After years of negligence and a lack of serious preservation efforts, the historic buildings and facades of Lahore’s old city are being rescued from further deterioration. The overall jurisdiction of the walled city includes various heritage and historical buildings, including a sacred gurdwara, Hindu temples, and old mosques. There is a population of about 300,000 living within the walled city today. The old city is known for its unique and ancient wooden balconies, temples, gurdwaras, havelis, narrow winding streets, and busy bazaars.
The Walled City of Lahore initiative has helped promote cultural activities and tourism in the city. The initiative allows visitors, both local and foreign, to get acquainted with the history, architecture, lifestyle, and community of old Lahore. From the old days of the Mughal Empire to British colonial rule, visitors walk through the various heritage sites that speak about the original structure as well as the additions made during the Sikh rule and transformations of the British colonial period.
Pervaiz Qureshi, a prominent architect, urban planner, and CEO of Unicon Consulting Services based in Lahore, was part of the initial stages of this initiative. “A number of us were of the view that we need to put together a separate entity and organizational structure for the walled city alone so we could focus on the development work that’s going on,” he said. “Ten years ago a movement was picked up and eventually an organization was set up in 2012 which was called the Walled City of Lahore Authority.”
“There were challenges and problems; the character was different because Lahore is an old city with its heritage dating back to thousands of years,” he added. “It’s a city that had been destroyed multiple times and rebuilt at number of occasions. So, there were some unusual set of issues relating to its urban fabric.” In addition to the Walled City of Lahore Authority, Qureshi has also consulted for numerous donor and international agencies like USAID, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, and the Agha Khan Foundation.
According to Qureshi, one of the main issues was the extraction of the historical walled city from the old development authority, as it wasn’t getting any attention and the buildings were quickly deteriorating. “Starting from 1979 to 1981, a series of recommendations were listed, first of which was to try to document the old city in terms of old heritage and see how we could conserve and preserve the history of old monuments,” he said. The Walled City of Lahore program was put into effect in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. AKTC supports the Walled City Authority in all technical matters in terms of restoration and conservation work being carried out. Other donors include the World Bank, Royal Norwegian Government, USAID, and the German Embassy.
Old Lahore is a hub of commercial activity, with a number of shops, vendors, and bazaars lining most areas around the Walled City. Some shops and stands encroach on public pathways, making it difficult for residents and visitors to walk around. “The first step involved creating a plan and deciding on preservation work on some designated areas. Under the auspices of the Aga Khan foundation, we put together a team of people and they selected an area which is called the Shahi Guzergah. This was taken up as a pilot project to not only investigate but to evolve a conservation plan and have it documented,” explains Qureshi. The trail was named Shahi Guzargah; some of the historians report that it was used by the Mughal emperors and their entourages.
Image Credit: Zareen Muzaffar
“Shahi Guzergah was one of the most difficult areas to select, and the choice of selection and criteria was not perhaps very wisely chosen. And that is one of the reasons why it has taken them so long to implement,” says Qureshi. “A lot of people asked why this area was chosen. Once you do an intervention of a large scale urban development you try to select a pilot project which is very simple to do. You experiment with a simple area and then go on to a more complicated one.”
Due to extraordinary structures such as the Wazir Khan mosque, the area also has a lot of businesses in the vicinity that had to be relocated for the ongoing renovation and preservation efforts. It has taken many years for the plan to be implemented because of a range of persistent problems in the neighborhood.
These are various interventions of a larger program. According to Qureshi, the Punjab government has a larger plan where they want to evolve the garden spaces and have them integrated with the old city. There are some sections that are being funded by the Punjab government and being realigned with the routes and traffic management.
The Walled City Authority offers various curated tourist experiences for locals and foreigners. The guided tours are planned according to routes, for instance, one route covers all major sites such as Delhi Gate, Shahi Hammam, Wazir Khan Mosque. After covering all designated areas, it ends at the popular Food Street. The tours offer visitors a vantage view of all the old city has to offer.
Lahore has a population of about 19,418,854. It is the capital of the province of Punjab, in Pakistan. Lahore is located along the bank of river Ravi. It is centrally situated and is generally known as “The Heart of Pakistan”.
Lahore is the heart of Pakistan, the historical city of Punjab and the second biggest city in Pakistan. It is truly in many ways a rare city. Lahore implies in different ways for different persons, it is the city of gardens, colleges, historical structures, Landmarks and the capital city of Punjab. There are thousands of workplaces where countless people are employed.
Lahore enjoys the great geographical position bounded by the northern gulf of the Sheikhupura Area, around the far-east towards Wagah, along with the Kasur Area towards the south. The famous River Ravi flows around the north area of Lahore. Lahore city has a territory area of 404 km² and is expanding rapidly. The city of Lahore located around the River Ravi positioned about 20 km’s from the Wagah boundary and is fifty-five-kilo meters from the Indian city Amritsar.
