Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila)
The fort was initially constructed in 1566 AD by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, on the ruins of a mud fort which existed as early as 1021 AD. The Fort is rectangular and is located in the north western corner of Lahore, adjacent to the Walled City. It has 13 gates. The main gates are located alongside the center of the western and eastern walls. Located centrally in the city of Lahore, the Lahore Fort is a magnificent fortified palace complex. Its elaborate Mughal architecture is straight out of a storybook of the Mysterious East. The impressive twin-domed entrance leads into elaborately decorated courtyards and pavilions with water features, some with still intact sumptuous wall decorations of inlaid semiprecious stones and painted designs. It's large enough to allow several elephants carrying members of the royal family to enter at one time. There are a flight of stone steps specially built for ceremonial elephant processions.
The fort as it stands today is not what it was when it was initially constructed in 1566. Every successive Mughal emperor besides the Sikhs, and the British added a pavilion, palace of wall to the Fort. Jahangir, Shah Jehan and later Aurangzeb added modifications of massively fortified walls. .It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque
and other older one known as Maseeti (Punjabi language word means of Masjid) or Masjidi Gate which opens towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Masti Gate is permanently closed. Akbar got the Diwan-i-Aam (Hall for Commoners) built in the traditional Iranian style, all constructed in red sand stone imported from Rajistan. Shah Jahan also constructed the Diwan-e-Khas, which overlooked Ravi, in 1631-the same year he started the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan also constructed Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and his own sleeping chambers. Emperor Jahangir extended the gardens and constructed the palaces in the Jehangir's Quadrangle.
The origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and are traditionally based on various myths. However, during the excavation carried out in 1959 by the Department of Archaeology, in front of Diwan-e-Aam, a gold coin of Mahmood of Ghazni dated AH 416 (1025 AD) was found at a depth of 7.62 metres from the level of the lawns. Cultural layers continued to a further depth of 5 metres, giving strong indications that people had lived here long before the conquest of Lahore by Mahmood in 1021 AD. Further mention of the fort is traceable to Shahab-Ud-Din Muhammad Ghuri's successive invasions of Lahore from 1180 to 1186 AD.
In 1758, the fort was captured by the Maratha forces under Raghunathrao.
Then the Bhangi Sikh Dynasty (1716–1810), one of the 12 Sikh Kingdoms (Misl) of Punjab ruled Lahore City from 1760s until 1799 and expanded the City of Lahore. When Ranjit Singh, another Sikh chief from the Gujranwala area took Lahore from the Bhangi Misl the Lahore Fort fell to Ranjit Singh and in 1801 he was crowned as the emperor of all of the Punjab.
Lahore Fort and the city from (1799–1849) remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-e-Panjab, and his sons, grandsons and wives, until the fall of the last Sikh empire or the Lahore Darbar in 1849.
- It cannot be said with certainty when the Lahore Fort was originally constructed or by whom, since this information is lost to history, possibly forever. However, evidence found in archaeological digs gives strong indications that it was built long before 1025 AD.
- 1241 AD - Destroyed by Mongols.
- 1267 AD - Rebuilt by Anushay Mirza Ghiyas ud din Balban.
- 1398 AD - Destroyed again, by Amir Tamir's army.
- 1421 AD - Rebuilt in mud by Sultan Mubark Shah Syed.
- 1432 AD - The fort is occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul who makes repairs to the damages inflicted on it by Shaikha Khokhar.
- 1566 AD - Rebuilt by Mughal emperor Akbar, in solid brick masonry on its earlier foundations. Also perhaps, its area was extended towards the river Ravi, which then and until about 1849 AD, flowed along its fortification on the north. Akbar also built Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, the famous Jharoka-e-Darshan (Balcony for Royal Appearance), Masjidi Gate etc.
- 1618 AD - Jehangir adds Doulat Khana-e-Jehangir.
- 1631 AD - Shahjahan builds Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace).
- 1633 AD - Shahjahan builds Khawabgah (a dream place or sleeping area), Hamam (bath ), Khilwat Khana (retiring room), and Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque).
- 1645 AD - Shahjahan builds Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Special Audience).
- 1674 AD - Aurangzeb adds the massively fluted Alamgiri Gate.
The strategic location of Lahore city between the Mughal territories and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir required the dismantling of the old mud-fort and fortification with solid brick masonry. The structure is dominated by Persian gardens influence that deepened with the successive refurbishments by subsequent emperors. The fort is clearly divided into two sections: first the administrative section, which is well connected with main entrances, and comprises larger garden areas and Diwan-e-khas for royal audiences. The second - a private and concealed residential section - is divided into courts in the northern part, accessible through 'elephant gate'. It also contains Shish Mahal (Hall of Mirrors of Mirror Palace), and spacious bedrooms and smaller gardens.On the outside, the walls are decorated with blue Persian kashi tiles. The original entrance faces the Maryam Zamani Mosque, whereas the larger Alamgiri Gate opens to the Hazuri Bagh through to the majestic Badshahi Mosque
Circular Rd, Qadimi Shehr, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
(Northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares) .
Open --> Monday to Friday: 10:0 am – 6:00 pm and Closed --> Saturday-Sunday
Wikipedia: Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila)
Tribune: Restricted Access The Price Of Public Vandalism
Facebook - Gallery: Lahore Fort Over A Century
Alamgiri Gate In Front Of The Fort:
Old Khangah Inside Fort:
The Elephant Path:
Doorways Of Sleeping Chambers:
Diwan-e-Khas - Hall of Special Audience:
Diwan-e-Aam- Hall of Public Audience: