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Lahore (The Heart Of Pakistan)

History of Lahore

Lahore has been the capital of Punjab for nearly 1,000 years. Besides being the Mughal show-window, Lahore is the cultural, academic and intellectual centre of Pakistan. For 200 years, beginning from about 1525 AD, Lahore remained a thriving cultural centre of the great Mughal Empire, when the city was beautified with palaces, gardens, monuments and mosques. During the British regime, many monuments sprang up in Lahore which blended beautifully with the Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles of architecture.

Legend has it that the city was founded by two sons of Rama about 4,000 years ago. Reminiscence of its hoary past are the remains of a subterranean temple (attributed to Rama, the legendary hero of Ramayana) found in the northern part of the Royal Fort. Historically, it has been proved that Lahore is about 2,000 years old. Hieun-tsang, the famous Chinese Pilgrim, has given a vivid description of Lahore city, which he visited in the early 7th century AD. Abu Rehan Al-Biruni, in his Tarikh-e-Hind, at the time of Mahmud Gazni's invasion, also mentioned Lahore in detail.

Lying on the main trade and invasion route through South Asia, Lahore has been ruled, built and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. From 1021 to 1186, it was governed by Mehmud of Ghazni and the Ghaznavid dynasty, then by Muhammad of Ghor and finally by the various Sultans of Delhi. However, it touched the zenith of its glory during the rule of the great Mughals (1524-1752), who were fond of art, architecture and culture and gave Lahore some of its finest monuments that are extant today.

Lahore At A Glance

Elevation Area 213 metres above sea level500 kms (approximately)
Population 6.212 million (1998)
Local languages Punjabi, Urdu, English are widely spoken
Best time to visit Between the months of October March
Climate Warm in summer and cold in winter
Type of Clothing Tropical in summer and woolen in winter
Colonial Heritage
There are a number of beautiful buildings that Lahore has inherited from the British during their rule. Punjab University (Old Campus), built in 1882, is the oldest university of Pakistan. Lahore High Court, built in 1874 is the oldest superior court in Pakistan and the General Post Office, built in 1892 is one of the oldest buildings erected during the British Rule. Zamzama (Kim’s Gun) was cast in wax-technique in bronze in 1757. Government College, established in 1864, is the oldest higher education institution in Pakistan. Aitchison College established in 1886 stands over 186 acres.

Traditional and Modern Restaurants

Lahoris are known world over for their taste & love for eating. While Lahore has a great many traditional and modern restaurants, the turn of the century has seen the appearance of Western fast food chains, such as Mcdonald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway Sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts, Nando’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken in new shopping centres all over the city. A recent tourist attraction in Lahore are the famous food Street in the old historic districts of Lahore (Gawaalmandi, Anarkali, and Badshahi). Food Streets have undergone massive restorations and are cordoned off in the evenings for pedestrian traffic only, with innumerable cafes serving renowned local delicacies under the lights and

balconies of restored havelis (traditional residential dwellings).
Some of the trendiest restaurants in Lahore are concentrated on the MM Alam Road in Gulberg. Here dozens of world-class culinary establishments, ranging from western franchises to very traditional, ethnic, or theme restaurants, attract all manner of Lahore’s citizens, from affluent yuppies and hip teenagers to entire families celebrating a night out.

 Lying on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road, Lahore is linked with all major cities of Pakistan by road, rail and air. There are several daily flights, express trains and luxury bus services linking Lahore with Karachi, Quetta, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Peshawar and dozens of major cities & towns of the country. (Please check latest timings & fares at Pakistan International Airlines website  and Pakistan Railways website A number of private transport companies like Daewoo Express, ( Tel:111 007 008) Sky Ways, New Khan Road Runners, Dewan Express, Kohistan Bus Service etc. ply regular air-conditioned luxury buses between Lahore and a number of main cities of Pakistan.

Besides PIA, a number of International Airlines (Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Uzbekistan Airways and Air India etc.) have their direct flights to Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore. Under an agreement between Pakistan and India, Pakistani and Indian Railways jointly operate a weekly train "Samjhota Express" between Lahore and Delhi.

