Lahore Punjab has been capital of the Punjab for nearly 1,000 years and reached its glory under Moghuls rule ( 1524 – 1752 ) .The reigns of Humayun, Akber, Jehangir, Shahjehan and Aurungzib, may be considered the golden period of the history of Lahore. The city became a place of Royal residence, gardens, tombs, mosques, baradaries sprung up in all direction . In the language of Abulfazil ” the grand resort of people of all nations “and celebrated for its fine buildings and luxuriant gardens. Father Anthony Monserrat , a Portuguese Jesuit, from Goa India visited Lahore in 1591 A.D. when it was at its greatest splendor, on the invitation of Emperor Akber and he had a church here confirmed by the French traveler Thevenot in A.D. 1665.
Due to Lahore’s rich history, the mughal and colonial architecture has still been presreved in all its splendour. Mughal architecture such as, the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and the mausoleums of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are very popular tourist spots in the city. Various colonial buildings originally built by the British, such as the Lahore High Court, General Post Offices (GPO) and many of the older universities still retain their Mughal-Gothic style.
Lahore Museum was established in 1894 in Lahore, and is one of the major museums of South Asia. Lahore Museum is also known as Central Museum, and is located on The Mall.
It is located opposite the old University Hall, a Mughal style building on the Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam. The Museum contains some fine specimens of Mughal and Sikh door-ways and wood-work and contains a large collection of paintings dating back to Mughal, Sikh and British era.
It has also a collection of musical instruments, ancient jewellery, textiles, pottery and armory. There are relics from the Graeco-Bactrian times as well as well as some Tibetan and Nepalese work. The museum has a number of objects of Greco-Buddhist sculptures, Mughal and Pahari paintings on display. The Fasting Buddha  is one of the unique collections of the museum.
It also has excellent galleries of pre historic Pakistan and a superb collection of Buddhist stone sculpture. The famous Zam – Zama gun casted in 1760 stand in front of the Museum.
The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila citadel of the city of Lahore. It is located in the northwestern corner of Lahore, adjacent to the Walled City. Some of the famous sites within the fort are: Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. The fort is 1,400 feet long and 1,115 feet wide. In 1981, the fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Shalamar Gardens. Lahore Fort which rank in size and beauty with the Moghul forts at Delhi and Agra. Akber began building it the 1560s on the site of an older fort . Alamgari Gate, Maktab Khana, Diwan-e-Am, Jahangir’s Quadrangle, Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle, Diwan-e-Khas, Palace of Mirrors, Naulakha etc are the spots of visit in Lahore fort.
Badshahi Mosque built by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1674 after the mosques of Delhi and Agra. It consists of a huge square with a minaret at each corner. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks, and a major tourist attraction epitomising the beauty and grandeur of the Mughal era.
Capable of accommodating over 55,000 worshippers, it is the second largest mosque in Pakistan, after the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The architecture and design of the Badshahi Masjid is closely related to the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India, which was built in 1648 by Aurangzeb’s father and predecessor, emperor Shah Jahan
Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as ‘ a mole on the cheek of Lahore’. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634-1635 A.D., during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and later, the Governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan. (The word wazir means ‘minister’ in Urdu language.) The mosque is located inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate.
Suneri Mosque or Golden Mosque is located in the center of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The founder of the mosque was Nawab Syed Bhikari Khan, son of Raushan-ud-Daula Turrabaz Khan, deputy governor of Lahore during the reign of Muhammad Shah and the viceroyalty of Mir Noin-ul-Malik. The Golden Mosque is situated in the Kashmiri Bazaar. It was built in 1753 AD. It features three beautiful golden domes. The mosque is elevated on a higher plinth, surrounded by old bazaars. It has a beautiful gateway, which measures 21.3 metres in length and a courtyard that measures 161.5 x 160.6 metres. The marble domes cover seven prayer chambers. Four lofty minarets stand at the four corners of the mosque, each with an outer circumference of 20 metres, soaring up to 54 metres.
Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal is located in Lahore, Pakistan just outside of the Badshahi Mosque, in the Hazuri Bagh. Hundreds of visitors come to the tomb every day to pay their respects to the poet-philosopher.
Tomb of Jahangir, is the mausoleum built for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who ruled from 1605 to 1627. The mausoleum is located in Lahore, Pakistan. His son Shah Jahan built the mausoleum 10 years after his father’s death. It is sited in an attractive walled garden. It has four 30 meter high minarets. The interior is embellished with frescoes and pietra dura inlay and colored marble. The mausoleum features prominently on the Pakistan Rupees 1,000 denomination bank note.Lahore
Zoo in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, established in 1872, was once considered one of the largest zoos, if not the largest zoo, in Asia.
It started as a small aviary that was donated by Lal Mahundra Ram. Gradually it developed and its animal collection also increased, today the Zoo houses about 1381 animals of 136 species including 996 birds of 82 species, 49 reptiles of 08 and 336 mammals of 45 species. It remained under the management of Lahore Municipal Corporation from 1872 to 1923. Thereafter, its control was given to Deputy Commissioner, Lahore until 1962. Then its management was placed under the Livestock and Dairy Development Department. Finally the management of Lahore Zoo was entrusted to the Wildlife & Parks Department in 1982. During the period 1872 to 1982, it remained a small entity with very little development taking place.
