Lahore (Urdu: لاہور, Punjabi: لہور, is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in Pakistan after Karachi. The city lies along the Ravi River, is situated approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Wagah (the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan) and is 32 kilometres (20 mi) from the Indian city of Amritsar. Historically the main city of the undivided Punjab, Lahore has been a center of Muslim heritage since the Data Durbar is located here. It is often called the Garden of Mughals because of its rich Mughal heritage. It successively served as provincial/regional capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid 19th and early 20th century. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, and the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are popular tourist attractions for the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Mughal-Gothic style, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office (GPO), the Lahore Museum, and many older universities including the University of the Punjab. Lahore is often referred to as the cultural heart of Pakistan, as it is the center of Pakistani arts, films and intelligentsia.
According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was 6,318,745. A mid-2006 government estimate now puts the population at approximately 10 million. This makes Lahore the fifth largest city in South Asia and the 26th largest city in the world only in terms of population count. In 2008, Lahore was ranked as a city with High Sufficiency to become a Gamma world city.In 2010 it was ranked by The Guardian as the 2nd Best Tourist Destination in Pakistan.
History of Lahore
Etymology of Lahore, Origins of Lahore, and Hindu Raj in Lahore
A legend based on oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as Lavapuri (City of Lava in Sanskrit), was founded by Prince Lava, the son of Rama, while Kasur was founded by his twin brother Prince Kusha. To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh").
Ptolemy, the celebrated 2nd-century Egyptian astronomer and geographer, mentions in his Geographia a city called Labokla situated on the route between the Indus River and Palibothra, or Pataliputra (Patna) mostly, in a tract of country called Kasperia (Kashmir). It was described as extending along the rivers Bidastes or Vitasta (Jhelum), Sandabal or Chandra Bhaga (Chenab), and Adris or Iravati (Ravi). This city may have been ancient Lahore.
The oldest authentic document about Lahore was written anonymously in 982. It is called Hudud-i-Alam (The Regions of the World). In 1927 it was translated into English by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky and published in Lahore. In this document, Lahore is mentioned as a shehr or town inhabited by infidels"impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards." It refers to "two major markets around which dwellings exist," and it also mentions "the mud walls that enclose these two dwellings to make it one." The original document is currently held in the British Museum.Lahore was called by different names throughout history. To date there is no conclusive evidence as to when it was founded. Some historians trace the history of the city as far back as 4000 years ago. However, historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. Hieun-tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of Lahore which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century AD. Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes.
Ghaznavid Empire to Delhi Sultanate
Early Muhammadan period in Lahore
An 11th-century house in the Walled City
Lahore appears as the capital of the Punjab for the first time under Anandapala- the Hindu Shahi king who is reffered to as the ruler of (hakim i lahur)-after leaving the earlier capital of Waihind
Few references to Lahore remain from before its capture by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in the eleventh century. The sultan took Lahore after a long siege and battle in which the city was torched and depopulated. In 1021, Sultan Mahmud appointed Malik Ayaz to the throne and made Lahore the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire. As the first Muslim governor of Lahore, Ayaz rebuilt and repopulated the city. He added many important features, such as city gates and a masonry fort, built in 1037–1040 on the ruins of the previous one,which had been demolished in the fighting (as recorded by Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandari, author of the Khulasatut Tawarikh in 1695–96). The present Lahore Fort stands on the same location. Under Ayaz's rule, the city became a cultural and academic center, renowned for poetry. The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of town.
After the fall of the Ghaznavid Empire, Lahore was ruled by various Muslim dynasties known as the Delhi Sultanate, including the Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyid, Lodhis and Suris. When Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak was crowned here in 1206, he became the first Muslim sultan in South Asia. It was not until 1524 that Lahore became part of the Mughal Empire.
Mughal Era in Lahore
The entrance to the Badshahi Mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.
Lahore touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments, many of which are extant today.
Wazir Khan Mosque
From 1524 to 1752, Lahore was part of the Mughal Empire. Lahore grew under emperor Babur; from 1584 to 1598, under the emperors Akbar the Great and Jahangir, the city served as the empire's capital. Lahore reached the peak of its architectural glory during the rule of the Mughals, many of whose buildings and gardens have survived the ravages of time. Lahore's reputation for beauty fascinated the English poet John Milton, who wrote "Agra and Lahore, the Seat of the Great Mughal" in 1670. During this time, the massive Lahore Fort was built. A few buildings within the fort were added by Akbar's son, Mughal emperor Jahangir, who is buried in the city. Jahangir's son, Shahjahan Burki, was born in Lahore. He, like his father, extended the Lahore Fort and built many other structures in the city, including the Shalimar Gardens. The last of the great Mughals, Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707, built the city's most famous monuments, the Badshahi Masjid and the Alamgiri Gate next to the Lahore Fort.
