved for as a visitors’ attraction.
Lots of history, amazing architecture, Lahore Fort is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit with family in the city of Lahore. Below are the details about timing, entry fee and things to do near Shahi Qila Lahore.
Lahore Fort Timings: 8:30am–5pm (seven days a week)
Entry Fee: PKR 20 for entering the fort + PKR 100 for visiting Sheesh Mahal
Note: An additional amount of PKR 150 can be paid to hire a tour guide for Lahore Fort
Things to Do Near Lahore Fort:
- Visit Shalimar Gardens and Badshahi Masjid
- Explore the old alleys of Walled City, Lahore
- Enjoy food at nearby eateries such as Fort View Hotel & Restaurant, Riwaj Restaurant, Arif Chatkhara House and Haveli Restaurant
Shahi Qila is located in the north-western part of Lahore. It is the main attraction of the Walled City. People coming from Circular Road can make use of Fort Road to get to this famous historical place of Lahore. The Greater Iqbal Park, which is home to the Minar-i-Pakistan – the most famous national monument of the country – is also at a walking distance from Lahore Fort.
However, if you have plans to move near to all these Mughal era remains, then you can search through properties available for sale in the Walled City Lahore to find a residential unit suiting your requirements. Living a life surrounded by these majestic historical structures has its own charm.
If you want to know more about this beautiful city and explore if further, we have another piece that talks about the most famous tourist attractions in Lahore. If you want to read more about tourism and travel, subscribe to Zameen Blog – Pakistan’s best travel and lifestyle blog.