Chauburji gateway remains of an extensive garden known to have existed in Mughal times. The establishment of this garden is attributed to Mughal Princess Zeb-un-nisa, 1646 A.D., which appears in one of the inscriptions on the gateway. The gateway consists of four towers (chau: four, burji: tower) and contains much of the brilliant tile work with which the entire entrance was once covered.
Shalimar Gardens, located along the Grand Trunk Road some 5 kilometers northeast of the main Lahore city were built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Lahore, Pakistan. Construction began in 1641 A.D. (1051 A.H.) and was completed the following year. The project management was carried out under the superintendence of Khalilullah Khan, a noble of Shah Jahan’s court, in cooperation with Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni.The Shalimar Gardens are laid out in the form of an oblong parallelogram, surrounded by a high brick wall, which is famous for its intricate fretwork. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west. In 1981, Shalimar Gardens was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Lahore Fort, under the UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage sites in 1972.
The Gardens have been laid out from south to north in three descending terraces, which are elevated by 4-5 metres (13-15 feet) above one another. The three terraces have names in Urdu as follows:The upper terrace named Farah Baksh meaning Bestower of Pleasure. The middle terrace named Faiz Baksh meaning Bestower of Goodness.The lower terrace named Hayat Baksh meaning Bestower of life
Shah Nahar : Irrigation of the Gardens
To irrigate the Gardens, a canal named Shah Nahar meaning Royal canal, later also known as Hansti canal, meaning Laughing canal was brought from Rajpot (present day Madhpur in India), a distance of over 161 kilometers. The canal intersected the Gardens and discharged into a large marble basin in the middle terrace.
From this basin, and from the canal, rise 410 fountains, which discharge into wide marble pools. The surrounding area is rendered cooler by the flowing of the fountains, which is a particular relief for visitors during Lahore’s blistering summers, with temperature sometimes exceeding 120 degrees fahrenheit. It is a credit to the ingenuity of the Mughal engineers that even today scientists are unable to fathom how the fountains were operated originally. The distribution of the fountains is as follows:
The upper level terrace has 105 fountains.
The middle level terrace has 152 fountains.
The lower level terrace has 153 fountains.
All combined, the Gardens therefore have 410 fountains. Water cascades
The Gardens have 5 water cascades including the great marble cascade and Sawan Bhadoon.Buildings of the Gardens
The buildings of the Gardens include:
Sawan Bhadum pavilions
Naqar Khana and its buildings
Khwabgah or Sleeping chambers
Hammam or Royal bath
The Aiwan or Grand hall
Aramgah or Resting place
Khawabgah of Begum Sahib or Dream place of the emperor’s wife
Baradaries or summer pavilions to enjoy the coolness created by the Gardens’ fountains
Diwan-e-Khas-o-Aam or Hall of special & ordinary audience with the emperor
Two gateways and minarets in the corners of the Gardens
Festivals:Lahore is a very festive city, the people of Lahore celebrate many traditions throughout the year, with blending of moghal, western and latest trends. As Lahore has large muslim population, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are celebrated in full swing with various concerts held in the city. Many people decorate their houses and light candles to light up the streets and houses.
Basant is a Punjab festival that marks the coming of spring. Basant celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore and people from all over the country and abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite flying competitions take place all over the city’s rooftops during Basant.
The Festival of Lamps or Mela Chiraghan is a very important and popular event in Lahore. This is celebrated at the same time as Basant, every spring on the last Friday of March outside the Shalimar Gardens. During the festival, people from all walks of life gather to actively participate in the festival. The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals, it is held in Spring in the Fortress Stadium. During the week long activities, there is a display of the finest livestock, horse and camel dances, tent pegging, colourful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays and tattoo shows in the evenings.On August 14, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from the British Raj. There are lots of celebrations in Lahore, the streets are full of joyful people singing and dancing. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers.
The World Performing Arts Festival is held every autumn (usually in November) at the Alhambra cultural complex, a mega venue consisting of several theatres and amphitheatres. This ten day festival consists of musicals, theatre, concerts, dance, solo, mime and puppetry shows. This has a rich international character with nearly 80% of the shows performed by international performers. On average 15-20 different shows are performed every day of the festival.
The Lahore Marathon, an elite event is part of an annual package of six international marathons being sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank across Asia, Africa and Middle East.
Food Street in Gawalmandi, Lahore is a centre of traditional Pakistani food. The site is surrounded by centuries old buildings and places like Landa Bazaar, Mayo Hospital and Baansan-wala Bazaar. The food street is open to traffic in the morning but as the sun sets, the street is blocked off. Hungry visitors arrive and stay till very late at night, enjoying some of the best local food available in Lahore.
The traditional Kashmiri-Persian architecture can still be seen, used extensively in buildings surrounding that place.
One of Lahore’s unique café restaurants is “Coocoo’s Den”, located in the old city just behind the Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort. The restaurant is housed in a 300-year old “Kothi” style house of a famous artist. At different points in the life of this property, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim families have owned it. Another famous Lahore landmark is the Pak Tea House in Anarkali, long a favoured haunt of intellectuals and artists.