During the 17th century, as Mughal power dwindled, Lahore was often invaded, and government authority was lacking. The great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the situation, "khada peeta wahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da" — "we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah". Ahmad Shah Durrani captured remnants of the Mughal Empire and had consolidated control over the Punjab and Kashmir regions by 1761.
The 1740s were years of chaos, and the city had nine different governors between 1745 and 1756. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas. The Sikhs were gaining momentum at an enormous rate. In 1801, the twelve Sikh misls joined into one to form a new empire and sovereign Sikh state ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Sikh Rule in Lahore
Samadhi of Ranjit Singh.
During the late 18th century, frequent invasions by Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Durrani Empire led to a lack of governance in the Punjab region. The Sikh Misls began to gain territory and eventually the Bhangi Misl captured Lahore. When Zaman Shah invaded Punjab again in 1799 Ranjit Singh was able to make gains in the chaos. He defeated Zaman in a battle between Lahore and Amritsar. The citizens of Lahore, encouraged by Sada Kaur, offered him the city and he was able to take control of it in a series of battles with the Bhangi Misl and their allies. Lahore served as the capital city of the Sikh Empire.
Map of Lahore drawn up during the rule of the British, 1893
Maharajah Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and was able to expand the kingdom to the Khyber Pass and also included Jammu and Kashmir, while keeping the British from expanding across the River Sutlej for more than 40 years. After his death in 1839 the internecine fighting between the Sikhs and several rapid forfeitures of territory by his sons, along with the intrigues of the Dogras and two Anglo-Sikh wars, eventually led to British control of the Lahore Darbar ten years later. For the British, Punjab was a frontier province, because Lahore had boundaries with Afghanistan and Persia. Therefore, the Punjabis, unlike the Bengalis and the Sindhis, were not allowed to use their mother tongue as an official language. The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab, including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism. Under British rule (1849–1947), colonial architecture in Lahore combined Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles. Under British rule, Sir Ganga Ram (sometimes referred to as the father of modern Lahore) designed and built the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) the Hailey College of Commerce, Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, and the Lady Maynard Industrial School. He also constructed Model Town, a suburb that has recently developed into a cultural center for Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite.
The GPO and YMCA buildings in Lahore commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, an event marked by the construction of clock towers and monuments all over British India. Other important British buildings included the High Court, the Government College University, the museums, the National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, the University of the Punjab (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly. Even today, Mall Road retains a variety of Gothic and Victorian style buildings built during the British Raj. At one end of The Mall stands the university, one of the most prestigious universities of Pakistan. The British also launched the city's first horse-racing club in 1924, starting a tradition that continues today at the Lahore Race Club.
Independence of Pakistan
Minar-e-Pakistan, where the Lahore Resolution was passed.
Lahore played a special role in the independence movements of both India and Pakistan. The 1929 Indian National Congress session was held at Lahore. In this Congress, the Declaration of the Independence of India was moved by Pandit Nehru and passed unanimously at midnight on 31 December 1929.On this occasion, the contemporary tricolour of India (with a chakra at its centre) was hoisted for the first time as a national flag, and thousands of people saluted it.
Lahore's prison was used by the British to detain revolutionary freedom fighters. Noted freedom fighter Jatin Das died in Lahore's prison after fasting for 63 days in protest of British treatment of political prisoners. One of the greatest martyrs in the history of Indian independence, Shaheed Sardar Bhagat Singh, was hanged here.
The most important session of the All India Muslim League (later the Pakistan Muslim League), demanding the creation of Pakistan, was held in Lahore in 1940. Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) demanded a separate homeland for Muslims of India in a document known as the Pakistan Resolution or the Lahore Resolution. It was during this session that Jinnah, the leader of the league, publicly proposed the Two-Nation Theory for the first time.
Upon the independence of Pakistan, Lahore was made capital of the Punjab province in the new state of Pakistan. Almost immediately, large scale riots broke out among Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, causing many deaths as well as damage to historic monuments—including the Lahore Fort, Badshahi mosque and other colonial buildings. With United Nations assistance, the government was able to rebuild Lahore, and most scars of the communal violence of independence were erased. Less than 20 years later, however, Lahore once again became a battleground in the War of 1965. The battlefield and trenches can still be observed today close to the Wahga border area.
