Baluch people celebrate every 2nd of March their Cultural Day. It is celebrated in Quetta, Balochistan capital but also in other major cities in Pakistan where many Baluch people live. The Baloch Culture Day consists in Baluch or Baloch people wearing traditional dress, diverse cultural activities including exhibition of Baloch costumes, and the performance of Balochi traditional musicians and dancers.
Archaeological SitesPakistan possesses remains of several ancient civilizations. The most famous is Indus Valley Civilization which dates to 3,000 BC.However, due to investigations in Balochistan the remains of Mehergarh have stretched the antiquity even further back in time to 5,000 BC. The most famous sites of Indus Valley Civilization are Moenjoaro (Sindh) and Harrappa (Punjab).
Historic MonumentsThe historic monuments are standing monuments or ruins which are found all over Pakistan. They represent various periods of our history and demonstrate the rich cultural milieu of the land. Thus, we can find historic Hindu temples in Tharparkar (Sindh) and Punjab, Sultanante period monuments in Makli Tombs, Thatta, in Multan and Ucch Sharif, and Mughal monuments in Thatta,Multan, Lahore etc. Many monuments are protected under the Federal Antiquities Act; however, there are thousands of others which still need to be provided protection.
Urban Historic CoresThere are many historic urban areas that are found in various provinces. Most of them had been constructed as walled cities e.g. Peshawar, Multan, Lahore etc. Although the walls have long since disappeared, the special urban morphology continues to provide them with a special character. Although there has been a lot of destruction in the past years, many of the historic structures continue to endow them with a special flavour. Unfortunately, due to lack of protection, we continue to lose a large number of valuable historic structures. There is an urgent need to provide protection to them in order to save the special flavour that the historic urban cores possess.
World HeritageThe number of world heritage sites that a nation possesses is a measure of how high heritage is rated in any country. Most countries strive hard to have their heritage sites placed on the World Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee which meets at regular intervals examines the dossiers on each application and depending upon how the case is put forward, accords approval for it to be placed on the List.
All the provinces in Pakistan have a large number of national heritage sites. The Federal Department of Archaeology has traditionally been the custodian of these sites. However, in the recent past there have been moves to shift the custodianship to the provinces. Although so far only some monuments in Punjab have been handed over to the provincial department of archaeology, it is likely that gradually all sites in the provinces will become the responsibility of the respective provinces.
There are hundreds of monuments that are found in all provinces of Pakistan. Although rudimentary, some form of inventories have been prepared by various provinces; however, due to lack of funds, most of the monuments are in a greatly deteriorated state. Many of them, which were recorded, are probably no longer in existence. This is a grave state of affairs which needs to be rectified through a collective effort.
Pakistan has a wealth of historic cores as part of various cities that back to Mughal and post-Mughal period. Even those that were developed during the 19th century British rule have areas which are extremely valuable as representative of a shared heritage with Britain. Since many historic cores have become part of the downtown, the historic assets in these cores are gravely threatened. There is an urgent need to declare conservation districts in order to apply special zoning and building byelaws for maximizing their value as heritage assets, which can enhance the distinctiveness of various cities.
Urban Historic Cores
TaxilaSituated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road that linked China to the West, Taxila reached its apogee between the 1st and 5th centuries. It is now one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. The ruins of the four settlement sites at Taxila reveal the pattern of urban evolution on the Indian subcontinent through more than five centuries. One of these sites, the Bihr mound, is associated with the historic event of the triumphant entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila. The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are collectively of unique importance in illustrating the evolution of urban settlement on the Indian subcontinent. The prehistoric mound of Saraikala represents the earliest settlement of Taxila, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupation. The Bhir mound is the earliest historic city of Taxila, and was probably founded in the 6th century BC by the Achaemenians. Its stone walls, house foundations, and winding streets represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent. Bihr is also associated with Alexander the Great’s triumphant entry into Taxila in 326 BC. Sirkap was a fortified city founded during the mid-2nd century BC. The many private houses, stupas, and temples were laid out on the Hellenistic grid system and show the strong Western classical influence on local architecture. The city was destroyed in the 1st century by the Kushans, a Central Asian tribe. To the north, excavations of the ruins of the Kushan city of Sirsukh have brought to light an irregular rectangle of walls in ashlar masonry, with rounded bastions. These walls attest to the early influence of Central Asian architectural forms on those of the subcontinent.
The Bhir mound is all that remains of a thriving city that flourished from the 6th to the 2nd centuries B.C. Built on a small plateau in the open fields, the city took advantage of the various trade routes crisscrossing central Asia. Though fortified, the city was no match for Alexander the Great, who conquered the area in the 3rd century B.C. It was here that King Ambhi received Alexander and his Greek armies. Little survives of the city beyond foundation stones, but these tell us that the streets were narrow and the house plans very irregular. There is little evidence of planning—most of the streets are very haphazard. The houses were probably made of stone rubble with wooden ceilings. Settlement at the Bhir mound site ended when the Bactrian Greeks built a new city called Sirkap (also archived on this website).
Jain Stupa (6th-2nd centuries B.C.)
Just a few dozen meters from the Shrine of the Double-Headed Eagle sits the Jain Stupa, a relic of the Sirkap city period (2nd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.). The shrine is badly ruined. Nothing of the superstructure survives. The persepolitan columns with lion ornamentation that sit on the four corners were brought here from the ruins of the courtyard.
Jandial Temple (built 2nd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.)
Located in Jandial, about 1.5 kilometers from the north gate of Sirkap, are the remains of Jandial temple, one of the most unique buildings in Central Asia. Probably intended as a Zoroastrian temple, the building closely follows the paradigm of the temples of classical Greece, consisting of a central shrine with four Ionic columns supporting a porch. The main shrine is rectangular in plan, but instead of the usual colonnade found in Greek temples, the wall is solid masonry with pierced window openings. Behind the main shrine is a set of stairs that leads to a platform where a Parthian fire Sanctuary probably existed in the 1st century B.C.
The Greek influence is not surprising, as Hellenic culture spread through the area in the wake of Alexander the Great's conquest in the first few centuries B.C.
Mohra Moradu Monastery (3rd to 5th centuries).
