The Untold History Behind Lahore Fort
The fort is the outcome of centuries of hard work. As presented by Wali Ullah Khan (Pakistani historian), refers to the fort built in early 11th century. He further dictated that Munshi Sujan Rae in 1965-1996 A.D. tracks that Sultan Mahmud’s favorite Malik Ayaz constructed a masonry fort which repopulated Lahore city. Khan believes that it’s the very same fort which was destroyed by Mongols in 1241. It was again detached in 1398 and got rebuilt by Sayyid in 1421. The previous fort history is still open to debate but it’s known for the fact that Lahore Fort was broadly upgraded during Emperor’s Akbar reign in the mids of 16th century. Before 1566, mud brick Lahore fort was dismantled and restored with burnt bricks. Furthermore, the fort got expanded during Jahangir’s, Aurangzeb’s and Shah Jahan’s reign. During the rule of Ranjit Singh, there were many pavilions added on upper ramparts. The fort was modified during British colonial time in 1846.
The Uniqueness That Prevails
Lahore fort is also largely known as Shahi Qila. It is situated in the North West corner of historical city, Lahore. The fort has measures around 335 meters to north south and 427 meters to east west excluding the wall which was added later when Sikh rule of Ranjit Singh existed. The variegated history of fort is a live example of nadir and zenith of the Sikhs, colonial and Mughal rulers. The bewitching art of fort building greatly reflects a chain of monuments 1566 to 1706 when Akbar and Aurangzeb made the maximum amendments. Emperor Akbar’s court covers south-east region of fort but majority of the buildings have been vanished. Strikingly, the AKbari/ Masti still face Maryam Zamani Mosque. Northern half of Lahore fort along with its captivating architectural beauty is separated into six main quadrangles i.e. from the Akbari Gate to Shish Mahal.
Exquisite Structures and Buildings of Lahore Fort
The Well Refined Eastern or Akbari Gate
This was constructed by Mughal emporer Akbar in 1566 A.D. Masti was the word given to Akbari Gate. Akbar’s empress created a mosque outside the gate in around 1614 which still stands there in acceptable condition. The fort in Akbar’s era had two major gates including the Masti Gate. Other gate got replaced in 1673 by Alamgiri gate. This gate was made by Aurangzeb Alamgir in west of fortification wall in 1673. The gate opens in Hazoori Garden. It represents military and delighting mixture of grandeur, grave and strength. It consists of two semi circular citadel decorated elegantly with lotus petal design.
The Royal Diwan-e-Aam
Diwan-e-Aam also holds the title of Hall of Public Audience. Shah Jahan in the fourteenth year of rule ordered to build a hall containing forty pillars. The construction was done under supervision of Nur Jahan’s brother Asif Khan. Diwan-e-Aam was crumbled when son of Raja Ranjit Singh, Sher Singh bombarded the marvelous fort by guns fighting fiercely against Chand Kour. In 1849 A.D., the British rebuilt it. The eye capturing marble work in balcony of this area portrays the earliest structure at Lahore Fort.
The Brilliant Jahangir’s Quadrangle
The construction of this quadrangle was initiated by Akbar. It was completed in 1617 by Jahangir. The creation costs seven lacks which means seven hundred thousand rupees. The most appealing feature of the quadrangle was Hindu temple art that reflected Akbar’s tolerance towards other religion. On the west and east row of porticos covers it and red sandstone work of dalans displays rich Hindu architecture with elongated brackets and carved columns representing animal figurines. In the middle of north side, there’s Jahangir’s resting room which is presently being utilized as Mughal Gallery/ Museum. There’s also a garden located in the quadrangle owing square marble platform in the centre for use of dancing-girls and musicians.
The Dainty Diwan-e-Khas
The pleasing Diwan-e-Khas is also considered as the hall of special audience and it was built in 1645 by the ever famous Shah Jahan. Wonderfully, it’s an arched pavilion having made in semi marble and the parapet it carries was designed with pietra dura. There are catchy carved screens of marble that are skillfully created. The pavilion’s centre possesses a foundation containing marble cistern which improved its royal glamour.
It’s the sleeping chamber of Shah Jahan which was constructed in 1633. It stayed on southern part of the great Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle. It comprises of five chambers that laid in a single row exceptionally decorated with perforated white marble screen. The incised design called Ghalin Kari and stucco tracery lying on arches of the monument is immediate characteristics of this elegant building. There are few fresco paintings visible in the sleeping chamber.
The Eye Catching Moti Masjid
The masjid is renowned also as Pearl Mosque all over the world. It was built by Shah Jahan in the chaste marble. Aurangzeb also built a mosque which was of the same kind in 1662 at Delhi Red Fort. All these mosques are entitled as Pearl Mosque or moti masjid due to their appearance soaked in decent white marble. Pearl mosque was used mostly by the Punjab Sikh rulers as their treasury and renamed it “Moti Mandir” or say Pearl temple.
The Glamorous Shish Mahal
The heavenly looking shish mahal or palace of mirrors is situated on the North West end of Lahore fort. It’s one of the best majestic palaces built in mughal period. The construction was done under supervision of Asif Khan. There’s a massive hall in the front covered with many rooms on and behind the sides. This palace formed Harm (the ladies portion). The marble screen is remarkably carved in floral, geometrical and tendril patterns. The most prominent features of this celestial palace of mirrors are:
- Applying gold pure – also called Gillt work.
- Work of Pietra dura.
- The work of convex glass mosaic also named as Aiena Kari with stucco tracery (monabat Kari).
- Screens perforated with marble.
There’s also a shallow basin of water created right in the middle of Mahal which contains four splashy jet fountains. Other building is connected with the water basin through for channels of water on every side.
The Fascinating Bangla Naulakha
The Naulakha Pavilion is named after its nine lac rupees cost which was spent for its creation. This structure is recognized for its delicate outlook and minute work of pietra dura molded in showy semi precious stone like jade, Lapis Lazuli, Agate and Goldstone. The pavilions ceiling is excellently decorated with wooden trellis and looking-glass. This splendid pavilion is ranked as the best architectural successes of Mughal time.