After independence, Lahore lost much of its glory, but in the 1990s, Lahore once again gained its significance as an economic and cultural powerhouse through government reforms. The second Islamic Summit Conference was held in the city. In 1996 the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup final match was held at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The Walled City of Lahore known locally as the "Un-droone Shehr" is the oldest and most historic part of Lahore. The Punjab government embarked on a major project in 2009 to restore the Royal Trail (Shahi Guzar Gah) from Akbari Gate to the Lahore Fort with the help of the World Bank under the Sustainable Development of the Walled City of Lahore (SDWCL) project. The project aims at the Walled City development, at exploring and highlighting economic potential of the Walled City as a cultural heritage, exploring and highlighting the benefits of the SWDCL project for the residents, and at soliciting suggestions regarding maintenance of development and conservation of the Walled City.
Geography of Lahore and Climate of Lahore
Lying between 31°15′—31°45′ N and 74°01′—74°39′ E, Lahore is bounded on the north and west by the Sheikhupura District, on the east by Wagah, and on the south by Kasur District. The Ravi River flows on the northern side of Lahore. Lahore city covers a total land area of 404 km² and is still growing.
Lahore features a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) with rainy, long and extremely hot summers, dry and warm winters, a monsoon and dust storms. The weather of Lahore is extreme during the months of May, June and July, when the temperatures soar to 40–48 °C (104–118 °F). From late June till August, the monsoon seasons starts, with heavy rainfall throughout the province. The city’s highest maximum temperature was 48.3 °C (118.9 °F) recorded on May 30, 1944.And 48 °C (118 °F) was recorded on June 10, 2007. At the time the meteorological office recorded this official temperature in the shade, it reported a heat index in direct sunlight of 55 °C (131 °F). The lowest temperature recorded in Lahore is −1.1 °C (30 °F) recorded on 13 January 1967. The highest rainfall in the city recorded during 24 hours is 221 millimetres (8.7 in), which occurred on 13 August 2008.
Under the latest revision of Pakistan's administrative structure, promulgated in 2001,Lahore was tagged as a City District, and divided into nine towns. Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.'s).
Administrative towns of Lahore
1. Ravi Town
2. Shalimar Town
3. Wagah Town
4. Aziz Bhatti Town
5. Data Gunj Bakhsh Town
7. Samanabad Town
8. Iqbal Town
9. Nishtar Town
A. Lahore Cantonment
Egyptian Style Bahria Town, Lahore
Other major residential areas within Lahore include: Abdalian Housing Society, Awan Town, Badami Bagh, Bahria Town, Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Faisal Town, Garden Town, GCP Society, Green Town, Gulberg, Samanabad, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Hassan Town, Ichhra, Iqbal Town, Sabzazar, Islampura, Ittefaq Town, Johar Town, Model Town, Muhafiz Town, Mustafa Town, Nespak Society, New Muslim Town, NFC Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Pasco Society, Punjab Cooperative Housing Society, Sabzazar Scheme, Sant Nagar, Saroba Gardens, Shad Bagh, Sukh Chayn Gardens, Township, Valencia Town, WAPDA Town, Iqbal Avenue Co-operative Housing Society and Youhanabad.
Lahore's old city fabric has changed dramatically over time under the occupation of various South Asian empires. Some of the older remaining districts of Lahore are: Baghbanpura, Batapur, Begum Kot, Canal View Housing Society, Central Park, Chah Miran, Chowk Yateem Khana, Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Gawalmandi, Harbanspura, Jallo Mor, Krishan Nagar, Lakshmi Chowk, Mozang Chungi, Mughalpura, Qila Gujar Singh, Raiwind, Sanda, Shahdara Bagh, Shadman and Tajpura Scheme LDA, Sultanpura and Al Faisal Town,
Economy of Lahore
The Liberty Roundabout or Al-Falah Square is an important economic center of Lahore.
Head office of the PIA in Lahore.
As of 2008, the city's gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at $40 billion with a projected average growth rate of 5.6 percent. This is at par with Pakistan's other economic hub, Karachi, with Lahore (having half the population) fostering an economy that is 51% of the size of Karachi's ($78 billion in 2008). The contribution of Lahore to the national economy is supposed to be around 13.2%. Lahore's GDP is projected to be $102 billion by the year 2025, with a slightly higher growth rate of 5.6% per annum, as compared to Karachi's 5.5%.Central to Lahore's economy is the Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE), Pakistan's second largest stock exchange. Lahore has offices of several Pakistani government corporations including the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Water and Sewage Authority (WASA). Food and restaurant businesses remain open all night. Lahore is the second largest financial hub of Pakistan and has industrial areas including Kot Lakhpat and the new Sundar Industrial Estate (near Raiwand). Lahore’s economic base is broad and varied. Major industries include the manufacture of automobiles and motorcycles, home appliances, steel, telecommunications, information technology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, computers, engineering, and construction material. A major industrial agglomeration with about 9,000 industrial units, Lahore has shifted in recent decades from manufacturing to service industries. Some 42% of its work force is employed in finance, banking, real estate, community, cultural, and social services. The city is the country’s largest software producing center,and hosts a growing computer-assembly industry.
