The Lahore Fort (Punjabi and Urdu: Shahi Qila, or “Royal Fort”) is a citadel in the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The fortress is located at the northern end of walled city Lahore, and spreads over an area greater than 20 hectares. It contains 21 notable monuments, some of which date to the era of Emperor Akbar.LAHORE WEATHER
The fort was modified by Jahangir in 1618 and later damaged by the Sikhs and the British, although it has now been partially restored. Within it is a succession of stately palaces, halls and gardens built by Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, comparable to and contemporary with the other great Mughal forts at Delhi and Agra in India. It’s believed that the site conceals some of Lahore’s most ancient remains.
The fort has an appealing ‘abandoned’ atmosphere (unless it’s packed with visitors) and although it’s not as elaborate as most of India’s premier forts, it’s still a fabulous place to simply wander around.
The fort is entered on its western side through the colossal Alamgiri Gate, built by Aurangzeb in 1674 as a private entrance to the royal quarters. It was large enough to allow several elephants carrying members of the royal household to enter at one time. The small Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) was built by Shah Jahan in 1644 for the private use of the ladies of the royal household and was restored to its original delicacy in 1904.
(Hall of Public Audience) was built by Shah Jahan in 1631, with an upper balcony added by Akbar. It’s where the emperor would make a daily public appearance, receive official visitors and review parades.
(Jahangir’s Sleeping Quarters), a pavilion on the north side of his quadrangle, now houses a small museum of Mughal antiquities. One charming story about Jahangir is that he had a chain suspended outside the fort, which anyone unable to obtain justice through the usual channels could pull. A bell would ring in his private chambers and the petition would receive his personal attention.
(Palace of Mirrors), built by Shah Jahan in 1631, was closed for renovation at the time of research, but should be open by the time you read this. Decorated with glass mirrors set into the stucco interior, it was built for the empress and her court and installed with screens to conceal them from prying eyes. The walls were rebuilt in the Sikh period, but the original marble tracery screens and pietra dura (inlay work) are in remarkable condition. The view from here over the rest of the fort and Badshahi Mosque is rewarding.
There are three small museums on site (photography prohibited): the Armory Gallery exhibits various arms including pistols, swords, daggers, spears and arrows; the Sikh Gallery predominantly houses rare oil paintings; and the Mughal Gallery includes among its exhibits old manuscripts, calligraphy, coins and miniature paintings, as well as an ivory miniature model of India’s Taj Mahal
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