Lahore is the capital of Punjab province and is home to some wonderful monuments. Most popular of them all is the Royal Fort or Shahi Quila that dates back to 1556 AD. The fort was founded by the Mughal emperor Akabar and houses some fine buildings that include Diwan-e-Aam, Moti Masjid, Khwahbag-e-Jahangir and Diwan-e-Khas. The Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors is something that you should not miss on your visit to the Royal Fort. Lahore Fort is also a world heritage site.
Derawar Fort is the oldest and largest fort of the desert that is part of the chain of forts built to protect the central Asian trade route to Indian subcontinent. The old Fort existed more than 5000 years ago but the present Fort was re-built in 18th century with baked bricks brought from Uch Sharif 40 miles away. The circumference of Fort measures 1.5 km with 40 bastions all around.
Rohtas Fort – Symbol of Grandeur and Defence
Located on the historic Grand Trunk Road about 8 km from Dina (near Jehlum) are the ruins of majestic Derawar Fort which was built by Sher Shah Suri during 1640-145 AD. The Fort manifests a powerful display of masonry with several interesting sites including the old concept of Baolis – water resources. A visit to the Fort gives an insight to the pages of history with its treasons, conflicts and victories. Rohtas Fort has been included in World Heritage Sites list.
The Imperial or Badshahi Mosque is located in front of Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort and is one of the largest mosques of world. Built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, last of the great Mughals, the Mosque presents a fine blend of white marble and red sandstone. This mosque can accommodate about one hundred thousand in a record time of two and-a-half years. Its construction was completed by 1674 AD.
It has a beautiful gate-way which measures 21.33 metres in length and a courtyard that measures 161.5 x 160.6 metres and is said to be the largest mosque courtyard in the world for outdoor prayers. 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 meters.
Golden Mosque or Sunehri Masjid
Golden Mosque is situated in the Kashmiri Bazaar of old Lahore. It was built in 1753 AD. It is remarkably beautiful with three golden domes. The mosque is elevated on a higher plinth, surrounded by old city bazaars. Because of its color the mosque glitters in the sunshine as if it is a golden miniature place to bow before the Almighty Allah.
Built during Shah Jahan’s reign in 17th century, Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque is located inside Lahore Fort beyond the audience hall. It was built for the exclusive use of royal ladies. It is carved from marble having the luster of pearls.
Wazir Khan's Mosque
Wazir Khan's Mosque is in the old city, 300 meters from Delhi Gate Lahore. Built in 1634 by Hakim Ali-ud-din, popularly known as Wazir Khan, who was governor of the area during the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Mosque is justifiably called “the architectural ornament of Lahore” for its rich display of colorful frescos and tile decoration which adorn both the interior and exterior of the building.
Near Derawar Fort in Cholistan Desert, stands elegantly a worth visiting Derawar Mosque, which is more than 100 years old and is built with white marble stone. The Derawar mosque is a thing of beauty, and said to be an exact replica of the Moti Masjid of Red Fort Delhi.
About 200 kms southwest of Bahawalpur is the extraordinary BHONG MOSQUE, one of Pakistan’s most elaborate, and ostentatious mosques. Conceived, designed, and financed by a local landlord, this grand mosque (completed in 50 years) reflects traditional local style integrated with stylistic elements borrowed from regional Islamic architectural forms.
Allama Iqbal's Tomb
Outside the Badshahi Mosque, near its steps, lies the Tomb of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938 AD), the poet-philosopher of Pakistan. The mausoleum is a blend of Afghan and Moorish styles architecture and is constructed of red sandstone which was brought from Rajasthan. The tombstone is in marble gifted by Afghan government.
The tomb of the fourth Mughal Emperor, Jehangir, lies three miles north-west of Lahore across the River Ravi. Built in 1637 AD, the tomb has a symmetrical and magnificent structure laid in the centre of his queen Noor Jahan’s garden. The outer entrance to the tomb opens out into a court-yard which was used as a caravan Serai during Mughal times. The marble tomb is approached from four corridors leading from the garden.
Noor Jehan's Tomb
The Empress Nur Jehan, "Light of the World", was the only empress whose name appeared on the coins of the Mughal empire. She was buried in 1645 AD at Shahdara (Lahore) outside Jehangir's mausoleum across the railway line.
Named after the famous Anarkali Bazaar and the legendary character of Anarkali, this tomb is located in Civil Secretariat premises of Lahore. Anarkali is said to have an affair with Mughal Emperor Jahangir who built her impressive tomb. It was used as first Christian Church by the British after their arrival in the region. The octagonal tomb now houses an archives Gallery about the Punjab province.
Situated 50 kms west of Bahawalpur, is one of the most ancient towns. It’s famous for its beautiful ruins and tombs ornamented with blue mosaic, and other embellishments. Among these tombs, the 15th century octagonal tomb of Bibi Jawindi is the best-known monument. It is reputed to have been the most important cultural centre during 13th century.
Three miles east of Lahore are the famous Shalimar Gardens laid out by the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan in 1642 AD. The Gardens are spread out in typical Mughal style and are surrounded by high walls with watch towers at the four corners. Covering an area of about 42 acres, the garden has three terraces and more than 400 fountains. It is also a world heritage site.
Bagh e Safa
Located near Kallar Kahaar Lake, Bagh e Safa is the oldest Mughal Garden in present day Pakistan. Built by first Mughal Emperor Babur on his way from Kabul to Dehli, the garden also houses Takht e Babri from where the emperor addressed his army. The garden is famous for loquats, peacocks and water springs.
Located amid River Ravi, Kamran’s Garden is the earliest Mughal garden in Lahore which was built in 1540 AD by Mirza Kamran, son of emperor Babur. Originally built across River Ravi at the outskirts of Lahore, the garden is now an island in River Ravi and is accessible by boats.