The Mohra Moradu Monastery is located in a small valley between Sirkap and Jaulian. It was heavily damaged by treasure-hunters who split apart the main stupa hoping to find gold inside. The lower portions of the stupa were protected, however, as earth covered most of the site before excavation began under the auspices of John Marshall earlier in the 20th century. A Buddhist shrine, the monastery was once a place of meditation in the rural areas outside of busy Sirkap.
The stupa is famous for the many bas-reliefs of Buddha that adorn its base. The monastic cells around the stupa are badly damaged, but yielded such treasures as the stone stupas shown in images 5 and 7.
Sirkap City Remains (2nd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.)
After the Bhir Mound site was abandoned, Sirkap became the major city of Taxila in the 2nd century B.C. The city is heavily influenced by Greek city planning principles introduced to the area after Alexander the Great's conquest in the 3rd century B.C. Now a ruin, the city once boasted a 6-meter thick, 5 kilometre long defensive wall made of course rubble. As in ancient Greek cities, there was a fortified "acropolis" or high ground within the defence perimeter.
The streets of the cities were more regular than those at Bhir, and the houses were mostly made of coursed stone. There were temples, houses, shrines, and stupas all along the main north-south street.
On the east side of the street are several notable structures, such as the Shrine of the Double-Headed Eagle, the Apsidal Temple, and a palace at the south end of the streets. Next to the Apsidal Temple is a small stupa which was probably constructed by a private owner. In the house near the stupa was found several items such as a bronze statue of the Egyptian child-god Harocrates, a silver Dionysus head, and gold and silver jewellery.
Sirkap flourished under several different regimes, beginning with the Greeks, then the Scythians, Parthians, and finally the Kushanas. The city lost its importance after King Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty founded another city at nearby Sirsukh.
Rohtas FortThis one arguably is the best fort in Pakistan. It was constructed by the famous king Sher Shah Suri in 1547 AD. It is situated in the town of Dina, which is near Jhelum city and also not far from the capital, Islamabad.
Derawar FortThis fort is just near Bahawalpur City and the area is known for the historic monuments and forts. This is one of the largest square type fortresses in the country. The walls of the fort are 30 meters high and have a circumference of 1500 meters. This was the residence of the Royal Family of Bahawalpur and was constructed in 1733. Derawar Fort is located 100 kilometres from Bahawalpur, Pakistan. This stronghold is the largest and most magnificently sustained fortress of Cholistan.
This fort is also famously known as the great wall of Sindh. It is situated in the Jamshoro District and is a talismanic wonder of the country. It was build way back in 836 AD but it was again reconstructed in the year 1812.
Bala Hissar FortBala Hissar Fort is located near the Peshawar City which was the residents of the Afghan kings in the early 19th century. The fort has seen good and bad times in the times of wars which resulted in destruction of the fort. But, still it is preserved in reasonably good condition which fascinates the visitors.
Red FortThis famous fort in Muzaffarabad is also popularly known as Muzaffarabad fort. The Chuk rulers of the area initially began with its construction but was completed much later by Sultan Muzaffar Khan in 1646.
The construction of Sheikhupura Fort is traditionally accredited to Emperor Jahangir, but there is no conclusive evidence of this.
The most impressive buildings inside the fort are the magnificent havelis (mansions) that were largely the product of the Sikh period and the latter Mughal era (the mid-17th to early 19th centuries). One famous occupant of the havelis was Maharani Datar Kaur (died 1838), the wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire.
This ancient fort is located in the picturesque Hunza valley and the collage of history with nature creates a majestic spell for the visitors. The rulers of the Hunza state constructed it some 1100 years ago for their private residence.
Altit Fort is a spectacularly sited defensive work overlooking the Hunza river valley in Gilgit-Baltistan. Carbon-14 dating of its central shikari (watchtower) has shown that at least part of the central tower of the fort was built over a thousand years ago, predating nearby Balit Fort by at least 300 years. However, many of the fort's buildings probably date from later periods, as indicated by dates corresponding either to 1583 or 1581 that were discovered on a lintel of a door frame in the shikari. Traditionally, village lore holds that the fort was constructed by craftsmen from Baltistan, who came here at the behest of the Balti princess Ayashu who was married to the Mir of Hunza, Shah Khan. Although the primary purpose of the fort was defensive, it also served as the seat of power of the Mir of Hunza before the political center moved to nearby Baltit (modern-day Karimabad).
The architecture of the fort is heavily influenced by the square layout common to Pamir, Hindukush, Karakorum and the Western Himalayas. One of the oldest areas, apart from the watchtower, is a lantern-roofed room on the second level that was likely used for official receptions. Its distinguishing features are the four trapezoidal columns which taper from floor to ceiling, reflecting the cosmological concept of the 'pillar of the world', or axis mundi. These columns, which are often feature elaborately decorated woodwork, are to be found throughout Altit village in private homes. The earthen platform behind these columns is generally reserved for the use of men even today.
In the late 1990s the fort and the surrounding village were in a precarious state as local residents built modern dwellings outside the village, threatening the upkeep of the town and its architectural heritage. Recognizing the historic value of the site, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture developed and implemented a comprehensive rehabilitation plan from 2006-2009. Their work involved stabilizing and repairing the fort and also providing clean water and electricity service to the village. Since that time, the population of the village has stabilized and many residents have returned.
This is another ancient fort just near the Altit fort which is also on the tentative list of World heritage of UNESCO. It is 700 years old fort and alterations and rebuilds were done over the centuries.
It is situated in the Skardu valley which used to be the royal residence of the kings of Skardu. It was constructed in the 16th century and because of its so much charm, Emperor Aurangzeb of the Mughal tried to capture the fort but in vain.
Quetta fort in the province of Baluchistan is a military garrison fortress which was constructed by the British Empire in the late 19th century. Its historic relevance and impeccable beauty makes it one of the finest forts in Pakistan.
Ramkot Fort stands on the summit of a hill in Mirpur, Pakistan. It is surrounded on three sides by the Jhelum River. It was likely built no earlier than the late 16th century following the Mughal emperor Akbar's visit to Kashmir in 1589. At present it stands just inside the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir in an area controlled by Pakistan. Excavations at the fort have uncovered the remains of a Hindu temple and relics from the 5th through the 9th centuries. However, the chronology of the fort's construction and even its age remain open questions.
