If there’s one city in South Asia that has played a major role in preserving Pakistan’s Mughal and colonial history, it’s Lahore. The provincial capital of Punjab is home to a large number of architectural masterpieces from the two eras. However, if we have to further narrow down where the core of the city’s glorious past lies, the Walled City of Lahore is the only right answer. Locally known as Androon-e-Shehr (the Inner City), this area is a virtual museum of bygone days. That’s why it’s also known as the Old City.
Established in 1000 AD, the Walled City laid the foundation of modern Lahore. It all started with the fortification of the city by mud wall during the medieval period. It was only after becoming the capital of the Mughal Empire of South Asia, the Walled City of Lahore gained the status of a political hub. This lead to the construction of Lahore Fort and the city’s new nine-metre high brick wall.
During the Mughal rule, a majority of people started living outside the city’s walls in the suburbs, which is why only nine of the thirty-six urban quarters in total were located within the Lahore’s Wall City.
Gates of the Walled City of Lahore
Originally, the Walled City had thirteen entrances marked with majestic gates. Delhi Gate, Bhati Gate, Sheran wala Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Lohari Gate and Mori Gate exist till now, in fact, they had been reconstructed during the British era. Only Roshnai Gate stands in its original form to this day. On the other hand, the traces of the remaining gates like Texali Gate, Masti Gate, Mochi Gate and Akbari gate ceased to exist.
Tourist Attractions of the Walled City of Lahore
Recognized as the heart of cultural heritage of Lahore, the Walled City is home to many tourist attractions, some of which are listed below:
- Lahore Fort
- Shalimar Garden
- Badshahi Masjid
- Wazir Khan Masjid
- The Tomb of Jahangir
Let’s learn more about these tourist attractions.
Known as one of the most magnificent historical attractions in Lahore, Lahore Fort or Shahi Qilla is located on the northern side of the Walled City. The fort is home to over twenty historical monuments. Alamgiri Gate is the only entrance of the fort opened to the public. The gate is a gigantic arched structure with intricate carvings. Despite the fact that the structure of Lahore fort has deteriorated with time, it still looks as magnificent as it would have looked centuries ago.
Some of the key attractions of Lahore Fort include Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khaas and Summer Palace, which has now been restored and used as Lahore Fort’s museum, displaying different antiques from the Mughal era.
Address: Fort Rd, Walled City, Lahore
Entry Fee: PKR 20 + PKR 100 for visiting Sheesh Mahal
Timings: 8:30 am – 5pm
Shalimar Gardens are among the best places to visit in Lahore. The place is also one of the key highlights of the Walled City. Spanning over 80 acres, Shalimar Gardens are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. The gardens are a masterpiece of the Mughal architecture with fountains, fretwork on brick walls and the perfect balance of trees on both sides of the water. Farah Baksh, Faiz Baksh and Hayat Baksh are the three famous terraces in Shalimar Gardens, which are often spelt as Shalamar Gardens.
Address: Shalamar Chowk, G. T. Road, Shalamar Town, Lahore
Entry Fee: PKR 10
Timings: 8 am – 6 pm
Another widely popular historic site within the Walled City of Lahore is Badshahi Masjid. This mosque was constructed during the rule of Mughal Emperor Aurangzaib and was completed in 1674. With an expansive courtyard, enough to house thousands of worshippers, it is counted among the largest and most beautiful mosques in Pakistan.
Built with red sandstone, Badshahi Masjid is a beautiful remnant of the Mughal era. The majestic structure of the mosque features four minarets, each of which is sixty metres tall. Badshahi Masjid is also famous for having the tomb of Allama Iqbal, the “Spiritual Father of Pakistan” and “Poet of the East.”
