Historic Sites

The historic sites famous in Lahore are enlisted as below:
 
     

Lahore Fort

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Built, damaged, demolished, rebuilt and restored several times before being given its current form by Emperor Akbar in 1566 (when he made Lahore his capital), the Lahore Fort is the star attraction of the Old City. The fort was modified by Jehangir in 1618 and later damaged by the Sikhs and the British, although it has now been partially restored. Within it is a succession of stately palaces, halls and gardens built by Mughal emperors Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, comparable to and contemporary with the other great Mughal forts at Delhi and Agra in India. The view from here over the rest of the fort and Badshahi Mosque is rewarding. There are three small museums on site (photography prohibited) exhibiting various arms including pistols, swords, daggers, spears and arrows; houses rare oil paintings; and old manuscripts, calligraphy, coins and miniature paintings, as well as an ivory miniature model of India's Taj Mahal. For better understanding of its history, a guide can be hired for Rs 150.  

Minar-e-Pakistan

 

Soaring into the sky in Iqbal Park, the 60m high Minar-i-Pakistan was built in 1960. It commemorates the signing of the Pakistan Resolution on 23 March 1940 by the All India Muslim League, which paved the way for the founding of Pakistan.

Marble tablets around the base record the text of the resolution, as well as the 99 attributes of Allah, passages from the Quran and works of Allama Iqbal and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the two most important figures of the Pakistani independence movement. A lift and stairs once took visitors to the top of the Minar for the spectacular views of Lahore Fort, however, this was recently closed due to the high rate of suicides. In the late afternoon, Iqbal Park attracts a throng of people who gather here for a stroll or to play cricket, fly kites or just hang out.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall to Iqbal Park costs about PKR 80 - PKR 200.

 

Badshahi Mosque

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Completed in 1674 under Aurangzeb as the Mughals' final architectural fling, the sublime Badshahi Mosque, opposite the main gateway to the Lahore Fort, is one of the world's largest mosques. Replete with huge gateways, four tapering minarets of red sandstone, three vast marble domes and an open courtyard said to hold up to 100,000 people, it was damaged by the British and later restored. The rooms (admission Rs5) above the entrance gate are said to house hairs of the Prophet Mohammed and other relics. The mosque looks lovely when it's illuminated in the evening.

In 1991 the mosque grabbed international headlines when hardline mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) protested at the visit of the late Princess of Wales; her skirt was considered too short and the director of the mosque was criticised for presenting (the then) HRH, a non-Muslim, with a copy of the Quran and allowing her into the sacred precincts while immodestly dressed. The case went to court and ended with the litigant mullahs being ordered to stop wasting the judge's time.
In the courtyard stands the Tomb of Allama Mohammed Iqbal, a modest memorial in red sandstone to the philosopher-poet who in the 1930s first postulated the idea of an independent Pakistan.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall is available in PKR 80 - PKR 200.

 

Wazir Khan Mosque

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At the eastern end of the Old City, 250m inside Delhi Gate, is the deteriorating but beautifully tiled Masjid Wazir Khan. It was founded in the 17th century by Sheikh Ilm-ud-Din Ansari (also known as Wazir Khan), the royal physician and later governor of Punjab during the reign of Shah Jahan. This was once an important centre for training Islamic calligraphers. The small, crumbling mosque has an evocative, deserted feel to it and is worth visiting for this reason alone.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall to Masjid Wazir Khan should cost PKR150 - PKR60.

 

Begum Shah Mosque

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Masti Gate in the north of the Old City leads to the 1614 Begum Shah Mosque, named after Maryam Zamani, the mother of Emperor Jehangir. If you're keen to visit Heera Mandi it's advisable to go in a group as it can sometimes be a bit seedy after dark.  

Sunehri Mosque

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The Sunehri Masjid is a relative latecomer to Lahore's traditional cityscape, having been built in 1753 during the waning years of the Mughal Empire by Nawab Bhikari Khan, son of Raushan-ud-Daula Turrabaz Khan, deputy governor of Lahore during the reign of Muhammad Shah.