Although maintenance of the fort is nominally in the hands of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department very little has been done to preserve this historic site.
The fort at Lahore is the most important historical construction in Lahore and is the result of many centuries' work. The earliest reference to the fort comes in a history of Lahur (Lahore) compiled by Al-Biruni, which refers to a fort constructed in the early 11th century. The early history of the fort is subject to debate, but it is known for certain that the fort was extensively upgraded during the reign of Emperor Akbar (mid-16th century). Sometime before 1566, the mud-brick fort was demolished and replaced with burnt bricks. The exact date is not known for certain since the records first refer to a fort at Lahore in connection with the rebellion of Muhammad Hakim in 1566.
The fort was greatly expanded during the reigns of Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. During the period of Sikh occupation, Ranjit Singh added several pavilions on the upper ramparts. Modifications to the fort were even made during the British colonial period beginning in 1846, but consisted mainly of converting older buildings into hospitals, barracks, and other colonial functions. Perhaps worst of all, portions of the gardens were converted into tennis courts, but abuses such as this have been corrected as preservationists have slowly restored portions of the fort to its pre-1846 appearance.
Lahore Fort Akbari Gate (early 17th century)
The Akbari Gate served as the main entrance to the fort during the Mughal era. It is physically less impressive than the Alamgiri gate which replaced its counterpart at the west side of the fort during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.
The gate is also known as the Masti (Masjid) Darwaza after the Maryam Zamani Masjid adjacent to the fort. Its outer facade comprises a central arch flanked by two semi-octagonal bastions topped with a crenellated wall--the same overall design used at the Alamgiri gate, though less boldly ornamented.
Lahore Fort Alamgiri Gate (built 1674)
The Alamgiri Gate is the only major addition to the fort built by Emperor Aurangzeb. It was likely constructed at the same time as the Badshahi Masjid which it faces.
Lahore Fort Diwan-i Amm Hall (Public Audience Hall)(built 1628, rebuilt 1846)
The Diwan-i Amm Hall occupies a place of prominence within Lahore fort, sitting immediately to the south of the royal jharoka (royal audience dais) which had been in use since the reign of Jahangir. The hall was destroyed by cannon fire in 1841 during the succession struggle following the deaths of Kharak Singh and his son Nau Nihal on the same day. The British reconstructed the pavilion in 1846 when they took control of Lahore.
Lahore Fort Hathi Paer Stairs (built 1631-32)
The Hathi Paer stairs are located at the northwest corner of the fort, just south of the Shah Burj Quadrangle. They were designed with extremely wide treads and shallow riser height to allow royal elephants to ascend from ground level to the top of the fort. The stairs form a three sided courtyard with the south wall having been demolished to create a modern path into the fort from the southeast. The only original entrance to the courtyard was through the Hathi Pol, a large gateway at its southwest corner. The exterior of the Hathi Pol is integrated into Jahangir's Paint Wall ensemble.
Lahore Fort Jahangir Quadrangle (built late 16th century onward)
Jahangir's Quadrangle occupies the northeast corner of the fort and is the largest quadrangle along the north wall. Akbar's influence can be seen in the use of column brackets that are carved in the form of animals--a typical feature of Akbar's syncretic architecture. Although it is a British-era reconstruction of the original, the north wall is thought to have survived from Jahangir's era.
Lahore Fort Kala Burj Tower (Black Pavilion) (built 1617-31)
This summer pavilion stands in the northwest corner of the Khilawat Khana quadrangle. Its present form differs substantially from its original design during Shah Jahan's reign. During the Sikh period an upper level was added, and the British made numerous alterations including the addition of a liquor bar. The interior frescos dating from the Mughal and Sikh era were also plastered over at this time.
Lahore Fort Khilawat Khana (Room of Solitude) (built 1633)
This quadrangle was constructed in 1633 as the private residence of Emperor Shah Jahan. It is divided into northern and southern portions with the south area comprising the Paien Bagh (Lower Garden) and the north section containing the private apartments of the Emperor and his harem. The quadrangle was a self-contained world, equipped with a mosque in its southwest corner and rooms for guards and servants along the perimeter, as well as baths (hammam).
Lahore Fort Lal Burj Tower (Red Pavilion) (built 1617-31)
Like the nearby Kala Burj (Black Pavilion), the Lal Burj was built during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Octagonal in plan, it was used as a summer pavilion with its primary windows open to the north. The surviving interior frescoes are mostly from the Sikh period, as is the upper level.
Lahore Fort Maktab Khana (Clerk's Quarters) (built 1654)
The Maktab Khana is a small cloistered court immediately adjacent to the Moti Masjid. The word Maktab Khana is a corruption of the word makatib khana, or Clerk's Room, suggesting that this was a place where clerks (muharirs) recorded entry into the fort. It is a Persian-style compound with pointed-arch arcades and deep iwans at the center of each of the four sides. However, an inscription found above the main entrance records that it was built under the supervision of Ma'mur Khan in 1617-18 and identifies the site as the "Daulat Khana-i-Jahangiri", the "Residence of Jahangir". It is therefore likely that the Maktab Khana is a surviving fragment of a much larger mansion complex serving the Emperor.
Lahore Fort Mosque (probably built 1633)
At the southwest corner of the Khilawat Khana courtyard is a small, heavily damaged mosque that originally served the women of Shah Jahan's court. Stripped of its red sandstone and marble veneer and lacking a roof it is almost unrecognizable but for its distinctive orientation toward Mecca and its surviving mihrab (niche) at the center of the west wall.
Lahore Fort Moti Masjid (built 1654)
The Moti Masjid, or Pearl Mosque, is a relatively small structure located at the western side of the fort. It is built entirely of white marble mined from the town of Makrana in contemporary Rajasthan. The mosque is one of the few buildings inside the fort that deviate from the overall north-south orientation of the complex, satisfying the liturgical requirement that the mosque's mihrab (central niche) face directly toward Mecca.