The train leaves Lahore at 11:00 hours on Mondays and Thurdays. Checkin time at lahore Railway Station 08:00 hours. First Class fare to Delhi is approximately US$ 10 and to Amritsar is around US$ 12 per person.
ffluent yuppies and hip teenagers to entire families celebrating a night out.
Bahawalpur 441 kms Karachi 1292 kms
Multan 335 kms Peshawar 436 kms
Quetta 1207 kms Rawalpindi Via GT, Road 275kms
Taxila 303 kms Islamabad Via GT, Road 288 kms

Zoo at Lahore

Located in the Heart of the town and set in modern style is the Lahore zoo founded in 1872. It is one of the oldest Zoos in the sub continent. The material used in some of the construction even bears the marks of 1853. The Lahore zoo attracts a large crowd throughout the year. Driving along the Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, just ahead of the charring cross and opposite to the WAPDA House is the main gate of the Zoo

13 Gates of Lahore

In the Mughal days, the Old City was surrounded by a 9 meter high brick wall and had a rampart running around it which served as a protection for the city. A circular road around the rampart gave access to the city through thirteen gates. Some of the imposing structures of these gates are still preserved.

1. The Raushnai Gate, or the "Gate of Light" is between the royal mosque and the citadels.
2. The Kashmiri Gate is so called because it faces the direction of Kashmir.
3. The Masti Gate is not the actual name but is rather twisted and pronounced instead of "Masjidi," which means a   mosque.
4. The Khizri or the Sheranwala Gate. As already noted, the river in former times flowed by the city walls, and the ferry was near this spot. The gate was, therefore, named Khizri, after the name of Khizr Elias, the patron saint, according to the Mahomedan belief, of running waters and streams, and the discoverer of the water of immortality.
5. The Yakki Gate. The original name was "Zaki," which was derived from the name of a martyr saint, who, according to tradition, fell fighting against the Moghal infidels from the north, while gallantly defending his city
6. The Dehli Gate is so called because of its opening on to the highway from Lahore to Delhi.
7. The Akbari Gate was named after Mahomed Jala-ud-din Akbar, who rebuilt the town and citadel.
8. The Mochi Gate is the name wrongly pronounced. It was name was actually Moti meaning a pearl. It was called so after the name of Moti Ram, an officer of Akbar, who resided here at that time.
9. The Shah 'Almi Gate was named after Mohomed Mo'azzam Shah 'Alam Bahadur Shah (the son and successor of Aurangzeb). He was a mild and generous Emperor, who died in Lahore on the 28th February 1712.
10. The Lahori Gate also known as the Lohari gate has been named after the city of Lahore.
11. The Mori Gate is the smallest of the gateways and as its name implies, was in old times used as an outlet for the refuse and sweepings of the city.
12. The Bhatti Gate was named after the Bhatis, an ancient Rajput tribe who inhabited these quarters in old times.
13. The Taxali Gate was named after the Taxal or royal mint, that used to be in its neighborhood during the period of the Mahomedan Emperors.

Gardens of Lahore

Hiran MinarHiran Minar is set in peaceful environs near Lahore. Hiran means deer. It used to be favorite hunting sport of all Muslim kings, especially of Moghals. Jehangir erected this minaret to commemorate the death of his pet deer (Maans Raaj). It served a double purpose as from it top the hunters could locate the habitations of deers. It is a beautiful picnic as well as a historic spot. A high Bara Dari Ghat is constructed right in middle of a Talab. A man made big lake, boating facility is also available. A good garden lay out is surrounding the place.

Chhanga MangaChhanga Manga is a man-made forest 68 kms from Lahore. There is a lake, and a miniature railway, which winds its way through its forest. Chhanga Manga has 12,510 acres of plantations. It is a popular picnic spot spread over 50 acres with a lake and rowboats, motorboats, children's park, swimming pool, cafeteria, canteen and rest houses.

Bagh-e-JinnahBagh-e-Jinnah was formerly known as Lawrence Gardens. It is opposite to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is amongst the biggest gardens of Lahore.

Jallo ParkThe Park is 28 kms from Lahore. It can be visited by road and by rail. A rail car leaves for Jallo Railway Station every half hour. Spread over an area of 450 acres it has expanses of lawns, a forest research center, a children's park, zoo, a small museum and a gift shop.

