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If you want to visit the core fortified area of Lahore city then why not to opt for Lahore Fort or locally known as Shahi-Qila or Royal Fort—positioned in the north-west corner of the walled city of Lahore in Iqbal Park. This piece of Mughal architecture shows the glory, aesthetics and richness of Mughlai kingship—a place today for many local and foreign tourists, filmmakers, photographers, citizen journalists, archaeologists and historians who consider this fort an eastern symbol and journey to Lahore remains unfulfilled without accomplishing the adventure.
To turn the bookish knowledge of the stories related to the history of Indian Sub-continent Muslim kings, their life styles and quests –Lahore Fort is a living imagery.
Lahore had remained the center of Mughal emperors and attained brilliance during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jalal Uddin Muhammad Akbar (1556-1605 A.D) who was fond of uniqueness in architecture. The folk lore of Antalkali and Prince Saleem is also famous which make it a visitor appeal for romance. The Mughal Emperor Dom then shifted to Shahjehan (1658 AD) to his son Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658-1707 AD).
The fort has two gates: Alamgiri and Shahburj – former being the entrance. Maseeti gate that opens towards Badshahi Mosque is now closed. Lahore Fort is also in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
The fort is as beautiful from outside as it is from inside—Sheesh Mehal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha Pavilion and Moti Masjid constitute its interior.
The early history of today’s Lahore Fort is not without controversy and is with constant destruction , rebuilding and construction. In Hindu Mythology, its foundations are credited to Loh—the son of lord Rama. It is also reported that in the eleventh century, Mahmood of Ghazni destroyed the weak mud fort. Another view is that in 1240 it was demolished by Mongols and after the fifty years of this devastation a new fort replaced by Balban of Mamluk dynasty. Forces of Timur destroyed it in 1399. After twenty years from here, It was reconstructed again by Sultan Mubarak Shah Syed. However, the current design and architecture traces its orings to Mughals.
The structure of the Fort is influenced from Persian Gardens and is bisected into administrative section and private/concealed residential section. The former includes gardens, and Diwan-e-Khas (Residence for Royal Audiences) and the latter encompasses elephant gate, Sheesh Mehal, spacious bedrooms and small gardens. The peripheral of walls is decorated with Persian Kashi Tiles. The Sikh ruler destroyed the Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Commons).
A major scene of Indian movie—Mughal-e-Azam (Grand Mugal) was taken in the set of Sheesh Mehal. The ceilings and walls of this mehal are decorated with mirrors (sheesh). This is considered most favourite Tourist Destination of Pakistan
The place in short is of historical significance and takes us to the pages of history. That will not be a bad idea to take a book with you on the history of Lahore Fort by Narayan, J. (1959) with the title Inside Lahore Fort.
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