Lahore's Moti Masjid was not the only "Pearl Mosque" built in the Mughal era. Mosques with the same name may also be found in Agra and Delhi, as it was common Mughal practice to name mosques after precious stones. The word "Pearl" also refers to the lustrous surface of the marble, resembling pearl, as well as the mosque's comparatively small size.
Lahore Fort Paint Wall (built 1624-32)
Like his grandfather Babur, Emperor Jahangir enjoyed spending time in nature and taking part in hunting expeditions in the countryside (for example, at Hiran Minar). Beginning in 1624, Jahangir ordered that the northwest facade of Lahore Fort be tiled in nearly 7000 square meters of mosaics depicting hunts and royal recreation. Scenes include polo games, animal hunts, and views of trees and vegitation. The mosaics do not form a coherent narrative and can be viewed in isolation. Most scenes are framed in geometric borders and inset slightly into the walls, providing modest protection from the elements.
Although Jahangir died before the paint wall was completed, his son and successor Shah Jahan completed the project in 1632.
Lahore Fort Shah Burj Quadrangle (built 1632 onward)
The Shah Burj Quadrangle stands at the northwest corner of Lahore Fort. Built by Shah Jahan in 1632, it served as the residence of the Empress when she visited Lahore. Largely spared the damage and abuse that other areas of the fort suffered during the British Occupation and Sikh period, it remains the grandest and most opulent reminder of Mughal splendor in Lahore today.
Beneath the quadrangle is an extensive basement area that served as the Empress's summer residence.
Lahore Fort Shah Jahan Quadrangle (built 1645)
The Shah Jahan Quadrangle is a classic chahar bagh (four-part garden) dominated by the imposing Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Special Audience) at the north end of the courtyard. Here, the Emperor would meet with his subjects in the daily darshan ceremony. The Diwan-i-Khas is square in plan with five bays of lobed arches on three sides. The north facade includes delicate jali screens that overlook the northern ramparts of the fort. A shallow fountain sits at the centre of the pavilion. The emperor ordered the construction of these rooms in 1633 while travelling from Lahore to Kashmir. Unfortunately, the structure has been mostly stripped of architectural ornament except for the delicate jali screens along its south facade.
Lahore Fort Shish Mahal Basement (built 1631-32)
Beneath the Shish Mahal and the Shah Burj Quadrangle is an extensive series of interconnected chambers often referred to as the 'Lahore Fort Dungeons'. In fact, the area was likely used as a summer residence as the massive stonework and minimal fenestration kept the chambers naturally cool during the warmer months. During the Mughal, Sikh, and British eras the basement chambers were wholly off limits to the public. Only in 2006 did the Punjab Archaeology Department begin opening the chambers for visitors, and then only for short periods to host various exhibitions.
Akbari Serai (built 1640s)
The so-called Akbari Serai is a 470 by 365 meter courtyard situated between Jahangir's Tomb to the east and Asaf Khan's tomb to the west. The most impressive feature of the courtyard is the gateway on its east side leading to Jahangir's mausoleum. Opposite the gateway is a small mosque. The north and south ends of the courtyard are punctuated with gateways providing access to the whole ensemble.
Ali Mardan Khan Tomb (built 1657)
Ali Mardan Khan was a high official in the Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan.
As the tomb sits within the confines of a modern-day rail yard, the authorities have built a kilometre long passageway from the street to the tomb in an effort to prevent visitors from trespassing on the rail yard grounds.
Anarkali Tomb (built 1615)
The tomb of 'Anarkali' traditionally belongs to Nadira Begum, the lover of Prince Salim (the later Emperor Jahangir). According to legend Anarkali(Pomegranate Bud) was a member of Akbar's harem. The tomb originally stood at the center of a large garden in the manner of the Asaf Khan Tomb. In the early 1800s it was occupied by Kharak Singh, the son of Ranjit Singh, and was later converted to a residence for General Ventura, a French officer in the Sikh army. In 1851 it was converted to a Christian church and substantially remodeled with the arched openings largely blocked off. At the present time it is used as a library for the Punjab Records Office.
Asaf Khan Tomb (built 1642)
Asaf Khan was the brother of Nur Jahan, foremost of Emperor Jahangir's twenty wives. He was also the father of Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Emperor Shah Jahan and the woman for whom the Taj Mahal was built.
Badshahi Mosque (built 1672-74)
Badshahi mosque is one of the few significant architectural monuments built during Emperor Aurangzeb's long rule from 1658 to 1707. It is presently the fifth largest mosque in the world and was indisputably the largest mosque in the world from 1673 to 1986 when the Faisal Mosque was constructed in Islamabad. Although it was built late in the Mughal era in a period of relative decline, its beauty, elegance, and scale epitomize Mughal cultural achievement like no other monument in Lahore.
After the British took control of Lahore in 1846 they continued to use Badshahi Mosque as a military garrison. It was not until 1852 that the British established the Badshahi Mosque Authority to oversee the restoration of the mosque so that it could be returned to Muslims as a place of worship. Although repairs were carried out, it was not until 1939 that extensive repairs began under the oversight of architect Nawab Zen Yar Jang Bahadur. The repairs continued until 1960 and were completed at a cost of 4.8 million rupees.
Bradlaugh Hall (built 1900)
Bradlaugh Hall was built at the tail end of the 19th century along Lahore's Rattigan Road. The name of the building honors Charles Bradlaugh, a British MP in the late Victorian era who was fond of India and outspoken in his belief in social justice. Mr. Bradlaugh visited India in 1889 and attended the 5th annual session of the Indian National Congress
Although the building was used by the school for several decades the institute closed down in the late 1990s. The management then rented the building out to teachers of nearby government schools and other short-term clients. Tragically, the partitioning and renting out of small portions of the hall to various tenants who had little understanding of the historical value of the property lead to widespread damage to the interior of the building. In its present state, the building is nearly a ruin, but enough of it is salvageable that a determined rehabilitation program could restore it to its rightful glory.
Buddu Tomb (built mid-17th-century)
Traditionally, this tomb is attributed to Buddu, a brick manufacturer during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-58). However, it may in fact be the tomb of the wife of Khan-i-dauran Bahadur Nusrat Jang, a high-ranking nobleman in the court of Shah Jahan. The domed tomb likely once stood amidst a garden, but all traces of landscaping have vanished.