Gulshan-e-Iqbal ParkGulshan-e-Iqbal park in Allama Iqbal Town.

Iqbal ParkIqbal Park is around Minar-e-Pakistan.

Model Town ParkModel Town Park in Model Town.

Race Course ParkSituated on Jail Road, Race Course Park deservedly attracts not only town dwellers but visitors as well.

Fortress Stadium The Fortress Stadium is an attempt to combine the architecture of a fort like Rohtas with a sports stadium. The Stadium is the site of the famous Horse and Cattle Show in March.

Museum of LAHORE

Lahore MuseumThis museum was established during the British Raj in 1864. It displays a complete cross-section of the Culture and History of the region with rare and best collection of the Buddhist art from the Gandhara Period, Islamic artifacts, Calligraphy, Old Manuscripts, Arms, Costumes and Jewelry.

Fakir Khana MuseumA very large and interesting private Museum known as Faqirkhana lies inside the Bhatti Gate and is worth visiting. The museum houses a variety of old paintings, including some by great masters, original manuscripts in different languages and artifacts from South East Asia and the Indo-Pak sub-continent.

Shakir Ali MuseumThis museum was actually Shakir's House at 93, Tipu Block, New Garder Town, Lahore, which he made for himself. After his death it was bought by Idara-I-Saqafat-e-Pakistan and formally turned into a museum on April 3rd, 1976. The idea behind it was not only to preserve the great artist's paintings and other masterpieces under one roof but also to open this combination of modern and traditional archietecture to the public.

Mughal MuseumSituated at Poonch house, Multan Road, Lahore it was established in 1950. This is an Industrial and commercial Museum, which is meant to depict country's economic resources both in the form of raw products and worked objects. Its collection is arranged in one gallery and one large hall of the building. The main hall displays a range of variety of material such as well plated musical instruments, table lamps of camel skin from Multan and Bhawalpur, cotton, silken-woolen and embroidered textiles from all important cites of Pakistan.


Allama Iqbal's TombOutside the Badshahi Mosque, near its steps, lies the Tomb of Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher of the East. The mausoleum is a blend of Afghan and Moorish styles of architecture and is constructed entirely of red sandstone which was quarried and brought from Rajasthan.

Jehangir's TombThe tomb of the fourth great Mughal Emperor, Jehangir, lies three miles north-west of Lahore across the River Ravi. It has a majestic structure made of red sand-stone and marble. The outer entrance to the tomb opens out into a court-yard which was used as a caravan Serai during Mughal times. An entrance to the right leads into a Mughal garden with exact geometrical pattern balancing each side. The marble tomb is approached from four corridors leading from the garden.

Noor Jehan's TombThe Empress Nur Jehan, "Light of the World", was the only empress whose name appeared on the coins of the Mughal empire. She was buried in 1845 AD at Shahdara (Lahore) outside Jehangir's mausoleum across the railway line.

Qutub-ud-Din AibakHe was appointed Governor of India in 1191 AD by Muhammad Ghauri. He established the Slave Dynasty on the death of Muhammad Ghauri in 1206 when he assumed independence of his reign and was followed by nine other slave kings. He was a patron of the building art and is known to have erected some monumental stone buildings in Delhi and elsewhere. A very avid player of polo, he died in Lahore in 1210 AD while playing the game. His tomb can be visited in Anarkali Bazaar.

Tomb of Asif KhanIn the courtyard near Jehangir tomb lies buried his brother-in-law, Asif Khan, father of Shah Jehan's beloved Queen Arjumand Bano. He lies in a tomb that today shows little of its former splendor.


Bazaars and market places in the Lahore are of course legendary- the Kashmiri, Suha, Chhatta, Dabbi, Anarkali are the famous ones of the old city. Liberty, Main market, Barkat Market and Fortress Stadium are included in modern Lahore. These markets supply everything that anyone could possibly want; from cloth to copper, brass and silver-ware; watches and bangles to carpets, chapattis and chai. Everything is colorful and available in large variety and abundance and displayed to entice.

Anarkali Bazaar
Anarkali Bazaar is a treasure-trove, selling virtually everything from handicraft to transistor radio, tin sauce pan to refrigerator, a maze of lanes and alleys which stretch northwards from the Mall at the Central Museum end.
The bazaars in the old city are the ones people dreams about-tiny alleys, some of which will admit a rickshaw, a string of donkeys or carts- and pedestrians have to leap into doorways to give room. Some alleys are only possible single file.