 

Jahangir's Tomb

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Standing in a garden on the northern outskirts of Lahore, the elaborately decorated sandstone Jehangir's Tomb is that of Emperor Jehangir. Built in 1637 by Jehangir's son, Shah Jahan, it's believed to have been designed by Jehangir's widow, Nur Jahan. The tomb is made of marble with trellis decorations of pietra dura bearing the 99 attributes of Allah in Arabic calligraphy. These are inside a vaulted chamber, decorated with marble tracery and cornered with four minarets.Outside is a sunken passageway with one tunnel supposedly leading to Shalimar Gardens and another to Hiran Minar - both tunnels are now bricked up.

The entrance to the tomb courtyard lies on the right-hand side of Akbar's Caravanserai, a 180-room resting place for pilgrims, travellers and their animals, built by Shah Jahan at the same time as Jehangir's Tomb. The western gateway leads to the Tomb of Asif Khan. The brother-in-law of Jehangir and father to Mumtaz Mahal (the lady for whom India's Taj Mahal was created), Khan died in 1641.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall to Jehangir's Tomb costs about PKR 350 - PKR 700.

 

Noor Jahan's Tomb

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Just over the railway line from Jehangir's Tomb but not as well preserved is the Tomb of Noor Jahan. After the death of her first husband, an Afghan prince, Noor Jahan was carted off to Delhi, destined for captivity. However, Emperor Jehangir fell in love with her and they married in 1611. He gave her the name Noor Jahan, meaning 'Light of the World', and allowed her to rule alongside him. She died aged 72 in 1645, 18 years after Jehangir, and her tomb was completed in the same year. One story is that, pining for her dead husband, she planned the tomb herself and wrote its mournful epitaph.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall to Tomb of Noor Jahan costs about PKR 350 - PKR700.

 

Shalimar Gardens

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To the northeast of town, about 4km from the main train station, this was one of three gardens named Shalimar Gardens created by Shah Jahan in the 17th century. It's also the only surviving Mughal garden of several built in Lahore. The Shalimar Gardens are now rather rundown and a far cry from their former glory, but they're still popular with locals. Many of the fountains were under renovation at the time of research and operate at particular times.

The walled gardens were laid out in a central tier with two smaller and lower ones to either side, with a pool of corresponding size, in keeping with the mathematical principles of Mughal design. Visitors originally entered at the lowest level and walked up through successive gardens illuminated by hundreds of candles housed in chinikhanas (niches).

To get to the gardens, catch bus 4 from the train station. An autorickshaw from The Mall costs about PKR 250.

 

Bagh-e-Jinnah

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Bagh-e-Jinnah formerly known as Lawrence Garden is a historical park in the city of Lahore. Today, the large green space contains a botanical garden, Masjid Dar-ul-Islam, and Quaid-e-Azam Library situated in a Victorian building.

There are also entertainment and sports facilities within the park: an open-air theatre, a restaurant, tennis courts and the Gymkhana Cricket Ground. It is located on Lawrence Road next to Lahore Zoo, directly across from the Governor's House on The Mall. Originally built as botanical garden modelled on Kew Gardens, it was named after John Lawrence, Viceroy of India from 1864 to 1869. The place used to hold his statue, which was later moved to Foyle and Londonderry College in Northern Ireland. Jinnah Garden is situated on 141 acres (0.57 km2) at this time, earlier it was in 176 acres (0.71 km2), but the land was given to Lahore zoo, botanical garden govt. college university Lahore and to roads alongside the garden. Now it is almost the plant area except roads building is 121 acres (0.49 km2). It is a beautiful and well managed botanical garden in Pakistan. It has almost 150 varieties of trees, 140 types of shrubs, 50 types of creepers, 30 palms, almost 100 succulent and about same indoor along with almost all varieties of annual flowers. The garden has a good name in Chrysanthemum shows, it was the first institute that started growing chrysanthemum and maximum no of varieties for it. It has 3 nurseries, 4 hilloaks in it.

 

Jillani Park (Race Course Park)

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Jillani Park (formerly known as Race Course Park) is located on the Jail. It is famous for its floral exhibitions and artificial waterfall. Annual horse racing competitions are held in this park. Lahore Race Club racecourse was initially at Jail Road, Lahore, the current site of Jillani Park. Race Course Park was inaugurated by Lt General Ghulam Jilani Khan at that time Governor Punjab on 3rd October, 1985.

This park covers 88 acres and 6 canals containing two cricket grounds, 5 canteens, gym and fitness centers, a study hall, a beautiful lake, small open areas, walking and jogging tracks and a lot of trees, flowers and shrubs.