Chauburji Gate (built 1646)
The Chauburji gate is the only remnant of a large garden that has all but disappeared. It now stands alone in a grassy roundabout at the intersection of Multan Road and Bhawalpur Road. There is considerable uncertainty regarding who constructed it. An inscription on the monument gives the date 1056 AH (1646) and attributes it to "Sahib-e-Zebinda Begam-e-Dauran". According to the 19th century historian Syad Muhammad Latif, the full inscription reads:
The design of the minarets with their distinctive flairing capitals is a stylistic variant found only in Lahore.
Cypress Tomb (Sarvwala Maqbara) (built mid-18th century)
The so-called 'Cypress Tomb’ is located about 200 meters north of Dai Anga's tomb. It was originally surrounded by a garden--perhaps one abutting Dai Anga's tomb, but no evidence remains of its former boundaries or dimensions.
Dai Anga Tomb (built 1671)
Dai Anga's tomb is located at the site of Bulabi Bagh, an earlier garden of which the only the gateway, Gulabi Bagh, survives. The exterior of the tomb was originally covered with mosaics, but in the manner of many tombs in Lahore, most of these have been worn or stripped away over the centuries. However, the tomb does retain its original four chattris (kiosks) at each of its corners, which contribute a certain lightness to the otherwise weighty structure.
Gul Begum Bagh Garden (built 1850s)
Gul Begum was the wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whom she married in 1831 when he was 51 years old. Curiously, although the garden was relatively small by Lahore standards, nearly a square kilometre of present-day Lahore is known as the Bagh Bul Begum neighbourhood. One hopes that this now-dilapidated garden may one day be refurbished to make it an integral part of the neighbourhood that has taken its name.
Gulabi Bagh Gateway (built 1655)
The Gulabi Bagh Gateway is the last remnant of a pleasure garden built by the Persian noble Mirza Sultan Baig in 1655. Gradually over the centuries the garden was encroached upon by urban development so that the only remaining portion of the garden is the narrow yard running from Gulabi Bagh to Dai Anga's Mausoleum.
Hazrat Mian Mir Tomb (built 1630s)
Mian Mir (c. 1550 - August 11, 1635) was a Sufi saint of the Qadiri order of Sufism. The tomb remains popular with Muslims as well as Sikhs to the present day.
Hazuri Bagh and Baradari (present form, early 19th century onward)
In recent times the garden has seen a few significant additions such as the tomb of Allama Iqbal, one of the leaders of the Pakistan Movement. Built in the late 1940s, it is constructed of red sandstone and is located in the southwest corner of the garden.
Jahangir's Tomb (built 1627-37)
The tomb of Jahangir is located in Shahdara, a suburb of Lahore to the northwest of the city. The area had been a favorite spot of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan when they resided in Lahore, and the area was commonly used as a point of departure for travels to and from Kashmir and Lahore. When Jahangir died in 1627 he may have initially been buried in Shahdara in one of its many gardens. His son, Shah Jahan, ordered that a mausoleum befitting an Emperor be built as a permanent memorial.
Today, the tomb of Jahangir holds special significance for Pakistanis as it is the only Mughal tomb located in present-day Pakistan. Its image appears on the 1,000 rupee banknote and it remains one of Lahore's most popular attractions.
Kamran's Baradari (built 1520s or mid-17th-century)
Kamran's Baradari is the ostensibly the earliest known Mughal monument in Lahore, said to have been built by Prince Kamran in the 1520s.
The baradari originally stood at the edge of the Ravi River, but over time the course of the river changed and the site became an island. Sometime over the course of the centuries the river flooded, taking half the baradari along with it. As Mughal buildings are generally symmetrical, it was possible for historians to infer the design of the lost portion and it was rebuilt in 1989. Unfortunately, the restoration extended to the remaining half and resulted in the total effacement of its surface decoration including the few fragments of original decoration to have survived. Of the gardens, very few traces survived in the late 20th century and a new garden based partially on Mughal motifs was built to the west of the Baradari.
Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Kokaltash Tomb (built ~1697)
Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafar Jhan Kokaltash was a high-ranking officer during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamigir. He served as subahdar (governor) of the Panjab from April 11th, 1691, but was dismissed from office in 1693. He died four years later on November 23, 1697, and was presumably interred here shortly thereafter. Overall, the tomb is in a poor state of preservation. At some point in the past, most of the east facade collapsed. Fortunately, the dome was spared, but it is now supported by a brick pillar of modern design. The muqarnas at the tops of the alcoves are substantially damaged, revealing the underlying brickwork. Significant restoration is urgently needed to avoid further dilapidation.
Khwaja Mehmud Tomb (built mid-17th-century)
Khwaja Mehmud (also known as Hazrat Eishan) was a Sufi religious leader from Bukhara who moved to Lahore during the reign of Shah Jahan. He was a contemporary with Hazrat Mian Mir and was also noted as a great scholar and physician.
Mai Dai Tomb (likely built mid-18th century)
The so-called "Mai Dai" tomb is located in an alley off the beaten path in the Kot Khwaja Saeed neighborhood of Lahore. In urdu, "Mai" and "Dai" are words that both mean "Respected Lady" and are polite titles used to refer to women. This oral tradition suggests the tomb is associated with a woman, but there is no definitive knowledge of who was buried here. It bears a strong resemblence to the nearby 'Cypress Tomb', which was built by a pious widow who wished to elevate her grave out of site of the public eye.
Unfortunately, the tomb is not a protected monument and it is currently occupied as part of a house.
Maryam Zamani Mosque (built 1614)
The Maryam Zamani Mosque is named after Queen Maryam Zamani, the wife of Emperor Akbar. It is the earliest surviving Mughal mosque in Lahore and is the first to exhibit the five-bay facade that would become typical of nearly all future mosques built by the Mughals. It is a comparatively small structure, measuring just 50 meters east-west and 50 meters north-south. Often called Begum Shahi Masjid, the mosque stands just opposite the Masjidi Gate of the Lahore fort.