Aerial View of a Roundabout at Sukh Chayn Gardens Housing Estate in Lahore.
Lahore's economic strength relies on the fact that it is the biggest city of Pakistan's most populous province. It is also the most advanced in terms of infrastructure, having extensive and relatively well developed road links to all major cities in Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, a rail link with India and the province's biggest International airport. It also has the most developed communications infrastructure in the province, which includes a wide network of fiber optic telephone and cable lines, GSM mobile network, IPP and WiMax. It has the most developed education and health sectors as well, making it the economic, political and educational hub of the province. As Lahore expands, former residential areas are being turned into commercial centres, and the suburban population is constantly moving outwards. This has resulted in the development of the Liberty Market, MM Alam Road, the new Jail Road (which has some of the largest office buildings in Lahore), and the Main Boulevard.
Lahore is famous as the hub of handmade carpet manufacturing in Pakistan. At present, hand-knitted carpets produced in and around Lahore are among Pakistan's leading export products, and their manufacturing is the second-largest cottage and small industry.
Craftsmen in Lahore produce almost every type of handmade carpet using popular motifs such as medallions, paisleys, traceries, and geometric designs. The Lahore Design Centre at the Punjab Small Industries Corporation maintains a separate section of carpet designing to experiment with new designs. Lahore is famous for single-wefted designs in Turkoman and Caucasian style and double-wefted Mughal types.
Metro, Makro and Hyperstar (Carrefour) have situated their headquarters in Lahore.
Among the projects currently under construction in Lahore is the long-delayed Lahore Expo Centre.
Lake City is a resort and residential development planned on the outskirts of Lahore. Covering an area of more than 2,104 acres (851 ha), the resort will include lush green parks, sinuous lakes, an 18-hole regulation golf course and other features.
Defense Raya Golf Resort, also under construction, will be Pakistan's largest and Asia's largest golf course. The project is the result of a partnership between DHA Lahore and BRDB Malaysia. The rapid development of large projects such as these in the city is expected to boost the economy of the country. Among the many other projects under construction in Lahore are: Pace Tower (24 floors, under construction), Mall99 (21 floors, under construction), Lahore Expo Center (under construction),Expo Center tower (approved), IT Tower (23 floors, under construction), Alamgir Tower (31 floors, under construction), DHA Haly Tower (low rise, under construction),Lahore Ring Road (under construction), Lahore Sports City (approved), Kot Lakhpat elevated expressway (approved), Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (vision), Xinhua Mall (20 floors, under construction),Lahore-Sialkot motorway (under construction), Boulevard Heights (19 floors, under construction), Pearl Continental Tower (40 floors, 152 meters, proposed), LDA Tower (40 floors, approved), Bank Square Gulberg (vision), Pace Circle and Hyatt Regency (12 floors, under construction) and Tricon Corporate Tower (18 floors, under construction).
The economy is also enhanced by Lahore's historic and cultural importance. Being the capital of the largest province in Pakistan brings the city one of the largest development budgets in the country.
Transport in Lahore
The Lahore Ring Road.
M2: The Lahore-Islamabad Motorway.
Lahore is one of Pakistan's most accessible cities and the only city in the country where one can find public and private transportation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This includes public buses, as well as thousands of rickshaws and taxis, which run on compressed natural gas to reduce pollution in the city. About 75% of residents have their own conveyances. The roads in the city are well maintained and are broadened when needed to meet increasing demand.
The Lahore Ring Road (LRR) Project was launched on December 22, 2004 at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President General Pervez Musharaf. The LRR Project is a large road project being developed by the Punjab Government, intended to ensure efficient and speedy movement of freight and passengers, to alleviate traffic flow problems, and to boost the city's potential for industrial development. The project includes the construction of a six-lane divided highway, interchanges, RCC bridges, reinforced earth abutments and walls, overhead pedestrian bridges, culverts, tunnels, underpasses, flyovers and related works, at a total projected cost of over Rs.20 billion and Rs.13 billion respectively.
In addition to the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road), motorways connecting all major cities (Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, etc.) have been built. A motorway to Sialkot is under construction. The government has built underpasses to ease congestion and prevent traffic jams, and according to official figures, Lahore has the highest number of underpasses in Pakistan. The government would undertake planned rehabilitation of the roads, which have outlived their designed life, construction of missing road links and development of province-wide secondary arteries linking national motorways and trade corridors to foster economic opportunities via meeting expanding domestic and international travel and trade demands.
