Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Lahore Fort is locally known as Shahi Qila is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Lahore in Pakistan. The fort is located in the northwestern corner of Lahore, adjacent to the Walled City. Some of the famous sites worth seeing in the Shahi Qila are Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. The fort is 1,400 feet in length and 1,115 feet in width. The fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Shalamar Gardens in 1981.
Lahore fortress is contemporary to Agra Fort and is based on the same formal organization. The Shahi Qila is distinguished by strong Persian stylistic influences, as well as the Hindu influences also apparent at the Agra and Delhi forts. Though many revisions have been made to the fort yet the scheme of the Mughals seems to have been preserved.
The high outer walls of the Shahi Qila are decorated with blue kashi tiles of Persian origin. The fort has two distinct sections - the private palatial section and the administrative section. The residential section of the fort is arranged in courts along the northern half of the fort and is accessed by the Hathi Pol, or 'elephant gate'. The northeastern section of the fort includes red sandstone buildings. It is the oldest part of the residences, and was built during the time of Akbar.
The Bari Khwabgah, or 'large bedroom' in the Shahi Qila is attributed to Jahangir. Later, Shah Jahan built Choti Khwabgah, in white marble, an addition to the fort. The Mussaman Burj, Naulakha Pavilion, and the Shish Mahal, known as the 'hall of mirrors', also built by Shah Jahan. These are the examples of the ornate architecture in fine white marble work that he brought to the Fort.
The more public, administrative section of the fort is organized in a layer that conceals the private one. The Shahi Qila in Lahore accessed from the Alamgiri Gate. This gate was built by Aurangzib and it leads into the large courtyard of the Diwan-i-Amm, or hall of public audience. The Fort or the Shahi Qila also contains gardens and a mosque.