Mian Khan Tomb (built 1670s)
This is the tomb of Nawab Mian Khan, the son of Nawab Saadullah Khan who served as Prime Minister during the reign of Shah Jahan. It is built in the form of a baradari (literally, 'twelve doors') with a tripartite facade on four sides.
Nadira Begum Tomb (built 17th century)
Nadira Begum was the wife of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan and heir-apparent to his throne. In 1657 a power struggle broke out between Dara Shikoh and his three brothers over succession to the throne after Shah Jahan fell ill. Initially, fate seemed to favour Dara Shikoh. He prevailed in battle against his brother Shah Shuja and gained signifiant support from his father, who recovered enough to assist Dara Shikoh in his bid for power. However, father and son could not overcome the combined strength of his two other brothers, Aurangzeb and Murad.
The tomb stands on a raised platform at the centre of what used to be a vast water tank. The tank was dismantled during the British period.
Nau Nihal Singh Haveli (built mid-19th century)
The word "Haveli" is used to refer to mansions in India and Pakistan. The word is derived from the Persian word "hawli", meaning "an enclosed place". Havelis typically were built by wealthy aristocrats to house themselves and their extended families, and were often constructed several stories high with one or more courtyards in the interior.
Nawankot Monuments (built 1646)
The so-called Nawankot Monuments are the remains of the eastern wall of the tomb garden of Zeb-un-Nisa, comprising two corner turrets and the east gate. The ensemble is difficult to distinguish in the crowded district, as the monuments are hemmed in on all sides by contemporary houses and roads. In the Mughal era, the three Nawankot monuments were linked together by a brick wall forming the eastern edge of the garden, and were in turn linked to two turrets that delineated a square area of greenery with Zeb-un-Nisa's tomb at the centre. No trace of the western turrets and walls survive and the gardens have disappeared under urban sprawl. The Nawankot monuments themselves are in considerable danger from the effects of neglect, urban encroachment, vandalism and environmental stress.
The eastern gate is the most impressive of the monuments. It is a two story structure measuring 11.1 meters east-west and 13.0 meters north-south. It was once almost entirely covered by kashikari (enameled mosaic work) but large areas have worn away.
Nur Jahan Tomb (built 1640s)
Nur Jahan was the daughter of I'timad-ud-Daula, Jahangir's prime minister.
In 1626 the emperor was captured by rebels while on his way to Kashmir.
Nur Jahan's tomb is stylistically similar to Jahangir's tomb, but is about half the size and lacks corner minarets. The tomb suffered substantial damage in the 19th century when its marble decoration was plundered for use in other monuments. The destruction extended even to the sarcophagus, which is no longer extant. The present cenotaph at the centre of the tomb is a modern restoration. More recently, over-zealous rehabilitation of the tomb has resulted in the loss of some of the remaining fragments of original ornamentation.
Prince Pervez Tomb (built early 16th century)
Traditionally, this tomb is attributed to Prince Pervez, one of the sons of Emperor Jahangir. In any case, the tomb is in a deplorable state of conservation. This is all the more unfortunate as its octagonal plan suggests that a high-ranking nobleman or member of the royal family was buried here. Originally, the tomb likely stood at the center of a large garden with gateways on four sides (similar to the layout of Asaf Khan's tomb tomb and landscape ensemble). No traces of the gates or gardens survive and modern housing has encroached nearly to the edge of the tomb itself. The remaining portion of the tomb stands denuded of much of its surface decoration which likely included marble cladding and bas reliefs. The marble sarcophagus it once housed was removed in the 19th century or earlier and replaced with a crude brick replica.
Shahi Hammam Bathhouse (built 1634)
The Shahi Hammam bathhouse, also known as 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. The Hamman was first established in 1634. The interior of the Hamman 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 Centre of Lahore and is being conserved. About 75% of the interior area is now open to the public.
Shalamar Gardens (built 1633-42)
Lahore is often described as the "city of gardens". Although deserving of this title, few of its historic gardens survive to the present day and even fewer are preserved in something close to their original state. Shalamar is a grand exception to this trend. Comprising nearly forty acres on three broad terraces, its majesty brings to life the Mughal genius for landscape architecture like no other monument in Lahore. Many of the present structures are largely reconstructions in plaster and brick.
Sunehri Masjid (Golden Mosque) (built 1749)
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, the Deputy of Lahore during the tenure of Governor Mir Mu'in al-Mulk Mir Munoo. It stands on a small plot of land where one street diverges into two. When Nawab Bhikari Khan acquired the property, it was a vacant parcel of land at the chowk (square) of Kashmiri Bazaar. He was required to obtain a special fatwa from Muslim scholars to construct the mosque, as the local authorities has been concerned that the construction of a building in the square would interrupt the flow of traffic.
Shah Ali Akbar's Mother's Tomb (late 16th century)
This small tomb stands to the southeast of Ali Akbar's own tomb. Its cube-shaped form is consistent with a long tradition in Multan of rectangular flat-roofed tombs, a contemporary example being the late 16th-century tomb of Shah Yousef Gardezi.
This monument—and Shah Ali's tomb, along with other monuments in Multan and Uch Sharif—also follow the Suhrawardi archetypal practice of aligning the main entrance along the southern axis, which stands in opposition to the preferred orthodox practice (in South Asia) of placing the entrance on the east so that the worshipper enters the building facing Mecca and departs with his back to Mecca, symbolizing the expansion of Islam into the wider world.
Bahauddin Zakariya Tomb (early-mid 13th century)
The tomb of Bahauddin Zakariya stands in central Multan in the northeast corner of the former fort at the heart of the old city.
The tomb houses the mortal remains of Bahauddin Zakariya (1170-1262), a noted Sufi wali (saint) who brought the Suhrawardiyya order of Sufism to Multan. He was also the grandfather of Rukn-e Alam, a noted saint in his own right who is buried at a magnificent mausoleum 500 meters to the southwest.
