Last weekend we took our daughters to the majestic Lahore Fort … the idea was to keep them in touch with our heritage and spend some time away from television and computers. Of course they didn’t like it.
The fort is almost at an hour’s drive from our place, just outside the old Walled City. The closer one gets to it, the worse the traffic gets. The area is very congested and thickly populated part of the city … What you see is old buildings patched up with modern materials and structures trying their best to gel in with the overall environment.
The fort stands quiet and proud in the middle of all this noise and chaos of modern life that keeps encroaching upon its beauty and peace.
Right outside the fort, we had to wade through a sea of vendors, selling everything on earth from cotton candy to deep fried snacks to handmade shoes to Chinese toys.
Throngs of people visit the fort everyday, not because they are smitten with the historical significance or the elegance of the fort. They go there for the sake of roaming around, for having picnics on the lawns or simply for engraving their names on the trees and walls of the building … their way of leaving their mark on history!
The Lahore fort has been loved, attacked, captured, destroyed and restored by many emperors and warriors over the centuries. The existing structure is believed to have been erected by Moghul emperor Akbar in the 16th century. His successors added more palaces, hallways, galleries and gardens to the premises. But some coins excavated from the site show that the building is a lot older than that…maybe from the times of Mahmoud Ghaznavi in the region.
What mesmerised us immediately, as we entered the fort, was an air of abandonment despite the crowds, and the intricate architectural details of the building. The gigantic gateways, the elephant pier, beautiful arches and pillars, elegant pavilions and courtrooms are just few of the features of the fort.
The walls and roof of the Queen’s Court — Shish Mahal or Palace of Mirrors — are stuccoed with mosaic of seven colours of tiny mirrors. The Noulakha court is studded with jewels; the jewels are gone but the original marble tracery screens, some of the miniature paintings and the inlay work are still in good shape.
Suddenly I noticed that the kids had lost their bored expression and were as charmed by the place as we were.
They were asking questions and taking photographs … the fort had worked its spell on them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.