Lahore Fort

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The Lahore Fort a World Heritage Site was initially constructed in 1566 AD by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, on the ruins of a mud fort which existed as early as 1021 AD. The Fort is rectangular and is located in the north western corner of Lahore, adjacent to the Walled City. Located centrally in the city of Lahore, the Lahore Fort is a magnificent fortified palace complex. The impressive twin-domed entrance leads into elaborately decorated courtyards and pavilions with water features, some with still intact sumptuous wall decorations of inlaid semiprecious stones and painted designs. It’s large enough to allow several elephants carrying members of the royal family to enter at one time. There are a flight of stone steps specially built for ceremonial elephant processions.

The fort as it stands today is not what it was when it was initially constructed in 1566. Every successive Mughal emperor besides the Sikhs, and the British added a pavilion, palace of wall to the Fort. Jahangir, Shah Jehan and later Aurangzeb added modifications of massively fortified walls. .It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque and other older one known as Masjidi Gate which opens towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar. Akbar got the Diwan-i-Aam (Hall for Commoners) built in the traditional Iranian style, all constructed in red sand stone imported from Rajistan. Shah Jahan also constructed the Diwan-e-Khas, and also constructed Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and his own sleeping chambers. Emperor Jahangir extended the gardens and constructed the palaces in the Jehangir’s Quadrangle.

Origins: The origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and are traditionally based on various myths. However, during the excavation carried out in 1959 by the Department of Archaeology, in front of Diwan-e-Aam, a gold coin of Mahmood of Ghazni dated AH 416 (1025 AD) was found at a depth of 7.62 metres from the level of the lawns. Cultural layers continued to a further depth of 5 metres, giving strong indications that people had lived here long before the conquest of Lahore by Mahmood in 1021 AD. Further mention of the fort is traceable to Shahab-Ud-Din Muhammad Ghuri’s successive invasions of Lahore from 1180 to 1186 AD. In 1758, the fort was captured by the Maratha forces under Raghunathrao. Then the Bhangi Sikh Dynasty (1716–1810), one of the 12 Sikh Kingdoms (Misl) of Punjab ruled Lahore City from 1760s until 1799 and expanded the City of Lahore. 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. Lahore Fort and the city from (1799–1849) remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-e-Panjab, until the fall of the last Sikh empire or the Lahore Darbar in 1849‎.