The city of Lahore is the capital of the Punjab. It occupies a central position, and is generally called ‘The Heart of Pakistan‘. Lahore is situated on the banks of the Ravi . Lahore is a city of gardens, and has the reputation of being the ‘Green City’. It occupies a choice site in the midst of fertile alluvial plains. Lahore is the city of poets, artists and the center of film industry.
Ptolemy’s “Geographia”, written about 150 AD, refers to it as “Labokla” and locates it with reference to the Indus, the Ravi, the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers. Another place revealed that it was founded by Loh the son of Rama Chandra.
However the accorded history of Lahore dates back to 850 AD., conquered by Mahmood Gaznavi in 1021 AD, it was made the capital of the Ghaznavid east of Indus and later captital of entire Ghaznavid Empire by Masud, son of Mahmood.
It was then that Lahore became the centre of social, cultural and educational activities reaching the pinnacle of its glory under the Mughals who gave it its famous architecture including the magnificent fort, gardens, tombs, mosques and pavilions. Some of the old names of Lahore can be observed as:
Tower of Lahore
|Area and Population
With a population of more than 6,563,000 people, Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city. The city is built in the form of a parallelogram, the area within the walls (central Lahore or Old Lahore), being about 461 acres. The district lies at 31-34′ North latitude and 74-20′ East longitude.
There are two main seasons, namely the winter and the summer. The monsoons are at their peak during July and August, and during these two months there is more than half of the annual rainfall. October and November are the drieat months and average rain fall during these months is about one third of an inch only. There are Winter rains during December – February, the average rainfall during these months being 3 inches.
The city as we know it today, reached its peak of glory during the Moghul rulers, especially in the reign of Akbar the Great. His son, Jehangir, is buried in its outskirts and his mausoleum is one of the places frequented by tourists and Lahorites alike. Close by is the mausoleum of the famous Moghul Empress, Noor Jehan, who is known for introducing the rose plant and for initiating several cultural movements in the Sub-Continent.
Lahore Badshahi Mosque
|Akbar the Great built the Lahore Fort, as well as the city walls which had 12 gates. Some of these still survive. Jehangir and Shah Jehan, the builders of the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Shalamar Gardens in Srinagar and Lahore, built palaces and tombs. The last great Moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb built Lahore’s most famous monument, the great Badshahi Mosque.
At that time the river Ravi, which now lies a few miles away from Lahore , touched the ramparts of the Fort and the Mosque.
The British during their reign compensated Lahore, by harmoniously combining Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles of architecture. Victorian heritage is only next to Mughal monuments.
They built some important buildings, like the GPO, High Court, Government College, Museums, National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, Punjab University (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly.
It has the largest number of educational institutions in the country. Many colleges and schools which found Lahore’s reputation as education center of Pakistan par excellence. Most notable are Government College- first in prestige in the country, and of which Allama Iqbal, founding father of Pakistan’s Independence, was distinguished alumnus; added in 1950; the Kinnaired College for Woman and Aitcheson College, still the most expensive educational establishment in the country.
Punjab University is the largest center of education in Asia. It has a splendid old campus in the Old Lahore and built a new Campus in the quieter environments on the Canal Bank, but the old University buildings are still functioning. King Edward Medical College is the country’s largest medical institution, founded in 1870. The National College of Arts, has separate departments in Architecture, Fine Arts & design, on the competition entry basis 450 students receives from all over the country.
Lahore is cultural, intellectual and artistic center of the nation. Its faded elegance, busy streets and bazaars, and wide variety of Islamic and British architecture make it a city full of atmosphere, contrast and surprise. The warm and receptive people of Lahore are known for their traditional hospitality.
This is a city of vivid differences, of haunting nuances; where bustling bazaars, frenetic streets, glorious fading elegance, architecture and echoing atmosphere of city’s many mosques merge together into a history that is both dramatic and fascinating.
Bazaars and market places in the Lahore is of course legendary – the Kashmiri, Suha, Chatta, Dabbi, Anarkali of the old city, and Liberty and Gulberg main market in modern Lahore. These markets supply everything that could possibly or impossibly want; from cloth to copper, brass and silver-ware; watches and bangles to carpets, chapatis and chai.
Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila)
|All is color, all variety, all abundance, and all displayed to entice. Lahore is country’s undisputed centre of cultural life.
There is a network of metalled roads in the district. It is connected other major cities and towns with a very sophisticated network of roads. It is also connected with the capital of Pakistan and other major cities through the M2 Motroway link.
The Lahore Railway station is one of the oldest station in the country, and serves as the main connecting point for rail services to many cities and routes. The station building is another example of the magnificant architectural beauty of the city.
There is an International Airport in the cantonment area, P.I.A. and other international airlines have routes to all major destinations of the world. Lahore airport is one of the busiest airport of the country after Karachi international terminal. A newly built international terminal, Allama Iqbal International Terminal, helps in the locomotion of passengers to other countries. It greatly facilitate and improves the air transits to and from the Lahore city.