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Situated on the east bank of the River Ravi, the wonderful city of Lahore adds to the charisma of Pakistan. Legend traces its origin to Loh, the son of Rama Chandra, the hero of the Ramayana, but history records that it began as a dependency of the 8th century AD Hindu ruler, Lalitiditya. In the early 11th century it came under Muslim rule and evolved as a center of Islamic culture and learning as well as trade and commerce. In the 13th century it was depopulated and razed to the ground by the Tartar-Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. Lahore was a cultural and intellectual center during the Moghul and British eras. Such atmosphere still pervades, but it is the diversity and contrast of the different sections of Lahore, which makes it the most eventfully interesting part of Pakistan.
Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan and the provincial capital of Punjab. Apart from being the cultural and academic centre of the country, Lahore is the Mughal "show-window" of Pakistan. In the Mughal days a 9-meter high brick wall surrounded the Old City. It had a rampart running around it which almost connected with the River Ravi to serve as protection for the city. A circular road around the rampart gave access to the city through thirteen gates. Some of the imposing structures of these gates are still preserved. In the bazaars of the Old City one can still find tiny shops where craftsmen can be seen busy turning out master-pieces in copper, brass, silver and textiles in traditional fashion.
In modern days, Lahore hosts a large number of industrial units running day and night to play their vital role in developing the country's economy. Lahore is also an important center of journalistic activities. A large number of newspapers, journals and magazines are published here. Lahore is a great commercial and trade center. It has combined the life style of east and west and presents a lively mixture of some old and new patterns of life.
The most important historical monuments of the Moghul's in Lahore are; the Royal Fort (Shahi Qila), the Badshahi Mosque. The Independance monument, the tombs of emperor Jehangir, Noor Jehan, Anarkali, Asif-Jah and the famous Shalimar Gardens. In the old part of the town and off the Kashmir Bazaar, reputedly the most beautiful Mosque of South Asia is located, the "Wazir Khan's Mosque'. It is a marvellous specimen of tile work and arabesque paintings. The Imperial or the Badshahi Mosque is accross the courtyard from Alamgiri Gate of the Lahore Fort. The Mosque, made up entirely of red sandstone, was built by Emperor Aurangzeb. 5 kms east of old city, are the famous Shalimar Gardens laid out by Mughal Emperor Shah-Jehan in 1642 A.D. The Gardens are set out in typical Mughul style and are surrounded by high walls with watchtowers at the four corners. The Golden Mosque is also situated in the Kashmiri Bazaar. It was built in 1753 A.D. by Nawab Syed Bhikari Khan who was Deputy Governor of Lahore.
The ashes of the Sikh ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and of his four wives lie in a dome adjacent to the Hazoori Bagh and is famously known as 'Samadhy of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh'. Apart from these there are certain Shrines and Mausoleums like the Shrine of Data Sahib (Hazrat Ali Hajveri), the Mausoleum of Emperor Jehangir, Asif Khan's (Jehangir's brother-in-law) Mausoleum, Empress Noor Jehan's (light of the world) Tomb whose name appeared on the coins of the Mughal Empire, Qutbuddin Aibak's Tomb, Anarkali's Tomb and the tomb of Allama Muhammad Iqbal who has been hailed as the poet-philosopher of the East.
Lahore is a city full of life and color. It has something for everyone. Large number of beautiful gardens, historically exotic forts, mosques and shrines, mughal architectures and museums, shopping centres, fairs and festivals all add-up to make Lahore as Pakistan's most surprisingly colorful package!Archaeological Sites