LAHORE – The Heart of Pakistan


This is a city of bazaars, glorious fading elegance from British colonial architecture, palaces, tombs and mosques from past empires and of course the brilliant architecture from Mughal times.. On the other hand, 5 star hotels, shopping malls and resorts abound in exclusive areas of the city. The Mall is lined with British era colonial-gothic buildings, the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature beautiful mansions and trendy shopping areas.

The heart of Lahore is the Walled City or Inner City, which was fortified during Mughal times. Many of the 13 gates were demolished during British rule but a few still remain. Lahore has been blessed with some of the greatest architectural achievements of the Mughal Empire. The Badshahi Mosque..built of marble and sandstone, Lahore Fort..with additions from all of the major Mughal Emperors, Wazir Khan Mosque..famous for its tile work, the Mausoleo of Emperor Jehangir and his Empress, Nur Jehan. Havelis (palaces) of the rich and powerful from Mughal and Sikh times dot the area and many are being restored to their former glory. Most of these attractions are easily accessible by walking or by taking local transport… rickshaws, taxis, hired cars or a tour from your Hotel. Be prepared for sensory overload and congested streets and lanes as one wanders back hundreds of years in time.

Lahore is also a city of gardens. Shalimar Gardens, which is situated about 8 kms outside the city, was built by Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj in Agra, is definitely worth a visit. These gardens were modelled after the Persian style, since the Mughals, though originating in Central Asia, had adopted Persian culture.

Lahore has a wide variety of cuisines besides its traditional Mughlai style. Mughlai style originated in the Central Asian steppes and is characterized by flat breads (naan) and skewered meats, mainly lamb and assorted meats roasted in a Tandoor (clay oven). Chinese and international cuisines are now popular and some Franchised restaurants from the West have now set up shop. There are now many trendy shopping malls such as the Mall of Lahore which features every kind of food and International goods. Bars and pubs are not common here as Muslims are not supposed to drink. However, the International Hotels and restaurants are allowed to sell liquor.

Lahore also has areas cornered off in the evenings as Food Streets in Badshahi, Anarkali and Gawalmandi. Additionally, many of the old Havelis have been turned into exotic restaurants and cafes.

For shopaholics, Lahore is a wonderland of age old handicrafts. Craftsmen produce almost every type of carpet. Persian, Kashmiri, Turcoman, Kazakh and a host of other carpets produced by nomadic tribes can be bought here. In the alleys and lanes of the bazaars in the Old City, craftsmen still ply their time honored trades in leatherware, embroidered clothing, gold and silver jewelry with intricate designs, silk clothing and an assortment of handmade goods too numerous to mention. Haggling is the standard method of purchasing.

The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals and is held in the Fortress Stadium. You can see horse racing, camel racing and assorted horseback riding stunts, livestock display, tent pegging, and colorful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan.

There is also the World Performing Arts Festival held every autumn in November at the Alhambra Cultural complex. It has an International character. The climate of Lahore is hot and semi arid with low humidity. December, January and February are the most pleasant months to visit Lahore, when the temperature is cooler. Summer can be extremely hot with temperatures over 40 C. Certain months have heavy rainfall and dust storms.

Lahore has an International airport and most airlines have flights to this city. Additionally, Lahore is accessible by train from India via Wagah but the border is not open all the time. There is public and private transportation available 24/7 in the form of buses, minivans, richshaws, taxis and rental cars. Pakistan Railways is headquartered in Lahore and you can access the rest of the country by rail.


Source by Norelyn Gerona Gozo

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