The Punjab government had allocated Rs 170.300 million for W/I of Thokar-Raiwind Road, Rs 50 million for the dualisation of Lahore-Jaranwala Road from Ferozepur Interchange to Mandi Faizabad, Rs 40 million for the construction of extending building for IWMI Thokar Niaz Baig Lahore, Rs 2.7 million for the construction of an overhead bridge at Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Road near University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Rs 56 million for PC-II for a feasibility study of elevated expressways in Lahore, Rs 10 million for the construction of an elevated expressway from Lahore Bridge to Niazi Chowk, Rs 50 million for the strengthening of Sheikhupura-Gujranwala Road, and Rs 15 million for the construction of a bypass between Sargodha and Lahore Road.
Korean-owned Daewoo City Bus Service operates four routes within Lahore.
Several bus companies operate in Lahore. Premier Bus Services, owned by the Beaconhouse Group, was started in 2003, and provides transportation services to the general public in Lahore. With over 240 buses running on exclusive routes, it is the largest public transport company in Pakistan. As of 2010, the buses are in the process of being converted to compressed natural gas for environmental and economic reasons. Sammi Daewoo's City Bus Division operates four routes within the city and two suburban routes for Gujranwala and Sheikhupura. Though these buses are fewer in number, they are air-conditioned and provide better comfort to passengers. In addition to these two major companies, there are several other small companies (New Khan Metro, Niazi, etc.) that provide services within Lahore; they cover only particular routes and are few in number.
Lahore Railway Station
Pakistan Railways is headquartered in Lahore. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of transportation for commuters and connects distant parts of the country with Lahore for business, sightseeing, pilgrimage, and education. The Lahore Central Railway Station, built during the British colonial era, is located in the heart of the city.
To accommodate increased air travel, the government built a new city airport in 2003. It was named Allama Iqbal International Airport after the national poet-philosopher of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and is served by international airlines as well as the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The previous airport now operates as the Hajj Terminal to facilitate the great influx of pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj every year. Lahore also has a general aviation airport known as Walton Airport.
Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) System is a project envisioned to provide mass transit facilities to Lahore. The project is expected to be completed in 2020. In the first phase, two light rail lines will be constructed. The first Green Line between Shahdra and Hamza Town (Ferozpur Road) will be completed by 2011 and cost $2.4 billion. The second Orange Line between Pakistan Mint and Sabzazar will cost US $1.9 billion and will be completed by 2015. In the second phase, Blue and Purple lines will be constructed.
Aerial View of Lahore City
According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was 6,318,745. Mid-2006 government estimates put the population at somewhere around 10 million, which makes it the second largest city in Pakistan, after Karachi. It is considered to be one of the 30 largest cities of the world.
Punjabi is the native language of the province and is the most widely spoken language in Lahore. Urdu has started to become more prominent in many areas due to its official status as the national language and due to increasing migration from other parts of the country. Despite this, Punjabi remains the primary means of communication in both the city and adjoining rural areas. English has become increasingly popular with educated and younger people due to its official status in government and preferred language status for business. Many Punjabi speakers in Lahore are known as Lahori Punjabi due to their use of a mixture of Punjabi and colloquial Urdu. According to the 1998 census, 86.2% or 6,896,000 of the population are Punjabis; 10.2% or 816,000 are Urdu speakers; 3% speak Pashto; and the Seraikis, at 0.4%, number about 32,000.
Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Religion in Lahore
According to the 1998 census, 94% of Lahore's population is Sunni or Shia Muslim, up from 60% in 1941. Other religions include Christians (5.80% of the total population, though they form around 9.0% of the rural population), and a small number of Bahá'ís, Hindus, Parsis, and Sikhs. Due to Lahore's diverse culture, there are many mosques, shrines, synagogues, Hindu and Jain temples, Sikh Gurudwaras, and churches across the city. Some of the most famous mosques include: Badshahi Masjid, Dai Anga Mosque, Data Durbar Complex, Shia Masjid, Suneri Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque, Moti Masjid, Masjid-e-Shuhda (Martyr's Mosque) and Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum. Some of the famous shrines include: Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal, Bibi Pak Daman, Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, Tomb of Shah Jamal, Tomb of Lal Hussain, Tomb of Anārkalī, Tomb of Jahangir, Tomb of Empress Nur Jehan and Tomb of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan. Some of the well-known churches include Regal Church, Hall Road Church, Convent of Jesus and Mary and Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Culture of Lahore, Architecture of Lahore, Festivals of Lahore, Shopping in Lahore, and Lahori cuisine
Minaret of Badshahi Mosque in background, viewed from the roof of Cooco's Den
Lahore's culture is unique. Known as the Cultural Capital or Heart of Pakistan, the city was the seat of the Mughal Empire and the Sikh Empire as well as the capital of Punjab in Mahmud Ghaznavi's 11th century empire and in the British Empire.
