Categories: Lahore

by sangemeel

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Categories: Lahore

by sangemeel

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Gazetteer of the Lahore District 2022

Architectural Heritage

Uchay burj Lahore dey
Jithe vasde char mishal
Aithay Mian Mir di basti
Aithey Shah Jamaal
Ik pasey da Daata malik
Ik da Madho Laal

The architecture of Lahore bears witness to history as well as its artists’ and craftsperson’s skills and ingenuity. Historical monuments stand as proud sentinels that mark moments in the many centuries of its existence. Present day architecture of Lahore is an amalgam of influences and preferences. Equally, it serves as a symbolic statement – whether of modernity or traditional values, looking back or look forward, pride in lineage or pride in being ‘self-made’. Glass-fronted high-rise commercial and apartment buildings, and homes (big or small) that emphasise built area with little to no garden space are presently quite the norm. Despite its urban sprawl, the city always seem to be short on space to accommodate its millions.

Lahore is peculiar as landmarks in the city have been granted protection arbitrarily. The Metropolitan Corporation of Lahore (MCL) has declared The Mall a protected heritage zone. In addition to this, there are some buildings on the road that have heritage status granted by the provincial government. It is also peculiar in that its residential and commercial areas merge and blend at will: homes become offices, and eventually nudge nearby residents out to other parts of the city, and high-rise buildings suffocate smaller structures like trees competing for sunlight in a concrete forest.

As with most other aspects of the city, attempting to chronicle its architecture is a seemingly impossible task. Many remarkable exemplars of architecture, aesthetics and historical import are therefore left unmentioned, including haveliyaan, educational institutions, and government buildings, among others. This gazetteer will focus on just a few significant monuments that still stand as emblems of its remarkable history.

LAHORE FORT

The origins of the citadel of Lahore are shrouded in mystery, but it is mentioned in the record of invasions of Muhammad Ghuri in the years 1180, 84, and 86. Ruined by the Mongols in 1241, and rebuilt by Ghiyath-al-Din Balban in 1267, it was destroyed once more in 1398, this time by the armies of Timur. It was rebuilt in 1421 by Sultan Mubarak Shah; this version of sun-dried mud bricks was demolished by Akbar who had a new structure built out of bricks and solid masonry.

The fort is built such that everything is level internally, however the surrounding ground is much lower, especially on its north-western side. Additions over the years have added to the materials used for its construction: buildings erected by Akbar are mostly in brick and red sandstone, with the addition of marble in the structures built during the period of Jahangir. Buildings constructed during Shah Jahan’s time show considerable use of marble and abri (variegated) stone, with brick and chuna or qalai (lime plaster) work; they are lavishly decorated with inlay (pietra-dura), stone carvings, and reflective mirrors inlaid in plaster bases. The only addition in Aurangzeb’s time is the small Moti Masjid of purest white marble.

Of the many different forms of decoration used in this remarkable monument, the great mural of the western wall merits particular mention. Made of glazed tile work, it extends from the Hathi Pul to the extreme north corner of the wall – a surface 1,450 feet long with an average height of 50 ft – and is divided into rectangles and squares with mihrabi niches and adorned with chini work.

Gazetteer of the Lahore District 2022 - Sang-e-meel Publications

This is an excerpt from the book Gazetteer of the Lahore District 2022

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