Lahore Fort is a Beautiful Place in Pakistan
The Lahore Fort or Shahi Qila is a castle in the city of Lahore, Pakistan. The fortress is established at the northern end of Lahore’s Walled City and covers over an area greater than 20 hectares. It includes 21 famous monuments, some of which date to the era of Emperor Akbar. The Lahore Fort is famous for having been almost completely rebuilt in the 17th century when the Mughal Empire was at the height of its glory and opulence. Though the position of the Lahore Fort has been populated for millennia, the first record of a strong structure at the site was in regard to an 11th-century mud-brick fort. The bases of the modernized Lahore Fort date to 1566 during the reign about Emperor Akbar, who presented the fort with a syncretic structural style that featured both Islamic and Hindu themes. Additions from the Shah Jahan period are described by expensive marble with inlaid Persian floral designs, while the fort’s grand and iconic Alamgiri Gate was constructed by the last of the great Mughal Emperors, Aurangzeb, and faces the famous Badshahi Mosque. After the breakdown of the Mughal Empire, the Lahore Fort was used as the habitation of Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire. The fort then passed to British colonialists after they attached Punjab following their success over the Sikhs at the Battle of Gujrat in February 1849. In 1981, the fort was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its “excellent repertoire” of Mughal monuments beginning from the period when the empire was at its beautiful and appreciative zenith.
The first historical reference to a fort at the place is from the 11th century during the rule of Mahmud of Ghazni. The fort was constructed of mud and was destroyed in 1241 by the Mongols during their attack of Lahore. A new fort was built in 1267 at the site by Sultan Balban of the Turkic Mamluk administration of the Delhi Sultanate. The re-built fort was destroyed in 1398 by the invading armies of Timur, only to be reconstructed by Mubarak Shah Sayyid in 1421, In the 1430s, the fort was controlled by Shaikh Ali of Kabul and remained under the control of the Pashtun sultans of the Lodi family until Lahore was occupied by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1524.
The use of elephant-shaped standard brackets indicates Hindu attractions on the syncretic structural style of Emperor Akbar. The present design and construction of the fort trace its origins to 1575 when the Mughal Emperor Akbar owned that site as a post to secure the northwest frontier of the empire. The important area of Lahore, inside the Mughal empires & the palaces of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir necessitated the dismantling of the old mud-fort and support with solid block masonry. High palaces were established over time, along with lush green gardens. Important Akbar period structures involved the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Akbari Gate. Many Akbari structures were modified or replaced by consequent rulers.
The fort’s extensive Picture Wall dates from the Jahangir period.
Emperor Jahangir first mentions his modifications to the fort in 1612 when representing the Maktab Khana. Jahangir also added the Kala Burj arcade, which emphasizes European-inspired angels on its arched ceiling. British visitants to the fort noted Catholic iconography during the Jahangir period, with paintings of the Madonna and Jesus discovered in the fort complex. In 1606, Guru Arjan of the Sikh religion was imprisoned at the fort before his death. Jahangir gave the massive Picture Wall, a 1,450 feet (440 m) by 50 feet (15 m) wall which is exquisitely furnished with a vigorous array of shiny tile, faience mosaics, and frescoes. The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum was built near to the forts eastern walls when the reign of Jahangir. While the mosque likely served as a Friday congregational mosque for members of the Royal Court, it was not supported by Jahangir, although it likely needed his approval.
Shah Jahan period
Shah Jahan‘s first influence to the fort inaugurated in the year of his coronation, 1628, and constant until 1645. Shah Jahan first ordered the construction of the Diwan-i-Aam in the style of a Chehel Sotoun – a Persian style 40-pillar public audience hall. Though the building of the Shah Burj started under Jahangir, Shah Jahan was annoyed with its design and elected Asif Khan to supervise rebuilding. Shah Jahan’s Shah Burj forms a quadrangle with the well-known Sheesh Mahal and Naulakha Pavilion. Both are connected to Shah Jahan, although the Naulakha Pavilion may be a later expanding possibly from the Sikh era. The white marble Moti Masjid, or Pearl Mosque, also date of the Shah Jahan period.
The fort’s iconic Alamgiri Gate was constructed when the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.
Emperor Aurangzeb constructed the Alamgiri Gate, whose semi-circular towers and domed arcades are a widely identified representative of Lahore that was once featured on Pakistani currency.
The Mughals fell the fort to the Afghan Durranis, who in turn briefly fell the fort to Maratha armies before being recovered by the Durranis. The fort was then taken by the Bhangi Misl – one of the 12 Sikh Misls of Punjab that commanded Lahore from 1767 until 1799. The fort surrendered to the army of Ranjit Singh, who took Lahore from the Bhangi Misl in 1799. Maharaja Duleep Singh was born at that fort’s Jind Kaur Haveli in 1838. Duleep Singh had approved the Treaty of Bhyroval in 1847 that made the Sikh empire to a useful end. The fort and the city had rested under the control of Ranjit Singh’s family till the defeat of the Sikh empire in 1849.
During their control of the fort, the Sikhs repurposed divisions of the fort for their personal use. The fort’s grand Moti Masjid was effectively changed into a Sikh gurdwara, while Ranjit Singh used the fort’s Summer Palace as his own residency. The Sehdari pavilion, or “Three-doored” pavilion, was added to the fort as a Sikh rule. The fort’s Naag Temple was also built during the Sikh rule, while the Mai Jindan Haveli was greatly changed during Sikh rule. The fort’s Diwan-i-Aam was slaughtered in 1841 when the son of Ranjit Singh, Sher Singh attacked the fort in his battle against Chand Kaur.
Hollows in 1959 in front of Diwan-i-Am led to the development of a gold coin dated 1025 CE relating to Mahmud of Ghazvani. The coin was discovered at the depth of 25 feet (7.6 m) from the lawn. The cultural layers were consecutive to the depth of 15 feet (4.6 m) symbolizing that the fort was occupied by people even before his victory. While relaying the degenerated floor of Akbari Gate in April 2007, three floors in the fort were discovered relating to the British, Sikh and Mughal eras. The floor of the British, Sikh and Mughal periods was built with bricks, burnt bricks and pebbles individually. The latter either constructed during Jahangir’s or Shah Jahan’s period was the hallmark of Mughals.