Entry Fee: PKR 40
Timing: 8am – 8pm
Address: Opposite to Lahore Fort’s Alamgiri Gate on Ford Road, Walled City, Lahore
Wazir Khan Masjid
One of the most famous religious places to visit in Lahore is Wazir Khan Masjid. Part of the Walled City Lahore, this mosque boasts worth-seeing Mughal architecture, the completion of which took almost seven years and it was inaugurated in 1634. The impressive Persian tile work in Wazir Khan Masjid significantly adds to the beauty of this antique structure and continue to amaze tourists. The interior of the place is as beautiful as its exterior and entrance.
Timing: 8am – 8pm
Address: Shahi Guzargah, Dabbi Bazar, Walled City of Lahore
The Tomb of Jahangir
Constructed in the 17th century, the tomb of Emperor Jahangir is located in Shahdara Bagh in the northwest of the Walled City Lahore. His son, Emperor Shah Jahan, ordered and funded the creation of this tomb, which was actually designed by Nur Jahan, Jahangir’s most beloved wife. She designed a similar style tomb for herself and was also buried in Shahdara Bagh after her death.
Red sandstone is the material used in the construction of Jahangir’s tomb The structure is decorated with beautifully-patterned motifs of white marble and is recognised among the most popular historical attractions in Lahore.
Ticket Price: PKR 20
Address: Tomb, Circular Walk, Shahdara Town, Shahdara, Lahore
Nearby Markets and Restaurants
The ancient Walled City of Lahore has the ability to transport you back in time. The old alleys and traditional bazaars in the area are always bustling with mobs of locals and tourists. Some of the popular markets in the area include Kesara Bazaar, Waan Bazaar, Akbari Bazaar, Sarafa Bazar and Gumti Bazaar. All these markets widely deal in goods like antique utensils, decorative items made of copper, gold jewellery, khussas, hand-crafted kolhapuri chappals, and colourful traditional clothes for women.
Two of the most famous historic food streets in Lahore are found in the Walled City Lahore: Fort Road Food Street and Gawalmandi Food Street. Both of these food streets serve you a tantalising variety of traditional as well as continental delicacies. The surroundings of these food streets are exotically antique and vibrant. Gawalmandi Food Street is famous for its Haleem, Nehari, Paye, Gol Gappay, Tikka and Chargha, all of which is prepared on roadside food stalls and dhabbas.
However, Fort Road Food Street is exactly the opposite as it based on the newly renovated age-old structures having high-end restaurants serving Chinese, Italian and Continental cuisines. The names of a few widely popular restaurants at Fort Road Food Street are Andaaz Restaurant, Haveli Restaurant, Cooco’s Den and Riwaj Restaurant.
Hotels Near the Walled City of Lahore
We know it is hard to stay indoors, especially when you are touring Lahore as the city has so much to offer. Nevertheless, you will still need a place for resting and stacking away your luggage. Well, while finding a suitable hotel to stay, you will come across many options in proximity to the Walled City of Lahore. With room charges starting around PKR 6000, some of the best hotels in the area include Faletti’s Hotel, Hotel One DownTown Lahore, Ambassador Hotel, Carlton Hotel, Pearl Continental Hotel and Avari Hotel Lahore.
Available Modes of Transportation to get to the Walled City
Below are the available modes of transportation in Lahore that will help you reach the Walled City.
Metro/Feeder Buses: Azadi Chowk Metro Bus Station is the nearest metro bus station to the Walled City. A single journey of Metro Bus would cost you around PKR 15. Similarly, the nearest bus stop of a Feeder Bus is located near Bhatti Chowk, the single trip of which could cost you PKR 15.
Auto Rickshaws/Taxis: Travelling in private taxis and auto rickshaws is another option that you can use to get to the Walled City. For example, if you are travelling from the Mall to the Walled City Lahore in a rickshaw or a taxi, then a single sided trip may cost you around PKR 200 to PKR 400
The Walled City is hands down one of the most fascinating places to visit in Lahore. However, if you do end up visiting, don’t forget to check out some of the city’s most famous parks. You will thank us.
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