The Mochi Gate locally known as Mochi Darwaza (موچی دروازہ) is located within the Walled City of Lahore in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Mochi Gate is a historical gate built by the Mughals. It is at the site of one of the thirteen gates of the old walled city of Lahore.The Darwaza (Gate) used to exist next to the Laal Haveli, a prominent landmark at the entrance point. In Urdu, Mochi means cobbler (Cavalry Saddles and shoes repair person) which indicates that the bazaar was a market for shoes and repair shops. Mochi Gate is also known for ancient Mosque of Muhammad Saleh Kamboh, teacher of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
According to a legend it is named after Moti, a guard of the gate during the Mughal era, who guarded and looked after the gate all his life. The most likely origin of its name, however, seems to be from the word Morchi, which means trench soldier. The Governor's "Piada" units were stationed here during the pre-Mughal dynasty rule. This is further borne by the fact that the different streets (Mohalla's) which still bear their old names are the Mohalla Teer-garan (arrow craftsmen), Mohalla Kaman-garan (bow craftsmen). The bazaar around the Mochi gate is renowned for its shops of Dried fruit, kites and fireworks Further inside is the Mohalla Shia, where the traditional Shia (Islamic sect)of Lahore still gather annually, at Moharram (first lunar month of the Islamic calendar) to carry out the Majaalis (Shia religious gatherings) and Maatum (self chest beating)to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. A number of Imaam Bargahs in the form of Haveli's are situated here. Apart from their religious significance, some are a masterpiece depicting the architecture of their times. Mubarak Haveli, Nisar Haveli and Laal Haveli are, but a few examples. A Kebab Shop (Saeein Kabab wala), a sweet mart (Fazal Sweets and Rafiq Sweets) and an Old Khoo (water well)(Lal Khoo) are some of the well known features of Mohalla Shia. In front of the Laal Haveli is the Mochi Baagh. This, until recently, was a lush green patch with shady trees, it is barren now due to its landscaping to become a "speaker's corner" in the light of its history of it having numerous renowned political leaders addressing the crowds at this place. Now this garden (baagh) is used for wedding ceremonies by locals and for playing cricket by the local boys.
Mochi Baagh/Garden (موچی باغ) is Pakistan's most famous political rally spot. Mochi Baagh is located on the immediate right of Mochi Gate. Many renowned political leaders of Pakistan and the pre-independence era have delivered speeches here.
Until the late 1980s, it was commonly held that unless a politician could deliver a speech to a packed Mochi Baagh crowd s/he was not worth his/her political salt.
In March 2007, the PHA (Parks and Horticultural Authority) announced that maintenance works would be carried out in Mochi Baagh. Works proposed include the construction of a 27x33 (feet) stage, maintenance of stairs around the park, setting up of fountains, jogging tracks, the installation of benches and lights and the planting of grass.
In popular culture
- In response to the opposition chanting slogans in the Pakistan assembly, the speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain said “This is no Mochi Gate, Such slogans should not be raised in the assembly,”.
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