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. Pakistan
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.
|Location:||Circular Rd, Qadimi Shehr, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan (Northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares) .|
|1432 AD:||The fort is occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul who makes repairs to the damages inflicted on it by Shaikha Khokhar|
|1421 AD:||Rebuilt in mud by Sultan Mubark Shah Syed|
|1398 AD:||Destroyed again, by Amir Tamir’s army|
|1267 AD:||Rebuilt by Anushay Mirza Ghiyas ud din Balban.|
|1241 AD:||Destroyed by Mongols|
|Inscription :||1981 (5th Session)|
|UNESCO region :||Asia-Pacific|
|Criteria :||i, ii, iii|
|Fort was initially constructed:||In 1566 AD|
|Hours:||Open –> Monday to Friday: 10:0 am â€“ 6:00 pm and Closed –> Saturday-Sunday|
|Attractions Inside:||Shahi Qila Food Street|
|Related Links:||Wikipedia: Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila) Tribune: Restricted Access The Price Of Public Vandalism Facebook – Gallery: Lahore Fort Over A Century|
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.
A picture showing the Lahore Fort and Hazuri Bagh Pavilion in 1870.
Though the site is known to have been inhabited for millennia, the origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and traditionally based on various myths.
The first historical reference to a fort at the site is from the 1th century during the rule of Mahmud of Ghazni. The fort was made of mud, and was destroyed in 1241 by the Mongols during their invasion of Lahore. A new fort was constructed in 1267 at the site by Sultan Balban of the Turkic Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The re-built fort was destroyed in 1398 by the invading forces of Timur, only to be rebuilt by Mubarak Shah Sayyidin 1421, In the 1430s, the fort was occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul. and remained under the control of the Pashtun sultans of the Lodi dynasty until Lahore was captured by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1524.
The use of elephant-shaped column brackets reflects Hindu influences on the syncretic architectural style of Emperor Akbar.
The present design and structure of the fort traces its origins to 1575, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar occupied the site as a post to guard the northwest frontier of the empire. The strategic location of Lahore, between the Mughal territories and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir necessitated the dismantling of the old mud-fort and fortification with solid brick masonry.Lofty palaces were built over time, along with lush gardens.Notable Akbar period structures included the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Akbari Gate. Many Akbari structures were modified or replaced by subsequent rulers.
The fort’s massive Picture Wall dates from the Jahangir period.
Emperor Jahangir first mentions his alterations to the fort in 1612 when describing the Maktab Khana. Jahangir also added the Kala Burj pavilion, which features European-inspired angels on its vaulted ceiling. British visitors to the fort noted Christian iconography during the Jahangir period, with paintings of the Madonna and Jesus found in the fort complex. In 1606, Guru Arjan of the Sikh faith was imprisoned at the fort before his death.
Jahangir bestowed the massive Picture Wall, a 1,450 feet (440 m) by 50 feet (15 m) wall which is exquisitely decorated with a vibrant array of glazed tile, faience mosaics, and frescoes. The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begumwas built adjacent to the forts eastern walls during the reign of Jahangir. While the mosque likely served as a Friday congregational mosque for members of the Royal Court, it was not financed by Jahangir, although it likely required his approval.
Shah Jahan period
Shah Jahan’s first contribution to the fort commenced in the year of his coronation, 1628, and continued until 1645.Shah Jahan first ordered construction of the Diwan-i-Aam in the style of a Chehel Sotoun – a Persian style 40-pillar public audience hall.Though construction of the Shah Burj commenced under Jahangir, Shah Jahan was displeased with its design and appointed Asif Khan to oversee reconstruction.Shah Jahan’s Shah Burj forms a quadrangle with the famous Sheesh Mahal, and Naulakha Pavilion. Both are attributed to Shah Jahan, although the Naulakha Pavilion may be a later addition possibly from the Sikh era. The white marble Moti Masjid, or Pearl Mosque, also dates from the Shah Jahan period.
The fort’s iconic Alamgiri Gate was built during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.
Emperor Aurangzeb, built the Alamgiri Gate, whose semi-circular towers and domed pavilions are a widely recognised symbol of Lahore that was once featured on Pakistani currency.
The fort was captured from the Mughals by the Maratha forces under Raghunathrao in 1758, before being captured by the Bhangi Misl – one of the 12 Sikh Misls of Punjab that ruled Lahore from 1760 until 1799. The fort fell to the army of Ranjit Singh, who took Lahore from the Bhangi Misl in 1799. The fort and the city remained under the control of Ranjit Singh’s family until the fall of the last Sikh empire in 1849.
During their occupation of the fort, the Sikhs repurposed portions of the fort for their own use. The fort’s famous Moti Masjid was converted into a Sikh gurdwara,while Ranjit Singh used the fort’s Summer Palace as his own residence.The Sehdari pavilion, or “Three-doored” pavilion, was added to the fort during Sikh rule. The fort’s Naag Temple was also constructed during Sikh rule, while the Mai Jindan Haveli was extensively modified during Sikh rule. The fort’s Diwan-i-Aam was destroyed in 1841 when the son of Ranjit Singh, Sher Singh bombarded the fort in his fight against Chand Kaur.
Layout of the Lahore Fort in 1911
Excavations in 1959 in front of Diwan-i-Am led to the discovery of a gold coin dated 1025 AD belonging to Mahmud of Ghazvani. The coin was unearthed at the depth of 25 feet (7.6 m) from the lawn. The cultural layers were continuous to the depth of 15 feet (4.6 m) indicating that the fort was inhabited by people even before his conquest.
While relaying the deteriorated floor of Akbari Gate in April 2007, three floors in the fort were unearthed belonging to the British, Sikh and Mughal period. The floor of the British, Sikh and Mughal periods were constructed with bricks, burnt bricks and pebbles respectively. The latter either built during Jahangir’s or Shah Jahan’s era was the hallmark of Mughals.
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.
It is a palace which is decorated with thousands of mirrors. All sizes of mirrors were used in its construction. It is situated in the Shah Burj Block, left from the main garden. King Shah Jahan built this Sheesh Mehal in the year 1631 to 1632. White marble is used on its floor while the walls and roof is decorated with colorful mirrors. This crystal palace is a very lovely place to visit.
It is situated in the courtyard of the crystal palace. It is a chamber which was decorated with the white marble. Precious and expensive stones were also used for its decoration. It is said that King Akbar spent a huge amount of 900,000 in its construction and that is the reason it is known as Noulakha. It is a rectangular shaped structure with the curly roof on it. Expensive stones were used in its inside.
A Mosque with the pearls is the meanings of Moti Masjid. It was constructed in the 17th century for the holy purposes. It is also a white marble Mosque which was constructed by the Mughal King Shah Jahan. You can find it near to the Alamgiri gate and Dewan-e-Aam. Gemstones were used to decorate it. Later on when Sikh took the charge of this year they converted this Mosque into the Moti Mandir. A temple for the Sikh community and after them British rulers looted all its pearls and gemstones. At the end its genuine status was revived and it is known as Moti Masjid.
It is the main entrance of the Lahore fort which was built in the year 1637. Once upon a time these paths were used for the entrance of elephants.
It was the court for general public to put their problems in front of the King.