An ideal manifestation of multiple eras, the Lahore Fort is a standalone composition of a magnificent structure. It is also called ‘Shahi Qila.’ It symbolizes the vast history of Mughal architecture development.
Due to its fantastic ambiance and splendid grandeur, it became the World Heritage Sites by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1981.
If not crowded, the fort possesses an enticing charm of desolation. This fort is super enough for peacefully roaming about and imagining the aura of Mughal dynasties.
Location and Dimensions
Fort Lahore is a settlement of historical values in the town of Lahore. It scales horizontally and vertically 477m and 335m, respectively, in the north, south, east and west directions.
It stands more precisely on the northwest side along with the walled city of Lahore. Small charred stones surround the defensive wall. In the midways are the main doors to both the east and the west walls.
The early background of the fort is unavailable and exists as of old as the city is. However, the present ambiance and fabrication of different artworks root back its origin to 1575.
Long before its current appearance, a couple of demolitions and renovations exist history. Different successors of the Mughal throne helped the fort to restore its glory. Major renovations of the fort started by Akbar and later on adorned by Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. Afterward, Sikhs occupied the fort and disrupted many of its belongings.
Because of Lahore’s vital location between Mughal lands and the large fortresses of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir, the ancient mud-fort had to be removed. Akbar carried out the mud removal and brick constructions of the walls. Over time, sky-long castles and magnificent gardens were constructed.
The Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Akbari Gate were all notable constructions during the Akbar reign. Subsequent kings altered or replaced many of the Akbari constructions.
With European-inspired angels, Jahangir also added the Kala Burj pavilion that has a rounded roof. Finely embellished with vibrant tiles and mosaics, the massive Picture Wall was a gift from Jahangir. During his reign, Jahangir constructed the Mariyam Zamani Begum Mosque next to the forts of the eastern walls.
Shah Jahan’s Extension
The Diwan-i-Aam, a 40-pillar public audience hall in Persian architecture, was built first by Shah Jahan. The white marble Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque also represents the Shah Jahan period. Shah Jahan is also credited with the Sheesh Mahal and the Naulakha Pavilion.
The modern time representation of Lahore fort is its gigantic public gate named as ‘Alamgiri Gate.’ Mughal emperor Aurangzeb constructed it during his dynasty.
The Mughals eventually lost the fort to the Afghan Durranis. A Sikh conquered the fort in 1767, and after 32 years of his rule, it fell to Ranjit Singh’s forces, who used it as his house.
In April 2007, when repairing the destroyed floor of Akbari Gate, they discovered three floors from the British, Sikh, and Mughal periods in the fort. Throughout the British, Sikh, and Mughal periods they used bricks, burnt bricks, and pebbles to build the floors.
There are two segments in the fort. One is the administrative area to the main gateways, which features gardens and Diwan-e-Khas. Another one is a private section which is in the north and further divided into courts.
While considering the whole picture, this fort has quite a clear indication of Mughal and indo-Islamic architecture. Indian, Islamic, Timurid, and even European styles influenced Mughal architecture. The Mughal artisans incorporated these borrowed forms into their particular architectural style in terms of symbolism and design. On the whole, 21 eminent monuments enhance their beauty.
The base of the fort has the marvelous design of lotus petals. The fort’s architecture characterizes Akbar’s reign by red sandstone and cut brickwork. In Jahangir’s quadrangle, animals figures demonstrate Hindu elements used in Mughal architecture. The use of marble, Persian patterns, pietra-dura, and tile mosaic work are the main features of Shah Jahan’s buildings.
Primary structures of the fort make up Shah Burj Quadrangle, Shah Jahan Quadrangle, and Jahangir’s quadrangle. Besides these quadrangles, Khilawat khana, Maktab khana, and three mighty gates collectively boost the brilliance of the Lahore Fort.
- Naulakha pavilion, Picture wall, Sheesh mahal, and summer palace mutually compose Shah Burj quadrangle.
- Diwan-i-Khas and Khwabgah of Shah Jahan are part of Shah Jahan’s quadrangle.
- Jahangir’s quadrangle consists of Diwan-i-Aam, Kharak Singh haveli, Khwabgah of Jahangir, and the Sehdari pavilion.
Khilawat khana includes Kala Burj and Lal Burj. Chand Kaur built a Sikh temple named Naag, and Moti Masjid, built by Shah Jahan, is also part of the beauty of Lahore fort. Three gates contain the Akbari gate, the main Alamgiri gate of entrance, and the Shah Burj gate.
Pakistan requested to add Lahore Fort to the list of World Heritage in Danger in a letter to the agency in 2000. In 2006, UNESCO removed the fort’s name from the list of threatened World Heritage Sites after years of costly reconstruction and restoration work funded by Europe and Hong Kong.
Suburbs of Lahore fort
Minar-e-Pakistan borders the fort’s northern edge and Iqbal Park, while the great Badshahi mosque resides west of Lahore fort. The Alamgiri gate is a group of structures that form a quadrangle surrounding the Hazuri Bagh, including the Badshahi Mosque, Roshnai Gate, and Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi. The Minar-e-Pakistan and Iqbal Park border the fort’s northern edge.
In a nutshell, Lahore Fort is a magnificent sight in Lahore that represents the rich history and culture of Lahore’s Walled City. It necessitates a significant amount of time and effort to explore and enjoy.