Lahore Fort

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Coordinates: 31°35′25″N 74°18′35″E / 31.59028°N 74.30972°E / 31.59028; 74.30972

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Lahore Fort.jpg
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii
Reference 171
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1981 (5th Session)
Endangered 2000–present

The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila (Punjabi, Urdu: شاہی قلعہ‎) is citadel of the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.[1] It is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore in Iqbal Park which is one of the largest urban parks in Pakistan. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares.

Night view of Badshahi Mosque

Origins of the fort go as far back as antiquity, however, the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal, Sikh and British rulers. It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque and other older one known as Maseeti (Punjabi language word means of Masjid) or Masjidi Gate which opens towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Masti Gate is permanently closed .The fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture.[2] Some of the famous sites inside the fort include: Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. In 1981, the fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Shalimar Gardens.

The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2010 is designed as a replica of the fort.[3]

Origins[edit]

The origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and are traditionally based on various myths.[4] However, during the excavation carried out in 1959 by the Department of Archaeology, in front of Diwan-e-Aam, a gold coin of Mahmood of Ghazni dated AH 416 (1025 AD) was found at a depth of 7.62 metres from the level of the lawns. Cultural layers continued to a further depth of 5 metres, giving strong indications that people had lived here long before the conquest of Lahore by Mahmood in 1021 AD.[5] Further mention of the fort is traceable to Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri's successive invasions of Lahore from 1180 to 1186 AD.

In 1758, the fort was captured by the Maratha forces under Raghunathrao.[6]

Then the Bhangi Sikh Dynasty (1716–1810), one of the 12 Sikh Kingdoms (Misl) of Punjab ruled Lahore City from 1760s until 1799 and expanded the City of Lahore. When Ranjit Singh, another Sikh chief from the Gujranwala area took Lahore from the Bhangi Misl the Lahore Fort fell to Ranjit Singh and in 1801 he was crowned as the emperor of all of the Punjab.

Lahore Fort and the city from (1799–1849) remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-e-Panjab, and his sons, grandsons and wives, until the fall of the last Sikh empire or the Lahore Darbar in 1849.

Timeline[edit]

A picture showing the Lahore Fort and Hazuri Bagh Pavilion in 1870.
Location of Fort within the Walled City of Lahore
  • It cannot be said with certainty when the Lahore Fort was originally constructed or by whom, since this information is lost to history, possibly forever. However, evidence found in archaeological digs gives strong indications that it was built long before 1025 AD.
  • 1241 AD - Destroyed by Mongols.
  • 1267 AD - Rebuilt by Anushay Mirza Ghiyas ud din Balban.
  • 1398 AD - Destroyed again, by Amir Tamir's army.
  • 1421 AD - Rebuilt in mud by Sultan Mubark Shah Syed.
  • 1432 AD - The fort is occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul who makes repairs to the damages inflicted on it by Shaikha Khokhar.
  • 1566 AD - Rebuilt by Mughal emperor Akbar, in solid brick masonry on its earlier foundations. Also perhaps, its area was extended towards the river Ravi, which then and until about 1849 AD, flowed along its fortification on the north. Akbar also built Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, the famous Jharoka-e-Darshan (Balcony for Royal Appearance), Masjidi Gate etc.
  • 1618 AD - Jehangir adds Doulat Khana-e-Jehangir
  • 1631 AD - Shahjahan builds Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace).
  • 1633 AD - Shahjahan builds Khawabgah (a dream place or sleeping area), Hamam (bath ), Khilwat Khana (retiring room), and Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque).[7]
  • 1645 AD - Shahjahan builds Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Special Audience).
  • 1674 AD - Aurangzeb adds the massively fluted Alamgiri Gate.

Structure[edit]

A view of the front of the Sheesh Mahal.
View of Alamgiri Gate at night.

The strategic location of Lahore city between the Mughal territories and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir required the dismantling of the old mud-fort and fortification with solid brick masonry.[8] The structure is dominated by Persian gardens influence that deepened with the successive refurbishments by subsequent emperors.[9] The fort is clearly divided into two sections: first the administrative section, which is well connected with main entrances, and comprises larger garden areas and Diwan-e-khas for royal audiences. The second - a private and concealed residential section - is divided into courts in the northern part, accessible through 'elephant gate'. It also contains Shish Mahal (Hall of Mirrors of Mirror Palace), and spacious bedrooms and smaller gardens.[10] On the outside, the walls are decorated with blue Persian kashi tiles. The original entrance faces the Maryam Zamani Mosque, whereas the larger Alamgiri Gate opens to the Hazuri Bagh through to the majestic Badshahi Mosque.[11]

Gallery[edit]

Other Imperial Mughal forts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Google maps. "Location of Lahore Fort". Google maps. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  2. ^ M Taher (1997). Encyclopaedic Survey of Islamic Culture. Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-7488-487-4
  3. ^ "Pakistan Pavillion for Shanghai World Expo". Pavilion Archive. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  4. ^ G Johnson, C A Bayly, and J F Richards (1988). The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-40027-9
  5. ^ S. Ahmed (2007. Three floors revealed at Lahore Fort. Dawn (newspaper). 28 April. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  6. ^ http://emotional-literacy-education.com/classic-books-online-a/tfmeh10.htm
  7. ^ Nath, R. (1982). History of Mughal Architecture. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-414-7. p. 422
  8. ^ Lahore Fort Complex. Archnet Digital Library. Retrieved 7 March 2008
  9. ^ N A Chaudhry (1999). Lahore Fort: A Witness to History. Sang-e-Meel Publications. ISBN 969-35-1040-2
  10. ^ Catherine E G Asher (1993) Architecture of Mughal India. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26728-5
  11. ^ A N Khan (1997). Studies in Islamic Archaeology of Pakistan. Sang-e-Meel Publications

External links[edit]