Cooco's cafe, a famous restaurant in the Old city of Lahore
Lahore has played an important role in Pakistani history. It was in this city that Pakistan's independence declaration was made. It was the largest city in the newly formed Pakistan at the time of independence and provided the easiest access to India, with its porous border near the Indian city of Amritsar only 30 miles (48 km) to the east. Large numbers of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims lived closely in Lahore before the independence of Pakistan. The city suffered revolts, demonstrations and bloodshed at the time of independence due to the enmity between Muslims and Hindus at the time and the uncertainty which loomed over the fate of Lahore even after India and Pakistan became independent. Lahore's culture, its history, institutions, food, clothing, films, music, fashion, and liberal community lifestyle attract people from all over the country.
The people of Lahore celebrate many festivals and events throughout the year, blending Mughal, Western, and other traditions. Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are celebrated. Many people decorate their houses and light candles to illuminate the streets and houses during public holidays; roads and businesses may be lit for days. The mausoleum of Ali Hujwiri, also known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (Persian/Urdu: داتا گنج بخش) or Data Sahib, is located in Lahore, and an annual urs is held every year as a big festival.
Basant is a Punjabi festival marking the coming of spring. Basant celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore, and people from all over the country and from abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite-flying competitions traditionally take place on city rooftops during Basant. Courts have banned the kite-flying because of casualties and power installation losses. The ban was lifted for two days in 2007, then immediately reimposed when 11 people were killed by celebratory gunfire, sharp kite-strings, electrocution, and falls related to the competition.
The Festival of Lamps, or Mela Chiraghan, is an important and popular event in Lahore. This is celebrated at the same time as Basant, every spring on the last Friday of March, outside the Shalimar Gardens.
The tomb of Allama Iqbal.
The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals, held in spring in the Fortress Stadium. The week-long activities include a livestock display, horse and camel dances, tent pegging, colourful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays, and tattoo shows in the evenings. On August 14, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from the British Raj. There are lots of celebrations in Lahore; the streets are full of people singing and dancing. Parades of the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force are held early in the morning. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers.
The World Performing Arts Festival is held every autumn (usually in November) at the Alhambra cultural complex, a large venue consisting of several theatres and amphitheatres. This ten-day festival consists of musicals, theatre, concerts, dance, solo, mime, and puppetry shows. The festival has an international character, with nearly 80 percent of the shows performed by international performers. On average 15–20 different shows are performed every day of the festival.
The Dhol player for Overload, a Sufi-Classical-Rock band of Lahore.
Lahoris are known for their love of food and eating. While Lahore has a great many traditional and modern restaurants, in recent years Western fast food chains, such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Subway Sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts, Nando's and Kentucky Fried Chicken have appeared all over the city. Recently the food streets in the historic locales of Lahore (Gawalmandi, Anarkali, and Badshahi) have attracted tourists. Food streets have undergone restorations and are cordoned off in the evenings for pedestrian traffic only; numerous cafés serve local delicacies under the lights and balconies of restored havelis (traditional residential dwellings). Some of the trendiest restaurants in Lahore are concentrated on the M M Alam Road in Gulberg. Here, dozens of high-class culinary outlets, ranging from Western franchises to traditional, ethnic, or theme restaurants, attract all classes of Lahore's citizens. New restaurants are constantly opening, and the business is extremely competitive. Many boisterous restaurants of Lahore are open late into the night. Some branches of Pizza Hut and McDonald's are open 24/7; McDonald's and KFC also offer a home delivery service. Lahore also boasts a unique restaurant housed in a 300-year-old Kothi-style dwelling of a famous artist which was once a brothel. At different times in the life of this property, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim families have owned it. Another famous Lahore landmark is the Pak Tea House in Anarkali, long a favoured haunt of intellectuals and artists.
The alleys and lanes of these bazaars are full of traditional wares like leather articles, embroidered garments, glass bangles, beaten gold and silver jewelry, and creations in silk. Anarkali is named after the famous courtesan of Akbar’s time, Anarkali (Pomegranate Blossom). The grave of Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak, who died falling off his horse while playing polo, is located in Anarkali on Aibak Road. Rang Mahal is part of old Lahore and today's houses a largest wholesale and retail cloth markets in Punjab. Lahore's technology markets include the Hall Road, Pakistan's largest electronics market adjacent to the Mall Road, and the Hafeez Centre, Asia's largest computer market, located on the Gulberg Main Boulevard. Pace, a shopping centre, is also located on the Main Boulevard beside the Hafeez Centre. Other well-known and popular shopping areas are the Liberty Market in Gulberg and at the Fortress Stadium, as well as malls in Gulberg, Model Town, M M Alam Road, and Cantonment. Apart from these, shopping areas are being developed in many of Lahore's new suburbs such as Bahria, Lake City, and Cantonment.