In his youth, following the death of his father at age 12, Zakariya traveled widely around the Islamic world and visited Khurasan, Bukhara, and Medina. He later reached Baghdad and studied under the Sufi master Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi (c.1145-1234), the nephew of the founder of the Suhrawardiyya order, Abu Najib Suhrawardi. Abu Hafs Umar saw such great potential in him that he cut short Zakariya's studies after 17 days and ordered him back to Multan to set up a Suhrawardiyya khanqah there (a khanqah is a building or compound for Sufi gatherings). While Zakariya was not immediately welcomed—the city already had such a profusion of Sufi notables that many were skeptical of adding another to the roster—the khanqah continue to prosper under Zakariya's guidance which lasted over a half century. As the Suhrawardiyya order did not eschew poverty (unlike other Sufi orders), Zakariya grew rich over the course of his long life, particularly after he gained the support of local elites and the favor of regional rulers such as Nasir al-din Qabacha, the Muslim-Turkic governor of Multan and Uch Sharif. Despite holding no formal political office, Hasan Ali Khan notes that "In time, Zakariya commanded a near absolute say in the decision making process in Multan" (Khan, p. 31).
The base of the tomb measures 15.9 meters on each side and its dome rises 23.6 meters above ground level. The monument is enclosed in a vast quadrangle measuring 62 x 79 meters with entrances on all sides but the north. At the southeast corner of the courtyard is a small mosque which stands immediately adjacent to the ruined Prahlad Mandir, a former Hindu temple which was destroyed by a mob in 1992 in retaliation for the razing of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India by a Hindu mob.
Khawaja Awais Kagha Mosque (unknown age)
The Khawaja Awais Khaga mosque is a Mughal-era building directly adjacent to the eponymous saint’s tomb. The mosque has undergone a partial restoration, which appears to have been tastefully done with full fidelity to the original design.
Khawaja Awais Kagha Tomb (early 14th century)
The Khawaja Awais Kagha tomb is located in a cemetery in Dera Basti, Multan, about 1.6 kilometers southwest of the old city center. It was probably built around the year 1300, corresponding with the death of Khawaja Awais Kagha, a noted Sufi wali, or saint.
Khuddaka Mosque (built 1873)
The Khuddaka mosque is located in a dense neighbourhood about 750 meters WSW of the Shah Rukn-e Alam tomb. At present the mosque remains in active use and was thoroughly and tastefully restored in the mid-2000s.
Shah Ali Akbar Tomb (1585 onward)
Shah Ali Akbar was a great-great-grandson of Shah Shams Sabzwari, an early proselytizer of Isma'ili Islam in South Asia active in the mid-to-late 13th century.
Shah Rukn-e-Alam Tomb (1320-24)
The mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e Alam is located in central Multan and houses the graves of the Sufi saint Sheikh Rukn-ud-Din Abul Fateh (1251-1335) and dozens of his disciples and family members.
Shah Shams Sabzwari Tomb (originally early 14th century, largely rebuilt 1770s)
Shah Shams Sabzwari’s tombs stands about 1.5 kilometres east of the former Multan fort.
Shah Yousuf Gardezi Tomb (built c. 1152, rebuilt 1548)
Shah Yousuf Gardezi's Tomb is located about 600 meters southwest of the former fort of Multan.
Shahi Eid Gah Mosque (1735 onward)
The Shahi Eid Gah Mosque is a late-Mughal era mosque built on the northern outskirts of Multan during the reign of Emperor Muhammad Shah (r. 1719-48). In 1891 the building was restored to its original function and has remained active ever since.
Hiran Minar (built 1606 onward)
Hiran Minar (literally, the "deer tower") is a hunting retreat built by Emperor Jahangir to the northwest of Lahore. It was constructed in memory of an antelope named Mansraj that was beloved by the emperor. The memorial tower stands 30 meters high and is 10 meters wide at its base.
Unlike nearby Lahore, the surrounding countryside is thinly populated and remains largely rural. A belt of forest surrounds the site, further insulating it from the modern environment, allowing the visitor to experience the Mughal garden in a landscape that has changed relatively little since its inception.
Jandiala Sher Khan Baoli and Mosque (built 1542)
The town of Jandiala Sher Khan is located about 13 kilometers northwest of Sheikhupura, an important provincial town in the Mughal Empire. Although the town was located on a floodplain, there were no nearby sources of water, requiring local residents to dig wells to irrigate their crops.
As late as 2010 or thereabouts, the baoli was in extremely poor condition and partially collapsed. It was recently restored with a total reconstruction of the destroyed portions. Although the reconstructed pieces lack the ornamentation and elegance of the original design, they allow the visitor to experience the scope and grandeur of Sher Khan's vision.
Makli Necropolis (primarily 15th - 17th centuries)
The Makli necropolis is one of the world's largest cemeteries, containing a half million tombs in a 15 square kilometre area. The mosque was restored during the 1960s and 70s. The mosque has been on the UNESCO tentative World Heritage list since 1993 but has not yet achieved official recognition.
Baha'al-Halim Tomb (late 14th century)
The tomb of Baha'al-Halim stands in the northwest corner of Uch Sharif on a low hillside, the site of an old fort, amid the ruins of several other architecturally significant tombs, among them the tombs of Ustad Nuria and Bibi Jawindi. The tomb requires active ongoing conservation to shore up and stabilize the remaining walls, turrets, and decorative features.
Bibi Jawindi Tomb (1494)
The tomb of Bibi Jawindi stands in the northwest corner of Uch Sharif on a low hillside, the site of an old fort, amid the ruins of several other architecturally significant tombs, among them the tombs of Ustad Nuria and Baha'al-Halim. The tomb requires active ongoing conservation to shore up and stabilize the remaining walls, turrets, and decorative features, but overall it is in better shape than the nearby Baha'al-Halim tomb. Five of the original eight turrets have survived in partial form, versus three at Baha'al-Halim. From certain angles enough of the tomb survives to present a clear impression of its original magnificence.
Fazaluddin Ladla Bukhari Tomb & Mosque (age unknown)
This is a domed mosque and a flat-roofed tomb associated with the Sufi saint Hazrat Fazaluddin Ladla Bukhari. The front of the tomb building features a projecting wooden veranda that is typical of residential architecture from the 19th century.
Jamaluddin Khandan Rau Tomb (age unknown)
This is another typical flat-roofed tomb of the type commonly found in Uch Sharif. It may also be known as the shrine of Hazrat Syed Jamal Khandan.