Liberty Market
For the ladies ready made stylish suits, shops near the Liberty Market and Fortress Stadium are the best. For handicraft, The Mall is very popular, which sells shadow work embroidery at reasonable prices.

Ichra Bazaar
Ichra Bazaar has the best quality of unstitched silk, cotton and printed material of all sorts. On the other hand Mozang Bazaar sells some particularly interesting hand-block printed cloth, tablecloth and bedspread.

Wagha Border

Flag CeremonyWagha is the only land border open between Pakistan and India (Lahore-Amritsar route).

This check-post is about 30 kms from Lahore and is the cross-over point for travelers into India by the land route. It is open daily to foreigners only (except Indian and Pakistani nationals) from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. PST
A daily Flag-lowering ceremony is simultaneously on Pakistan and India side at Sun-set. This half an hour ceremony is attended by a large number of citizens and tourists. This two hours excursion from Lahore can be arranged with the assistance of Tourist Information Centre

Overland Crossing

The Wagha border post is open daily for foreigners; Summer (16 April to 15 October) 08:30 to 14:30 hrs and Winter (16 October to 15 April) 09:00 to 15:00 hrs. Minibus No.12 leaves from outside Lahore Railway Station for Wagha every 15 minutes, costs approx. US$ 0.20 per person. Taxi shall charge around US$ 8 for this half an hour journey.

Lahore-Delhi Bus ServicePakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has started a luxury, direct bus service between Lahore and Delhi w.e.f. 16 March, 1999. The 43-seater, air-conditioned bus leave simultaneously from Faletti’s Hotel, Egerton Road, Lahore and Dr. Ambedkar Terminal, Delhi Gate, New Delhi on every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 06:00 hours. One-way fare is equivalent to US$ 19 per person. The fare also includes cost of breakfast, lunch and evening tea enroute. Total travel time is 11 hours. For bookings and information, please contact PTDC office in Lahore (Tel:+92-42-6311961, 6363946-50 Fax:6364819 E-mail: and DTC office in Delhi (Tel:+91-11-3317445 Fax:3715877

The Lahore-Delhi (Samjhota Express) train leaves Lahore at 11:00 hrs on Mondays and Thursdays. Check-in time at Lahore Railway Station is 08:00 hrs. First Class fare to Delhi is approx.US$ 10, Economy Class is US$ 3 whereas Lahore-Amritsar First Class is US$ 2 and Economy Class is US$ 1 per person.(Note: The train may take almost 06 hours to reach Amritsar from Lahore, due to lenghty immigration/customs clearance and checking procedure for train passangers).

Lahore-Amritsar Bus Service (LABS)The Lahore terminal for LABS is the same as for LDBS, whereas in Amritsar (India), it is located at the International Bus Terminal, G.T. Road (Tel:0183-2587070). The buses leave simultaneously from both the terminals at 09:00 hours on every Wednesday and Friday. The buses reach their destinations at around 12:00 noon on the same day. One way fare is Pak. Rs. 900/- per person and Rs.600 per child. Excess baggage is charged @ Rs.30 per kg.

Nankana Sahib-Amritsar Bus Service (NABS)The NABS starts from PTDC Terminal near the Main Gate, Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Railway Road, Nankana Sahib (Tel: 0562-876780) and terminates at the International Bus Terminal, G.T. Road Amritsar (Tel:0183-2587070). The bus leaves from Nankana Sahib at 08:00 hours (Pakistan time) on every Tuesday and Saturday and arrives Amritsar at around 13:30 hours (India time). Departure from Amritsar is on every Wednesday and Friday. One way fare is Rs.1200/- per person and Rs.800/- per child. Excess baggage is charged @ Rs.50/- per kg.

Conducted ToursThere are morning and afternoon sightseeing tours and excursions in and around Lahore. For more information and advance reservation please contact PTDC Tourist information Centre Lahore.
Tel: 042-5756737


  1. Lahore District was agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture that invaded from Central Asia and settled in Punjab region.
    Lahore Weather


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