Lahore offers a variety of nighttime activities. There are popular shisha bars (offering the flavoured tobacco pipes commonly found in Middle Eastern nations), attractive food outlets, and musical concerts and shows. Alcohol is available to foreigners who request it at certain hotels, but is generally not sold in public. Lahoris are known for their exquisite taste in food, so the market has produced some of the most versatile, classy and inviting restaurants in the world. The blend of food and music at some uniquely expressive locales is exceptional. There are many shopping areas which remain open late into the night, offering an atmosphere of lively hustle and bustle (not to mention numerous bargains). There are scenic parks that are frequented by joggers, couples, children, students and seniors. Bagh-e-Jinnah (formerly known as Lawrence Gardens) is one such place; it has a large variety of gorgeous plants, trees, long and varied pathways and creative light effects. The younger crowd is generally more attracted to shops and restaurants near Gaddafi Stadium, Fortress Stadium and Gulberg. Most of the food chains are also here. The city has many significant connections with Sikhism and played an important part in the history of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Ram Das was born at Bazaar Chuna Mandi, Lahore in 1534 A.D. Guru Arjan Dev got the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib, laid by a Muslim Saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore in December 1588. Guru Arjan met an untimely death when he was tortured on the orders of the Emperor Jahangir in 1606 in this city. The Gurdwara Dehra Sahib and the Ranjit Singh Samadhi are located in Lahore.
Parks and gardens in Lahore
An artificial waterfall at Jilani Park.
Sukh Chayn, a joint venture between the governments of Pakistan and China
Shalamar Gardens is a Persian garden built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
Lahore is known as the City of Gardens. Many gardens were built in Lahore during the Mughal era, some of which still survive. The Shalimar Gardens were laid out during the reign of Shah Jahan and were designed to mimic the Islamic paradise of the afterlife described in the Qur'an. The gardens follow the familiar charbagh layout of four squares, with three descending terraces. The Lawrence Gardens were established in 1862 and were originally named after Sir John Lawrence, late 19th century British Viceroy to India. The many other gardens and parks in the city include Hazuri Bagh, Iqbal Park, Mochi Bagh, Gulshan Iqbal Park, Model Town Park, Race Course Park, Nasir Bagh Lahore, Jallo Park, Wild Life Park, and Changa Manga, an artificial forest near Lahore in the Kasur district. Another example is the Bagh-e-Jinnah, a 141-acre (57 ha) botanical garden that houses entertainment and sports facilities as well as a library.
The Lahore Zoo is the second oldest zoo in the South Asia after Calcutta and has been a source of amusement and recreation for families for more than a 100 years. In December 2004, Pakistan and China signed a $110 million contract for the construction of a housing project on Multan Road in Lahore. The result was Sukh Chayn Gardens, a beautiful housing society full of lush green parks and gardens.
Lahore also has a safari park covering more than 200 acres (81 ha). The park has safaris for different animals. The safaris with tigers, lions, rhinos, elephants, bear, apes, African and Indus plane animals cover an area of 80 acres (32 ha). Pakistan’s largest walkthrough aviary is also located here, with all kinds of birds, including pheasants, waterfowls and peacocks. Birds are kept in their natural habitat instead of being caged; a net fence at the perimeter keeps birds in the aviary. There are more than a thousand species of animals in the park. Lahore's biggest lake is also situated here for boating and fishing.
Jilani Park (formerly Race Course Park) is famous for its floral exhibitions and artificial waterfall. Annual horse racing competitions are held in this park.
Hospitals in Lahore
Lahore has a number of hospitals, including Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Nawaz Sharif Social Security Hospital, Lahore General Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Gulab Devi Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Sheikh Zaid Hospital, Ittefaq Hospital, Punjab Institute of Cardiology and Sharif Medical Complex. The current government of Punjab has a comprehensive plan to establish new hospitals and medical colleges in the city.
Government College University.
Education in Lahore
Educational institutions in Lahore, List of special schools in Lahore, and List of libraries in Lahore
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Library
Lahore is known as Pakistan's education capital, with more colleges and universities than any other city in the country. Lahore is Pakistan’s largest producer of professionals in the fields of science, technology, IT, engineering, medicine, nuclear sciences, pharmacology, telecommunication, biotechnology and microelectronics. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities. The current literacy rate of Lahore is 74%.
