Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore

Lahore, Punjab
N31 35 25 E74 18 35
Date of Inscription: 1981
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Ref: 171
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These are two masterpieces from the time of the brilliant Mughal civilization, which reached its height during the reign of the Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort contains marble palaces and mosques decorated with mosaics and gilt. The elegance of these splendid gardens, built near the city of Lahore on three terraces with lodges, waterfalls and large ornamental ponds, is unequalled.

The inscribed property includes two distinct royal complexes, the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens, both located in the City of Lahore, at a distance of 7 km. from each other. The two complexes – one characterized by monumental structures and the other by extensive water gardens – are outstanding examples of Mughal artistic expression at its height, as it evolved during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughal civilisation, a fusion of Islamic, Persian, Hindu and Mongol sources (from whence the name Mughal derives) dominated the Indian subcontinent for several centuries and strongly influenced its subsequent development.

The Lahore Fort, situated in the north-west corner of the Walled City of Lahore, occupies a site which has been occupied for several millenia. Assuming its present configuration during the 11th century, the Fort was destroyed and rebuilt several times by the early Mughals during the 13th to the 15th centuries. The 21 monuments which survive within its boundaries comprise an outstanding repertory of the forms of Mughal architecture from the reign of Akbar (1542-1605), characterized by standardized masonry of baked brick and red sandstone courses relieved by Hindu motifs including zooomorphic corbels, through that of Shah Jahan (1627-58), characterized by the use of luxurious marbles, inlays of precious materials and mosaics, set within exuberant decorative motifs of Persian origins.

Akbar’s efforts are exemplified in the Masjidi Gate flanked by two bastions and the Khana-e-Khas-o-Am (Public and Private Audience Hall). Akbar’s successor, Jahangir, finished the large north court (1617-18) begun by Akbar and, in 1624-25, decorated the north and north-west walls of the Fort. Shah Jahan added a fairy tale-like complex of buildings surrounding the Court of Shah Jahan (Diwan-e-Kas, Lal Burj, Khwabgah-e-Jahangiri, and the Shish Mahal, 1631-32, one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, sparkling with mosaics of glass, gilt, semi-precious stones and marble screening).

The Shalimar Gardens, constructed by Shah Jahan in 1641-2 is a Mughal garden, layering Persian influences over medieval Islamic garden traditions, and bearing witness to the apogee of Mughal artistic expression. The Mughal garden is characterized by enclosing walls, a rectilinear layout of paths and features, and large expanses of flowing water. The Shalimar Gardens cover 16 hectares, and is arranged in three terraces descending from the south to the north. The regular plan, enclosed by a crenellated wall of red sandstone, disposes square beds on the upper and lower terraces and elongated blocks on the narrower, intermediate terrace; within, elegant pavilions balance harmoniously arranged poplar and cypress trees, reflected in the vast basins of water.

Criterion (i): The 21 monuments preserved within the boundaries of Lahore Fort comprise an outstanding repertory of the forms of Mughal architecture at its artistic and aesthetic height, from the reign of Akbar (1542-1605) through the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-58). Equally the Shalimar Gardens, laid out by Shah Jahan in 1641-2 embodies Mughal garden design at the apogee of its development. Both complexes together may be understood to constitute a masterpiece of human creative genius.

Criterion (ii): The Mughal forms, motifs and designs developed at Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens have been influenced by design innovations in other royal Mughal enclaves but have also exerted great influence in subsequent centuries on the development of artistic and aesthetic expression throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Criterion (iii):  The design of the monuments of Lahore Fort and the features of the Shalimar Gardens bears a unique and exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilisation at the height of its artistic and aesthetic accomplishments, in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Suggested Bases:

Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city after Karachi, and the capital of the north-eastern Punjab province. It is widely considered the country’s cultural capital. The heart of Lahore is the Walled or Inner City, a very densely populated area of about one square kilometre. Founded in legendary times, and a cultural centre for over a thousand years, Lahore has many attractions for the tourist. The Mughal and Sikh legacy survives in the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Gurdwara, the Mall is lined with colonial-gothic buildings from the British Raj, and the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature palatial mansions and trendy shopping districts. Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan with a population of roughly 8.5 million. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, it had been the cultural centre of Northern India extending from Peshawar to New Delhi. The origins of Lahore are shrouded in the mists of antiquity but Lahore is undoubtedly ancient [read more].

Gujranwala is a major industrial city in Punjab, Pakistan. It is on GT Road at the distance of 56 miles from Lahore. Gujranwala is famous as the city of wrestlers. The city and wrestling run neck to neck. It has produced famous wrestlers of the sub-continent, who have proved their skill and strength. This city is proud to attain fame in sub-continent in this behalf with grand titles ever won by any city of the world. Before the independence of Pakistan The Great Gama was the unbeatable champion of Indo-Pak sub continent, but a Gujranwala Wrestler Raheem Sultani wala wrestled twice with the Great Gama and won the title of “Rustum Hind” or “The Lion Of India”. The famous Wrestlers (grapplers) were: Rahim Bux Phelwan Sultani wala (Rustum Hind), Younus Phelwan (Sitar-e-Pakistan), Acha Phelwan (Sher-e-Pakistan) and many more were there who entitled the city as the “City of Wrestlers” or “Phelwana da shehur [read more].

Faisalabad, formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest city in Pakistan and second largest city in Province Punjab, Pakistan. There are international flights to Faisalabad from most major cities in Pakistan as well as regional hubs. Faisalabad is connected with Islamabad (the national capital), Lahore (the provincial capital) and other big cities by motorway and National Highway. You can easily catch a comfortable bus from these cities for Faisalabad, like Daewoo Express, Khan brothers, Nadir coach, Ravi Express, Kohistan, Niazi Express, New Subhan, Hilal Travels and New Khan etc. Faisalabad is connected with all big cities of the country by rail. The most comfortable and affordable trains connects Faisalabad with Lahore and Karachi. While in the city, you can hire a local cab or an auto rickshaw. There is a franchised bus service called “METRO”; it is also operated within the city. However, auto rickshaws stay out to be the favorite means of travel [read more].

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