The Lahore Fort is one of the most prestigious structures in the world. It has been a symbol of the city’s early days, rising out of the northwest corner of the walled city. The Lahore Fort is the major attraction of the Old City, having been built, destroyed, dismantled, rebuilt, and renovated numerous times until being given its final shape by Emperor Akbar in 1566 (when he declared Lahore his capital).
The Lahore Fort, also known as SHAHI QILA, is a time capsule that covers centuries. The Fort’s early history is buried in mystery, and nothing is known about it. The Fort is said to have been erected as early as the city itself, and its construction is credited to mythological Loh, a son of the legendary Ramayana hero (1200-800 B.C).
Located in the northwest corner of the walled city, the fort measures around 427 meters east-west and 335 meters north-south, omitting the defensive wall constructed later during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Sikh rule (1799–1839 A.D.).
It is surrounded by a fortification wall made of tiny burned bricks. The major gates are in the center of both the east and west walls. In the northwest corner, there is a doorway that leads to the royalty’s private dwelling. The fort was primarily a fortress-palace, but it also acted as a storage facility for the royal treasury and a stronghold in the event of a war.
The Sikhs occupied the Fort after the Mughal monarchy fell in Punjab in the 18th century. On the top ramparts, Maharaja Ranjit Singh built many pavilions. The fort was occupied by the British troops in 1849. During the British colonial period, the fort was modified mostly by turning existing structures into hospitals, barracks, and other colonial services.
The Moti Masjid was restored to its original state in 1899, on the instructions of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of the Subcontinent, and certain holy relics were kept at the Badshahi Mosque.
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir built the Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort in 1673. From the west, facing Badshahi Mosque and Huzoori Bagh, it is the primary entrance to the Lahore Fort. The imposing entryway is flanked by two semi-circular bastions with strongly fluted shafts and lotus petal bases, which are topped with domed pavilions.
It is believed that the Gate was destroyed during a war between the Sikhs and the British and that the British later rebuilt it.
AKBARI GATE (MASTI GATE)
This majestic royal gate was named after Akbar the Great, the third Mughal Emperor, who rebuilt the fort with burned bricks and added numerous mind-blowing structures. This gate, which was constructed in 1666 and faces the Rim Market and the Mariam Zamani Masjid, was built by Emperor Jahangir for his mother and is located on the eastern side of the Lahore Fort. According to historians, there was formerly a garden that connected this entrance to the Mosque.
The gate is raised above ground level and large enough for an elephant to pass through its broad wooden entrance. The gate has two floors with rooms on the interior, which the watch guards and other troops must have utilized. The gate has a basement and it was known as Akbari Sarai (Akbar’s Rest House)
DIWAN-E-AM (Hall of Public Audience)
Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the hall of forty pillars in 1631-3, which Asif Khan (brother of Nur Jahan, the Empress of Shah Jahan’s father, Jahangir) oversaw and finished in three years. The structure was built in front of Akbar’s Daulat Khana-e-Khas Jharoka, which occupied the northern half of the city.
The Quadrangle was started by Akbar and finished by his son Jahangir between 1617 and 1618. Its elements mirror Hindu temple design and relate to Akbar’s tolerance policy, having been constructed for seven hundred thousand rupees.
SHAH JAHAN’S QUADRANGLE
The Quadrangle of Shah Jahan is a work of art in which you can observe white marble buildings that shine in the sunlight and glimmer in the night. The Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) is located in Shah Jahan’s quadrangle to the east of the Lal Burj. This was built with the intention of hosting private gatherings and meetings. The Emperor would attend to state issues in this location, and courtiers and state guests would be welcomed with Mughal formality and grandeur.
Many other magnificent structures are part of Lahore Fort, some of these include Musaman Gate, Makatib Khana, Daulat Khan-E-Khas-O-Aam, Hammam-E-Shahi, Paien Bagh, Shish Mahal, Naulakha Pavilion, Moti Masjid, and Picture Wall.
In 1981, UNESCO designated Lahore Fort as a World Heritage Site (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
In 2014, the Archaeology Department Punjab handed the Lahore Fort to the Walled City of Lahore Authority. Since then, WCLA has had the administrative authority of the Fort.
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