Architecture is a visual art and buildings speak for themselves
The history of an area is always rich, always colourful and always plentiful. It signifies all that is worth importance, not only in a specific present day era but in all the eras that area has witnessed. Without history there is no heritage, no traditions, no cultures. Without history you cannot see what was and predict what will be.
Lahore is a living example of such an extraordinary mix of the new, the old, and the ancient. Modern architecture blends almost homogeonisingly with that of one hundred years ago.
The historical mosques of Lahore are yet another architectural feat. The feelings, emotions and actions are visible to all in their traces so carefully preserved. The minarets, the calligraphy on the walls and even the basic structure boasts great thought and compassion that was put in making those blueprints into a reality.
This city has a culture that mixes the old and the new with superb ease.
The Badshahi Mosque
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673, is second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world. Epitomising the beauty, passion and grandeur of the Mughal era, it is Lahore’s most famous landmark and no doubt a major tourist attraction. It is located in Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan which is one of the largest urban parks in Pakistan.
This mosque is built with Red Stone. Construction is very unique Eastern type. It remained the largest mosques in the world for more than 300 years. Now it is second largest mosque in Pakistan and fifth largest in all over the world. It can accommodate 100,000 worshipers at a time. Its design is a mixture of Islamic, Indian, Persian and Central Asian design. One must see this beautiful mosque with a great design and architecture.
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673, is second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world
In 1993, the government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of the Badshahi Mosque as a World Heritage Site in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, where it has been included in Pakistan’s tentative list for possible nomination to the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Wazir Khan Masjid
The Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as ‘a mole on the cheek of Lahore’. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jehan and governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as “Wazir Khan”, a popular title bestowed upon him (the word wazir means ‘minister’ in Urdu and Persian). The mosque is inside the inner city and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate. The mosque contains some of the finest examples of Qashani tile work from the Mughal period.
The Masjid is made of bricks and faced with gaily-collared glazed mosaic tiles. The use of inlaid pottery decoration in the wall panelling is remarkable. The grills of the mosque are in terra cotta.
Within the inner courtyard of the mosque lies the subterranean tomb of Syed Muhammad Ishaq, known as Miran Badshah, a divine who settled in Lahore during the time of the Tughlaq Dynasty. The tomb, therefore, predates the mosque.
Moti Masjid, one of the “Pearl Mosques”, is a 17th-century religious building located inside the Lahore Fort. It is a small, white marble structure built by Mughal emperor Shah Jehan, and is among his prominent extensions to the Lahore Fort Complex.
The mosque is located on the western side of Lahore Fort. After the demise of the Mughal Empire, the mosque was forcibly converted into a Sikh temple and was renamed as Moti Mandir during the period of the Sikh rule under Ranjit Singh. When the British took over Punjab in 1849, they discovered precious stones wrapped in bits of rags and placed in velvet purses scattered inside the mosque, along with other inventory.
The structure is typical of Mughal architecture of Shah Jehan’s times. It is completely built of white marble that was brought from Makrana. The facade is composed of cusped arches and engaged baluster columns with smooth and fine contours
The structure is typical of Mughal architecture of Shah Jehan’s times. It is completely built of white marble that was brought from Makrana. The facade is composed of cusped arches and engaged baluster columns with smooth and fine contours.The mosque has three superimposed domes, two aisles of five bays, and a slightly raised central pishtaq, or portal with a rectangular frame.This five-arched façade distinguishes it from other mosques of the similar class with three-arched facades. The interior is simple and plain with the exception of ceilings that are decorated and designed in four different orders, two arcuate, and two trabeated.
The Architecture of Lahore reflects the history of Lahore and is remarkable for its variety and uniqueness. These buildings left from the centuries ago rule of the Mughal Dynasty, the Sikh Empire, as well as from the era of the British Raj, show a blend of the styles of Victorian and Islamic architecture often referred to as Indo-Gothic.
Lahore’s architecture consists of the mosques mentioned above as well. An atypical style of all the major buildings was that they were surrounded by beautiful gardens.
By an architectural point of view, therefore, Lahore is essentially a Mughal city, its golden period being by and large the period of Mughal rule. The emperors added much to the city of Lahore making it a beautiful and cultured city. Today, no architectural work can be compared to the grand style of the Mughal. They have left an unprecedented mark that cannot be matched no matter how hard one tries.
This article was co-written by Mahnoor Shahid, Warda Naeem and Mirah Samran.