Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan, this historic city has been the capital of Punjab province for over a thousand years. It has been the regional capital of numerous empires from the Hindu Shahi Kingdom of the 11th century to the end of British Raj in 1947. With a population of 10,052,000 people, Lahore is the 15th most populous city in the world.
Lahore has also been the cultural centre of the northern Indian subcontinent and now it is the cultural heart of Pakistan. Lahore is divided in two parts, the inner city and the modern city which expanded with the passage of time.
Here is a list of the must visit places and things to do in Lahore.
The origins of the Lahore fort are unclear but its current design was given by the Mughal emperor Akbar between 1556 and 1605. Subsequent Mughal emperors upgraded the fort, sikhs got hold of the fort in after the mughal rule and then the British took control. The fort has two main entrances, one was built emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and it is called Alamgiri gate and another built by Akbar is called Maseeti gate and is permanently closed.
The fort was declared a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and it is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture. The fort houses quite a few famous sites like the Naulakha Pavilion, Moti Masjid and Sheesh Mahal. The fort is spread across 20 acres of land.
Aurangzeb Alamgir the sixth Mughal emperor ordered the construction of Badshahi mosque between 1671 and 1673. It is the seventh largest mosque in the world but at the time of its construction it was the largest mosque in the world. Badshahi mosque is also the most popular place for eid prayers. The actual name of the mosque is “Masjid Abul Zafar Muhy-ud-Din Mohammad Alamgir Badshah Ghazi”
Another great example of Mughal architecture, the Badshahi mosque covers an area of 276,000 square feet and has the capacity for 100,000 people. The design of the mosque was inspired from the Jamia Masjid built by Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb’s father.
Lahore is known for its local cuisine and traditional foods like nihari, siri pai, taka tak, fish and a huge variety of other options, the city also offers authentic and tasty foreign cuisine too. Cosa Nostra is a great example and anyone in the mood of having authentic Italian cuisine should give it a try.
Located in Gulberg Cosa Nostra consists of three parts, one is La pizzeria the other is Cosa Nostra which provides a fine dining experience, and finally La Grille,which serves grilled Italian food on the rooftop. You may get the impression that this is an expensive restaurant but the rates are quite reasonable.
The Lahore Museum
The Lahore museum was built in 1865 and at that time it was located at the site of 1864 Punjab Exhibition building, later it was transferred to its current location on The Mall, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The famous architect and public figure Sir Gnaga Ram has designed the building and Rudyard Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling was among the earliest curators.
The museum’s collection largely consists of specimens from Mughal era, it has a large collection of paintings and musical instruments. The museum also contains important specimens of the Indus civilisation and Gandhara art. The famous Pakistani artist has painted a mural on the ceiling of the entrance hall.
Data Darbar Complex
Data Durbar is the shrine of famous Sufi saint, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, commonly known as “Data Gunj Baksh”, according to records he lived here in the 11th century which makes it one of the oldest Muslim shrines in South Asia.
The Date Durbar is located inside the walled city near Bhatti gate, the shrine has been constantly upgraded and expanded several times. Ghaznavid king Sultan Zakiruddin Ibrahim built the shrine in the late eleventh century. The Darbar has been serving free lunches to thousands of people on daily basis and it is frequented by prominent political leaders and celebrities.
Tomb of Jahangir
Located in Shahdara Bagh, Lahore the Tomb of Jahangir is a mausoleum that houses the grave of the fourth Mughal Emperor “Mirza Nur-ud-Din Baig Mohammad Khan Salim” also known as Jahangir. He ruled over India from 1605 to 1627.
The museum is a single floor building, elegant mosaic representing quranic verses and flowers are adorned on the corridor around the mausoleum. Contemporary historians say that it was built by emperor Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s son but in actuality it was built his wife Nur Jahan.
The Shalimar Gardens were built from 1637 to 1641 under the supervision of a noble of Shah Jahan’s court, Khalilullah Khan and two others namely Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni and Ali Mardan Khan. Shalimar Garden is located on the Grand Trunk Road near Baghbanpura 5 kilometers northeast of the main city of Lahore.
Shalimar Gardens has 410 fountains, there are 105 fountains on the upper level terrace, 152 fountains on middle level terrace and 153 fountains at the lower level terrace. There are numerous species of trees including almond, peach, apricot, poplar, mango and many others.
Wagah Border Ceremony
This flag lowering ceremony takes place daily at wagah border and both Pakistan Rangers and Border Security Force of India have been following this military practice since 1959. This daily routine is very symbolic and representative of the rivalry between Pakistan and India.
The ceremony starts at sunset with one infantryman standing at each side of the gate, the iron gates are opened the infantrymen perform aggressive salutes and then lower the flags with perfect coordination with each other. At the end of the ceremony the infantrymen have a quick handshake and the gates are closed.
Food Street Gawalmandi
Lahore is famous for its local cuisine and Food Street in Gawalmandi is the perfect place as it has different types of cuisines present in a single location. The open air atmosphere gives a remarkable dietary experience especially in good weather.
Some of the most famous restaurants include Fort View Restaurant & Hotel, Cuckoo’s Den, Rivaj, Andaz restaurant and many more.