The architect and historian Kamil Khan Mumtaz notes that the age of many of these buildings in Uch is uncertain. All of them were definitely standing by the 19th or early 20th centuries, but they are likely restorations of far older structures, some of which may be faithful reconstructions of 13th or 14th century originals.
Makhdoom Jahaniyan Jahangasht Tomb and Mosque (possibly late 14th century onward)
The tomb of Makhdoom Jahaniyan Jahangasht is a fine example of the flat-roofed tomb building tradition at Uch Sharif. This tomb, as well as many others in Uch Sharif, remains a site of popular devotion.
Ustad Nuriya Tomb (early 16th century?)
The tomb of Ustad Nuriya stands in the northwest corner of Uch Sharif on a low hillside, the site of an old fort, amid the ruins of several other architecturally significant tombs, among them the tombs of Bibi Jawindi and Baha'al-Halim. It is thought to honor the architect of Bibi Jawindi's tomb, suggesting that it is the newest of the three major monuments on site. However, as with the others, this tomb was partially damaged in major flooding in 1817.
Rajan Qattal Tomb and Mosque (19th century or earlier)
The tomb of Rajan Qattal is a fine example of the flat-roofed tomb building tradition at Uch Sharif.
Abdul Nabi Khan Mausoleum (early-mid 17th century?)
About a half kilometre northeast of the village of Kotli Maqbara, the Abdul Nabi Khan Mausoleum rises elegantly from the fields.
Atmaramji Shrine (late 19th, early 20th century)
The Atmaramji shrine is located in central Gujranwala at the junction of the Grand Trunk Road and Parao Road. The building is no longer in active use by the Jain community as the local police commandeered the property in 1984 for use as a police station, though most officers moved to a new building in 2003. According to the Pakistan Express Tribune, traffic wardens and officers fighting vehicle theft continued to use the building until 2015. Currently only the central chamber remains occupied by the police, used as the personal office of the Gujranwala Deputy Police Superintendent.
Lodhi-era Mosque of Eminabad (late 15th, early 16th century)
Along the east side of a small reservoir built in the era of Jahangir stands a modest one-story brick mosque.
Mahan Singh Samadhi (c. 1835)
This samadhi (tomb) marks the cremation site of Mahan Singh (r. 1770-92), the father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who founded the Sikh Empire.
At present, the samadhi is ill-maintained and is marred by a number of holes tunnelled through the walls of the tower. Graffiti and rainwater infiltration have almost wholly ruined the interior murals, with only fragments still legible. The ground floor level is difficult to access as it stands adjacent to newer dwellings, with a number of openings crudely bricked-up. Inside, trash and debris clog most of the available space. Despite these problems, the building appears to be in reasonably good condition (as of early 2018) and could still be restored to much of its former glory with a determined and comprehensive restoration.
Ranjit Singh Birthplace (built 18th century or earlier)
Ranjit Singh, the future leader of the Sikh Empire, was born in this stately haveli (mansion) on November 13, 1780. His father, Mahan Singh (1756-1792) was the leader of the Sukerchakia Misl, one of many small principalities that arose in the Punjab as Mughal rule faltered.
The mansion is shaped as a long rectangle, oriented north-south but canted to the northeast in the prevailing direction of Gujranwala's urban fabric. In the late 18th century it was likely surrounded by more greenery and open space, but today it stands in an extremely crowded environment surrounded by illegally built makeshift dwellings. The interior is an oasis of calm, far quieter than it would have been in Ranjit Singh's time when its courtyards and halls rang with the to-and-fro of Mahan Singh's domestic servants and the many members of his extended family. In 2012 or 2013 the ground floor portion of the haveli beneath the front porch was converted into shops for vegetable vendors. This also resulted in the destruction of the main stairway which was converted into a parking lot for two-wheeled vehicles. It is feared that further such encroachments may result in the destruction of the main building, which so far survives, though in a perilous state of neglect.
Chiniot Mosque (built 1646-55)
The Chiniot Mosque in central Chiniot is attributed to Saad Ullah Khan (1595- 1655), the prime minister of Emperor Shah Jahan.
One somewhat atypical feature of the mosque is the use of columns to support the arcades in front of the mihrab (prayer niche) facing Mecca. A similar prototype may be found in the Moti Masjid mosque in Lahore Fort, also from the Shah Jahan era.
Omar Hayat Mahal (built 1923)
The Omar Hayat Mahal is a five-story wooden haveli (mansion) built by Sheikh Omar Hayat in 1923. Local lore holds that it was intended as the residence for his new-born son, who was born in the same year. However, the son died shortly after his marriage 15 years later and was buried in the ground floor chamber alongside his mother, who died the same year. These graves are still present today.
By the late 1930s the mansion had begun to fall into disrepair as the descendants of Omar Hayat's servants took up residence there. Later, the organization Anjuman-e-Islamia Chiniot attempted to convert the mansion into a girls' school, but it was converted into an orphanage instead. By the 1970s the upper story was in such unsound condition that the local municipal authorities demolished it. The level beneath it was itself destroyed in the 1990s when heavy rains caused it to collapse.
Although the mansion is currently being used as a library it remains in precarious condition. The inside and front facade are relatively well preserved due to restorations conducted during the late 1980s. However, the partially destroyed upper floor and exterior woodwork is not protected from the elements and the lack of effective drainage means that continued damage to the building is inevitable. One can only hope that the local authorities in Chiniot will recognize the value of this cultural treasure and take action to protect it.
• Correspond to lifestyles, cultural norms and traditions of the community
Philosophical Basis of KaravanGhar
Ruta apta para todo tipo de viajero ya que no requiere gran esfuerzo físico. Es importante saber que se visitarán regiones remotas donde las pistas o carreteras están en mal estado y el alojamiento es sencillo. Durante la estancia en ciudades optaremos por alojamientos con encanto y bien situados. Ruta diseñada para convivir con diferentes etnias tradicionales, recorrer valles perdidos donde el turismo todavía es escaso, explorar centros urbanos históricos y ver interesantes Patrimonios de la Humanidad.View Trip Details