Lahore is the core of education and training. It is the city where Punjab University and government College University located. It has a lot of famous colleges and Universities, people from all over the Pakistan come’s Lahore every year to study and fulfill their dreams. It has a population of more than 10 million, People belonged to every kind of religion and every walk of life has been living in this great city since centuries.
A long time ago, Pilgrims, travelers, and wanderers used to come there with long lasting households and became settled in this city. These people had brought with them brand new concepts, ideas, cultures, and customs, Due to which Lahore had become the jewel in Sub-Continent.
Lahore is located on the left bank of River Ravi. This great city is divided into two parts commonly known as “Central Lahore” and “Outside Lahore”. The Central Lahore is a very old place. It had been founded a long time ago by Lav who was one of the Son of Raja Ram Chandar.
The city had been made similar to the shape of a parallelogram and the area within the walls of a city (central Lahore or Older Lahore) is about 461-kilo meters. The position of the central Lahore is 31’-34′ Northern latitude and within 74’ — 20′ East longitude.
The streets are thin even the turns, the architecture of houses are complex nevertheless, many of them are not airy but nicely lightened. The bazaar of Lahore are densely crowded, perhaps the Anarkali Bazar may be the busiest part of the city.
Lahore is famous for many things. The areas of Lahore which are really worth seeing include Lahore Fort, Minar-e-Pakistan, Sunehri Masjid, Wazir Khan Masjid, Iqbal Park, Shalamar Garden, Badshahi Mosque, Tombs of Jehangir and Nur Jehan which lie in Shahdara.
In accordance with the temperature of the city, we will find two main seasons which are winter season and summer season. The monsoon period is at the top level during the months of September and May. The rain during these 8 weeks is equal to the 50% of total rain during the year. The driest months that this city faces every year are October and the winter rain pour down on the city from December to February. That’s why there is certainly a lot of rainwater making the city’s gardens a lot more lovely when compared them with they are already.
Tourists from all over the world attract towards its historical places, Such as Lahore fort, which was created by Mughal emperor Akbar, Shalamar bagh that was created by Jahangir, Badshahi mosque which was created by Orengzaib Alamgir. The Jahangir’s tomb is also very famous. Therefore, there was a lot of development in Lahore in the time of the Mughal emperors and this city got its beautiful landmarks in the time of the Mughal rulers. These places are very famous for their ancient architecture and beautiful gardens. Also, in the era of Jahangir and Shar shah Sori Lahore was the capital of their domain.Lahore had been serving as the capital of Punjab since centuries. It was conquered by Mahmood Ghaznavi in 1021 A.D and became the administrative center in the overall Ghaznavid Empire by Masud, the son of Mahmood. It was the time Period when Lahore grew to become one’s heart in the social, cultural and educative occasions and got its beautiful Landmarks under the rule of the Mughal Empire of India.
Lahore has a rich cultural heritage which it got from several civilizations. This city was successively supported as a regional capital for the empire of Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the time of 12th Century, Mughal Empire within the sixteenth Century, the actual Sikh extension within the early nineteenth Century, also it has been the administrative center of the Punjab under the British Raj in the middle of the nineteenth Century and early twentieth Century. Lahore remained the traditional capital of Punjab for centuries.
Lahore had reached his glorious heights in the era of Mughal rulers. Under the rule of Mughals, this city had received the lovely fortification, beautiful buildings, gardens, tombs, mosques, and pavilions. There are several old titles documented for this beautiful city. These titles are Lahanoor, Mahmood pur, Loh pur, Lohar pur.Like many big cities, Lahore has many problems with traffic, population and load shedding. Most of the people follow traffic rules, but still there is too much traffic jam because traffic signals do not work properly. It’s another major problem is a rapid increase in population, Due to this rapid increase Lahore is getting bigger and bigger at a very fast rate. Therefore, the problem of creating new roads and maintenance arises due to the lack of funds. Another problem of Pakistan is due to the rapid increase of population there is no balance among the freshly created graduates and job opportunities for them. The air isn’t clean, but it is cleaner than it was 57 years ago. Until the clean air act in 1956, Lahore is famous for its spicy foods, which are very delicious.
The best thing about Lahore is its spicy foods and monuments, which are very famous. The Food Street of Lahore is one of the most famous and expensive Food Street which is located at the back of Lahore fort. The most famous items of this street are lahory biryani, Siri pava, Pathora, Mutton karahi, Lahore broast and dahgi chargah. Tourists from all over the world come’s here to enjoy these spicy foods. The scene of the food street is one of the fascinating sites of the Lahore city. The Lahore Metro bus system truly distinguished it from other cities of Pakistan, this bus route is 27-Killometers long and consists of 29 stations from Gajumata to Shahadra and it covers almost all the major parts of a city. This system really made the life of most people easier. There are many Malls in this city but the famous one’s are “Mall of Lahore” and the “Sadiq trade center” but my favorite is “Mall of Lahore”, which is the biggest and most popular Mall in this city.