Lahore hosts some of Pakistan's oldest educational institutes: Government College Lahore (now Government College University), established in 1864; Forman Christian College, a chartered university established in 1864; University of the Punjab, established in 1882; Kinnaird College, established in 1913; and University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET Lahore), established in 1921.
The University of Lahore is a new private sector university in Lahore. It is emerging as a university with strength in the areas of engineering sciences and technology, business & administrative sciences, and biotechnology.
University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET Lahore) is Pakistan's oldest technical degree-awarding institute and its first university in the field of engineering and technology. Established as Mughalpura Technical College in 1921, it was upgraded to a university in 1961. UET Lahore is Pakistan's largest public-sector engineering university, offering bachelor's degrees in 29 specialties and Master of Science degrees in 55 specialties.
Lahore's institutes in the fields of computer science, IT, and engineering include the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NU) and Punjab University College of Information Technology (PUCIT).
Lahore's notable business schools include the University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and Lahore School of Economics.
Lahore boasts some of the finest high schools in Asia: Aitchison College, St. Anthony's College, Lahore College of Arts and Sciences and Lahore Grammar School, which feed students to leading universities across the globe.
Other notable educational institutes situated in Lahore include Comsats Institute of Information Technology, National College of Arts; a regional campus of the National University of Modern Languages (NUML); Hajvery University (HU); and the University of Education (UE), established in 2002 as Pakistan's first specialized university in the field of education.
Arts and media
Lollywood Films set in Lahore, List of television stations in Pakistan, and List of magazines in Pakistan
Khuda Kay Liye, a recent successful movie shot and based in Lahore.
Lahore is the core of Pakistan's media and arts scene. Pakistan's most prestigious art college, National College of Arts, is located here. Every year, it hosts the World Performing Arts Festival, in which artists from dozens of countries show off their talents. This festival is managed by the Peerzada group, which is also the largest puppetry theater company in Pakistan. Lahore is also home to the country's developing fashion industry, supported by numerous designer outlets and the country's most prestigious fashion school, the Pakistan School of Fashion Design, which has some of the best photo studios and photographers in the country.
Lahore has also been home to Pakistan's old classical music, ghazals and Qawwalis, with big names such as Noor Jehan, Arif Lohar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali residing in the city. In recent years Lahore has produced some of Pakistan's greatest pop singers, such as Ali Azmat, Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar. The city is recognized as the birthplace of South Asia's modern rock scene thanks to popular bands like Junoon, Jal, Call, Roxen, Noori and Entity Paradigm, some of whose songs have been featured in Bollywood films.
Pakistan's film industry is based in the city and is called Lollywood. Many films are filmed in Lahore and the city has some of the oldest film studios in the country. Many actors and directors are based in Lahore, which brings many artists together to launch films. Cinema's popularity is on the upswing again in recent years and IMAX is building outlets in the city. Several FM radio stations and television stations have set up their operations here. Lahore is home to Geo TV's Infotainment Division and Pakistan's first children's television channel, Wikid, as well as Pakistan's first community channel, Asset Plus (available only in DHA Lahore) and lifestyle channel, Value TV. The television channel, City 42 broadcasts news and information about latest happenings and events in the city. The channel contains a variety of programs in Urdu, Punjabi and English which span from current affairs to general infotainment.
Sports venues in Lahore
Cricket is the most popular sport in Lahore.
Gaddafi Stadium is a Test cricket ground in Lahore. Designed by Pakistani architect Nayyar Ali Dada, it was completed in 1959 and is one of the biggest cricket stadiums in Asia. After its renovation for the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the stadium now boasts a capacity of over 60,000. Nearby is an athletics stadium, a basketball pitch, the Al Hamra, open-air hall similar in design to the coliseum, and the world's largest field hockey stadium, Another Cricket Ground and Headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board, all based in the city's Sports complex. In the same vicinity lie headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation, as well as the multi-sport Punjab Stadium.
Lahore is home to Pakistan Premier League giants WAPDA FC, Pakistan Railways FC, PEL FC, and Wohaib FC. In addition to football, Kabaddi, a South Asian team sport, is also popular in Lahore. Many citizens play Kabbadi after work.
The Lahore Marathon is part of an annual package of six international marathons being sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Lahore race carries prize money of approximately US$100,000. More than 20,000 athletes from Pakistan and all over the world participate in this event. It was first held on January 30, 2005, and again on January 29, 2006. More than 22,000 people participated in the 2006 race. The third marathon was held on January 14, 2007.
Plans exist to build Pakistan's first sports city in Lahore, on the bank of the Ravi River.