Lahore is a city of culture, history, architecture, landmarks, ethnicity, art, food, music, fashion and what not. So readers, fasten your seat belts and get ready for a roller coaster ride from old Lahore to new Lahore.
The history of Lahore dates back an estimated 2000 years. Lahore came to prominence when it was officially made the eastern capital of the Ghaznavid Empire in 1152 A.D under the rule of Khusro Shah. It is a perfect blend of Mughal, Western, Persian, Greek and Modern cultures. The ancient structures from the Mughal Empire are a proof of the dynasty’s love for architecture and art. Some buildings and universities were built during the British colonial rule embodying Mughal, Victorian and Gothic styles.
The best time to visit Lahore is spring. A festive atmosphere of Jashn-e-Baharan prevails throughout the city. The ambience is florid, colorful and aromatic while the décor along the roadsides is a sight worth seeing. The canal is embellished with fascinating floats portraying the colors of Pakistani culture and is illuminated at night. There are long rows of vehicles as people stop by to take pictures of the mesmerizing sight. The National Horse and Cattle Show, that lasts a week, at the Fortress Stadium, has an essence of tradition in itself. Many trade exhibitions, convocations, workshops, trainings and corporate events are held at the Lahore International Expo Centre. Most of the cultural bustle takes place at Alhamra Arts Council where miscellaneous forms of art, music, craft and literature are promoted. The International Puppet Festival, initiated and organized by the Rafi Peer Cultural Complex, is the biggest cultural event for children, held in Pakistan.
Also known as the City of Gardens, Lahore is home to abundant offerings for those looking to relax among the flora. The second largest city of Pakistan and the Capital of Punjab, Lahore is divided into nine zones covering a total land area of 156 square miles.
Lahore comes foremost in catching attention of tourists from all over the world as it is the Cultural Capital of Pakistan. Landmarks like Minar-e-Pakistan, Badshahi Masjid, Shahi Qila, Wazir Khan Masjid, Lahore Fort and Sheesh Mahal are some of the masterpieces of our architectural heritage. Then there is a list of tombs located in Lahore including Allama Iqbal’s Tomb, Jahangir’s Tomb, Noor Jehan’s Tomb, Anarkali’s Tomb, etc. The Walled City of Lahore, locally known as Androon Shehr, reflects the historic side of Lahore. It is famous for its unique buildings, narrow streets and bazaars. Another major reason for visiting Lahore for many people is the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Ali Usman Hajvery (r.a) called Daata Darbar or Daata Gunj Baksh. Every year a local holiday is observed on the occasion of Urs of Daata Sahib which is celebrated with zeal and zest.
Shalamar Garden, constructed in 1641 is one of the oldest gardens. Lawrence Garden or Bagh-e-Jinnah is one of the most beautiful gardens in Pakistan. The two well-known libraries; Quaid-e-Azam Library and Darussalam are also situated in Bagh-e- Jinnah. Race Course Park is famous for its spring festivities. The Industrial Exhibition, Floral Exhibition, and horse racing competition are held here annually. The artificial waterfall, a lake in the shape of Pakistan’s map, walking and jogging tracks and dancing fountains enhance the beauty of the park.
The transportation system of Lahore is very efficient; new flyovers and underpasses have been built to shun traffic jams. Rickshaws and horse carts are famous and affordable means of transportation. Lahore Metro-bus, a rapid transit service, is also facilitating the public. Besides this, the Orange Line — an automated rail transit is under process. The cab services of Uber and Careem are of much convenience since they have been introduced. The roads and streets are not only busy all day long but also during the night due to the dynamic and enchanting nature of the people of Lahore; they live every moment! Do not forget to plan a trip on the open roof double-decker bus with your family. It has been given the name of Sightseeing Lahore. The busses are especially designed to promote tourism services. Resounding with the melodious music and patriotic songs, this service provides the best opportunity to explore Lahore in one day.
Visit to the museums is a must during your stay in Lahore. It is one of the oldest and best museums of Pakistan. Lahore Museum, located on Mall Road established in 1865, has the largest collection of artifacts, antiques, and craft objects in Pakistan. One of the newly constructed museums is the Army Museum, inaugurated in 2017 which depicts the true picture of the struggle and sacrifices of our soldiers. It has a collection of weapons, military accolades and vehicles.
Lahoris are well aware of the importance of sports as well. International and national sports events are held here throughout the year. Gaddafi Stadium situated in Lahore is the biggest cricket stadium of Pakistan.
Lahore Zoo, Safari Park and Joyland are the most entertaining spots for children. At the Wagah Border Ceremony, an everyday military practice of lowering the flags of both India and Pakistan, has its own charm. The essence of enthusiasm is felt in the air when the crowd chants Pakistan Zindabad!
Come to Lahore and you will experience shopping at the next level. Emporium Mall, Packages Mall, Fortress Square, Mall of Lahore, Mall of Defence, Siddique Trade Centre, DHA Hally Tower, Amanah Mall, Xinhua Mall and many more are designed in compliance with international standards. Some malls are under construction and it seems as if Lahore will become the City of Malls in the next five years. For the customers who find the merchandise at the malls exorbitant, Shah Alam Market, Ichra Bazaar, Auriga, and Anarkali Bazaar are the places to visit. Urdu Bazaar is a huge market where you can go for books and stationery shopping, as thousands of books are published and sold here. Shopping experience is incomplete without visiting the Liberty Market and M.M. Alam Road. The M.M. Alam Road is home to all the swanky brands, fashion studios and fine dining restaurants. Restaurants like Spice Bazaar, Subway, Café Aylanto, Tuscany Courtyard, to name a few are the It place for all. Then there is a plethora of restaurants featuring desi cuisine, among which Muhammadi Nihari, Phujay Kay Paaey, Haji Sardar Machli Farosh, Lahore Broast , Gogay Kay Chanay are most famous for their enticing flavours.
Being a Lahori I would suggest never to miss the channa, halwa and poori with a glass of lassi which is the traditional breakfast of the city. The Food Street of Lahore, set inside the Taxali Gate of the Walled City near Badshahi Masjid, is the center of traditional Pakistani food. The ancient houses turned restaurants are unique in their own way. Sitting on the jharokas and having food while viewing the Badshahi Masjid is a unique combination which cannot be experienced elsewhere. Cuckoo’s Den is the most eminent among these restaurants due to its historic ambience and serenity. It is best to go before sunset and watch the fountain show at Iqbal Park which is five minutes away from the Food Street where one can dine in afterwards.
Words and articles cannot do justice to this diversified city, so plan a visit without delay. The ones who have visited the city won’t deny the famous phrase, Jinay Lohre Nae Wekhya, O Jammya e Nae, and those who haven’t … life’s too short. HH
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