 

Lahore Museum

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Try to set aside a couple of hours to make the most of a visit to the superb Lahore Museum, which has exhibits spanning the recorded history of the subcontinent. Part of the collection was removed to India after Partition but this is still the biggest and perhaps most impressive museum in Pakistan.

The museum has almost 20 galleries with items dating from the Stone Age to the 20th century. It's particularly famous for its display of Gandharan sculpture (especially the haunting Fasting Buddha), manuscripts, Qurans, its sensational array of miniature paintings, carpets, various pieces of art from the Islamic period, articles from Moenjodaro, Harappa and other Indus Valley civilisation sites and its magnificent collection of coins from the Achaemenian period onwards. Kim's Bookshop, in the museum compound, stocks an interesting collection of novels and general-interest books.

The Lahore Museum is on The Mall

 

Chughtai Museum

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Originally intended to be temporary but open since 1975, the year Muhammad Abdur Rahman Chughtai died, the Chughtai Museum is just northwest of the intersection of Ferozpur Rd and Gulberg Main Blvd. Recognised as Pakistan's greatest painter and credited with a single-handed renaissance in Islamic art here, Chughtai (1897-1975) produced almost 2000 watercolours, thousands of pencil sketches and nearly 300 etchings and aquatints. He also designed many of Pakistan's stamps and coins.

It's possible to see works of Chughtai that are not in the exhibition if you contact the director, Mr Arif Rahman Chughtai (5850733) in advance. It's also probably a good idea to phone just ahead of your visit to make sure someone is there.

 

Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri

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Author of a famous book on mysticism, the 11th-century Data Ganj Bakhsh, originally from Ghazni in Afghanistan, was one of the most successful Sufi preachers on the subcontinent and is today one of the most notable Sufi saints in Pakistan. The Shrine of Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri is located west of Bhatti Gate, just outside the Old City.

Born Abdul Hasan Ali, he was known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (the Bestower of Treasures) because of his generosity towards the less privileged. A hospital and several institutions for the needy have been added near the shrine over the years. Hordes of devotees gather here on Thursday afternoons to listen to the excellent qawwali. The urs (death anniversary) of Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri is held at this shrine on 18-20 Safar (March/April) and is attended by tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of pilgrims.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall to Lahore Fort should cost about Rs80/Rs150.

 

Samadhi of Raja Ranjit Singh

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Outside of the Lahore Fort, the Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh commemorates the founder of the short-lived Sikh empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The ashes of the maharaja lie in a lotus-shaped urn inside a small brick pavilion. In the same compound is the Gurdwara of Arjan Dev. Men and women must cover their heads and remove their shoes. Tobacco is strictly prohibited.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall costs around PKR80 - PKR200.

 

Gurdwara of Arjan Dev

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The Gurdwara of Arjan Dev is dedicated to Sikhism's fifth guru. Created by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, this is Lahore's largest gurdwara (Sikh temple) and is an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs. Non-Sikhs are not permitted entry to certain areas. Men and women must cover their heads and remove their shoes. Tobacco is strictly prohibited.

An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall costs around PKR80 - PKR200.

 

Lahore Zoo

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Near Bagh-i-Jinnah, behind a large gateway adorned with a colourful animal mural, Lahore Zoo is one of the oldest zoos on the subcontinent. It was founded in 1872 and includes a variety of bird species along with lions, elephants, monkeys, leopards, giraffes, tigers and more. The gardens themselves are of almost as much interest as the animals and contain a wide range of plants and trees, some believed to date back to the 16th century.

The Lahore Museum is on The Mall.

 

Summit Minar

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In a park at Charing Cross, commemorating the Islamic Summit Conference held in Lahore in 1974, is Summit Minar. Underneath the minar - a tall, slender marble column - is a vaulted cellar housing gifts from the countries that attended the conference. Twenty stone slabs at the base of the pillar bear inscriptions of the word Allah. Outside is a pavilion with a glass case housing a Quran inscribed in gold leaf.  

Alhamra Art Gallery

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This gallery, not to be confused with the Alhamra, houses Lahore's largest permanent collection of artwork. There are two floors exhibiting fine paintings by Pakistani artists. This gallery is part of the Alhamra Cultural Complex, which sometimes has musical and theatrical performances.

 

Nairang Galleries

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This small but high-quality gallery focuses on Pakistani art with items selling upwards of PKR 6000. There's also a little café, replete with spongy sofas that is a perfect place to cool your heels over a steamy cup of coffee.

