Visit Shahi Qila Lahore fort

Origins of the fort extend far into antiquity but the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal, Sikh and British rulers. It has two gates. One of the gates built by Aurangzeb is called Alamgiri gate that opens towards Badshahi mosque and another older gate built by Akbar is called Masjidi gate that opens towards Walled city. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Masjidi gate is permanently closed. The fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture.

Mughal and pre-Mughal era

The origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and traditionally based on various myths.Its foundation is attributed to Loh, the mythical son of Lord Rama. It is unknown when and who constructed the fort. The earliest reference about this fort is that in the 1240s, it was destroyed by Mongols. After nearly 50 years, it was reconstructed by Balban of Mamluk dynasty. It was destroyed again around 1399 by the invading forces of Timur only to be rebuilt by Sultan Mubarak Shah Syed after 20 years.In the 1430s, the fort was occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul. In 1575, Mughal emperor Akbar occupied the fort, which was used to guard the northwest frontier of the kingdom.He rebuilt the fort with solid bricks and lime and over time lofty palaces were built to which additional beauty was lent by luxuriant gardens. The other structures built by him included the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Masjidi Gate. On the other hand, his structures were replaced by subsequent rulers. However the structures built by him were replaced by subsequent rulers. Shah Jahan built the Shah Burj, the Sheesh Mahal and the Naulakha Pavilion. His son Aurangzeb built the entrance, Alamgiri Gate, which is flanked by semi-circular towers with domes pavilions.

Sikh era

The fort was captured by the Maratha forces under Raghunathrao in 1758. Then the Bhangi Sikh Dynasty (1716–1810), one of the 12 Sikh Kingdoms of the Punjab ruled the city of Lahore from 1760 until 1799 and expanded the city. 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. The fort and the city from 1799–1849 remained under the control of Ranjit Singh and his sons, grandsons, and wives until the fall of the last Sikh empire in 1849.

Sheesh Mahal

The Sheesh Mahal is the palace of mirrors and was built by Mirza Ghiyas Begh, the father of Mumtaz Mahal around 1631 during the rule of Shah Jahan. It consists of a spacious hall with several halls behind. This was the harem of the fort. There is a marble perforated screen in the rear chamber which is carved of tendril, floral and geometrical patterns. Pietra dura work can be seen on its walls.

Naulakha Pavilion

The pavilion was built during the reign of Shah Jahan for a cost of 9 lakh rupees.Situated in the west of Sheesh Mahal, the pavilion is rectangular in shape and prominent owing to its centrally arched and extraordinarily curved roof representing the unique feature of architecture during Shah Jahan reign. It reflects a mixture of contemporary traditions at the time of its construction of sloping-roof from Bengal and Baldachin from Europe, which makes evident the imperial as well as religious image of the pavilion. The marble shades of the pavilion are capped with merlons to hide view from the grounds.

Moti Masjid

Moti Masjid is a 17th-century mosque built inside the fort during the reign of Shah Jahan. It is constructed of white marble brought from Makrana. The facade is composed of cusped arches and engaged baluster columns, which has smooth and fine contours. It has three domes, a raised central pishtaq and two aisles of five bays.Unlike other contemporary mosques, which have three arches, this mosque has five arches in the facade. During the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, it was forcibly converted into a Sikh temple called Moti Mandir.

Diwan-i-Aam

The Diwan-i-Aam was the Hall of commons. It was built by Shah Jahan in 1628. The kings regularly had meetings with the common people in this hall. Its design is similar to the Diwan-i-Aam at the Agra Fort. The hall has forty pillars and was built in front of a balcony. It was destroyed when a Sikh ruler Sher Singh bombarded the fort in his fight against Maharani Chand Kaur, the wife of Mahraja Kharak Singh. It was later restored by the British in 1849.

Khwabgah

Khwabgah was the bedroom of Shah Jahan. It was built by Shah Jahan under the supervision of Wazir Khan in 1634 during his first visit to the city. It is the first building built by Shah Jahan in the fort. At present its decorations have vanished except for a trace of the marble which once might have beautified the façade.

Gates

Mughal Emperor Akbar built two gates. Akbari Gate was built in 1566 and now called Masti Gate. One of Akbar's wives built a mosque outside the gate around 1614. The other gate was replaced later by the Alamgiri Gate. The Alamgiri Gate is the entrance of the fort. It was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1674. It has two semi-circular bastions where lotus petal design adorns at the base of it.

Khilwat Khana

Khilwat Khana was built by Shah Jahan in 1633 in the north of the Paen Bagh. It was the residence of the royal ladies of the court.The plinth and door frames are made of marble with a curvilinear roof.

Kala Burj

In the northwest of Khilwat Khana, lies a watch tower called Kala Burj. It was used as a summer pavilion. The topmost storey was built and used as bar during the British era. Its eave is interlocked with brick work.

Maktib Khana

Maktib Khana was constructed under the supervision of Mamur Khan during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. It was used as the entrance gate to the fort by the clerks.Besides, the fort also houses separate bath for royal men and women.

Located at: Shahi Qila, lahore, Pakistan
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