“Lahore Lahore Hai”
Lahore, the magical City of the Twelve Gates, has a glorious past, adorned with countless epics, legends and romantics tales. Its greatness is a culmination of centuries of happenings and experiences, its culture and people combined with the physical form of the city. Its awesome maturity is reflected in its monuments, bazaars, trees, gardens and in the old buildings lining the Mall. With its unrivaled universe and saturated by the greate Lahori Spirit, it is not just a city but a whole universe in itself. Few cities of the world, if indeed any, can lay claim to such a wonderful past or present.
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, Lalitditya. Later it was governed by Mahmud of Ghazni (1021-1186) and the Ghazniavid dynasty, the Ghoris and varios Sultans of Dehli during which period it 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 Tarter-Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan.
During the period of the MOghul Empire the City attained its full glory and flourished. aAkbar the Great (1584-1598) made Lahore his capital, during which Lahore Fort was built and the old city demarcated, which practically remained the same size ever since. Jahangir (1605-1627), Akbar’s son, expanded the fort and retained a strong link with the city, choosing to be buried here in 1627. His beloved wife Noor Jehan is also buried at Shahdra Close by. Emperor Shah Jahan (1647) embellished the city with elegant architechtural monuments, Sheesh Mahal and the Shalamar Gardens being two of his special projects. He also encouraged his noblemen to patronize the city, for which Hakim Alimuddin, populary known as Wazir Khan would always be remembered for his most enduring contribution the the city, the bejeweled Wazir Khan Mosque. It is to Emperor Aurangzeb’s piety and largesse that the city owes it’s most glorious and imposing monument The badshahi Mosque (1694-1695). After the collaps of the Mughal Empire following Aurangzeb’s death, the second renaissance of Lahore occurred during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Sing (1780-1839) who restored the city of Lahore to the level of a stat capital.
During the 19th Century, Lahore developed into the cultural center of the area, becoming visible through the manifestation of buildings such as Aitchison College, Lawrence and Montgomery Halls, Lahore Museum and General Post Office because of the British concern with social uplift and improvement. The aesthetic sense of British architects and artistic brilliance of Indian workers gave birth to a new form of architecture, the fine blend of ‘Moghul, Gothic and Victorian architechture’. The buildings of Supreme Court, the High Court and the Government College are the legacies of the same fine art.
The creation of Pakistan left and indelible mark on the city of Lahore. The Lahore Declaration in march, 1940 at the Annual Meeting of the All India Muslim League started a movement which eventually led to the partition of the Sub-Continent in August 1947. Since independence, Lahore has continued to thrive, graduating from being a commercial enterprises to one with a widespread industrial base, encompassing textile, medium and light engineering, footwear and packaging factories. The city has modernized in recent years with dozens of satellite colonies and development schemes stretching its peripheral limits to several kilometers on all side of the old city. This continues to further enrich the architectural format of Lahore. It remains a centre of excellence in education, of which University of the Punjab, University of Engineering & Technology, King Edward Medical College, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Government College Lahore, Aitcheson College and National College of Arts are the prime examples.