 

Cathedral Church of the Resurrection

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The Cathedral Church of Resurrection is in the Heart of Lahore. Built in 1887 out of using pink sandstone and designed by architect John Oldrid Scott (son of famous architect George Gilbert Scott). The church designed in “decorated early English style” has a footprint 226′ in length and 152′ in breadth. The two towers were added in 1898 with tall steeples, which were taken down for safety reasons after the earthquake of 1911.

The Cathedral guide-book says ‘Originally the frame for the bells was made to accommodate eight, but only six of them arrived from England. They were cast in 1903 by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough. The largest bell is about 1 ton in weight and when in use, the foundations used to vibrate.’ Lahore Cathedral is famous for its Taxila cross erected inside the cathedral and its stained glass windows, bells, pipe organ and a clock from 1862 which rests in the top floor of the northwest tower, disused, with a clock bell hung from a portion of the clock-case.

 

Zamzama

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Zamzama 'He sat in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher - The Wonder House, as the Natives call the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah hold the Punjab; for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot.'

This mighty cannon, made famous at the start of Rudyard Kipling's classic 1901 novel, was originally named Zamzama, meaning 'Lion's Roar' and sits on the medium strip in front of the Lahore Museum. It was used in various battles by the Afghan Durranis and then the Sikhs, before being brought to Lahore by Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a symbol of his conquests. Kipling's father was the first curator of the Lahore Museum. Rudyard himself worked at the now defunct Civil & Military Gazette in Lahore from 1882 to 1887.

 

Kamran's Baradari

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Kamran Mirza, sometimes known simply as Kamran was the second son of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Mughal Emperor.

The only significant architectural structure built by Kamran exists on a small island in the Ravi River (the river is on the northern outskirts of town). When it was completed in 1540 the Ravi was several hundred metres away and the baradari was in a large garden adjacent to the town. Its two storeys still open to a 12-columned vaulted veranda (baradari literally means 12 gates). These days a great deal of its former romance has disappeared and few travellers make the trip here. If water levels are not too low, rowing boats make the return trip from the Lahore side for Rs25 per person (minimum 10 people). Alternatively, you can negotiate a fare for smaller groups.

 

Shahi Hammam (Royal Baths)

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The Shahi Hammam bathhouse, also known as Hammam Wazir Khan, is the only remaining bathhouse of its type in Lahore. During the Mughal era, hammams (public baths) were introduced based on Persian models and flourished for a time, though their popularity never reached the level maintained in Persia as public baths were not an established cultural institution in the Punjab. Today, the Shahi Hammam is converted into a tourist information center.

Delhi Gate in the east leads past the 17th-century Royal Baths, now a small TDCP office, to the Mosque of Wazir Khan and Sunehri Masjid (Golden Mosque).
The hammam was first established in 1634 by Sheikh Ilmuddin Ansari who built it just inside the Delhi Gate along the path to Wazir Khan Mosque, under construction at the time. It contained separate facilities for men and women to bathe and also included amenities such as a reception chamber and a small prayer room.

The interior of the hammam is mostly intact and preserves frescos dating from the Mughal era. Unfortunately, the actual bathing facilities were filled in and tiled over in the mid 1990s when the building was briefly converted to another purpose by its private owners. In recent years the site has been acquired by the Tourist Information Center of Lahore and is being conserved. About 75% of the interior area is now open to the public.

 

Aitchison College

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At the eastern end of The Mall, Aitchison College, the 'Eton of Pakistan', is the most prestigious school in the country. Run on the lines of an English public school, the Mughal-Gothic style building is surrounded by manicured sporting fields.  

Qaddafi Stadium

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Qaddafi Stadium is a cricket ground in Lahore. It was designed by famous architect and engineer Nasreddin Murat-Khan, and constructed by Mian Abdul Khaliq and Company in 1959. The ground was renovated for the 1996 Cricket World Cup when it hosted the final. It is also the largest cricket stadium in Pakistan and was the fifth largest in the world with a capacity of 60,000 spectators, until renovation brought down the capacity to 27,000.  

National Hockey Stadium

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National Hockey Stadium is a purpose-built field hockey stadium in Lahore. It is the biggest field hockey stadium in the world. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000 spectators. It hosted the 1990 Hockey World Cup Final.