Lahore

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Lahore
لاہور
لاہور
Megacity / Metropolitan City
Clockwise from left: Lahore Fort, Minar e Pakistan, Wapda House, Lahore Food Street and Badshahi Mosque
 

Lahore (/ləˈhɔər/ALA-LC: Lahor Punjabi pronunciation: [ləhoːr]Urduلاہور‎ ALA-LC: Lāhor IPA: [lɑːhoːr]) is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab, the second largest metropolitan area in the country and 14th most populous city in the world. It is an important historical center in South Asia. With a rich history dating back over a millennium, Lahore is a main cultural centre of the Punjab region and Pakistan. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains an economic, political, transportation, entertainment, and educational hub. It is referred to as the "Mughal City of Gardens"[by whom?][citation needed] due to the historic presence of gardens in and around the city dating back to the Mughal period.

Lahore successively served as a regional capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, theGhaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th centuries and the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. From 1802 to 1849, Lahore served as the capital city of the Sikh Empire. In the mid-19th and early 20th century, Lahore was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj. The traditional capital of Punjab for a millennium, Lahore was the cultural centre of the northern Indian subcontinent which extends from the eastern banks of the Indus River to New Delhi.[4][5] Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort,Shalimar Gardens, the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jahan, Chauburji Gate, and the walled city are some of the major tourist attractions in the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Indo-Saracenicstyle, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post OfficeLahore Museum, Lahore Railway Station, and many older universities and colleges including the University of the Punjab, Govt College and King Edward Medical University. The Lahore Zoo, thought to be the fourth oldest in the world, is also situated here.[6]

Lahore is referred to as the cultural heart of Pakistan as it hosts most of the arts, cuisine, festivals, music, film-making, gardening and intelligentsia of the country.[4] The city has always been a centre for publications where 80 percent of Pakistan's books are published, and it remains the foremost centre of literary, educational and cultural activity in Pakistan.[7] It is also an important religious centre as it is home to hundreds of templesmosques, churches and shrines like Data Durbar Complex.[8]

According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was 6,319,000.[9] In July 2014, Index Mundi put the population of the city at 7,566,000.[10] An estimate in January 2015 gave the population of the Lahore agglomeration as 10,052,000.[2] It is ranked 34 in the most populated urban areas in the world and the 8th largest city within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The area of Lahore has almost doubled in the last 12 to 14 years. In 2010, Lahore was ranked as a Gamma+ world city.[11] The Guardian has rated Lahore as the 2nd best tourist destination in Pakistan after Taxila.

History[edit]

Main article: History of Lahore

Origins[edit]

A legend based on oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as Shehwar Elahi da Thikana (Den of Shehwar),[13] was founded by Prince Lava (or Loh),[14][15] the son of Sita and Rama, the Hindu deity in the Ramayana. The city of Kasur was founded by his twin brother, Prince Kusha.[16] To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh").[17][18] Ptolemy, the celebrated 2nd-century Egyptianastronomer 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.[19]

The oldest authentic surviving document about Lahore was written anonymously in 982. It is called Hudud al-'Alam (The Regions of the World).[20] In 1927 it was translated into English by Vladimir Minorsky and published in Lahore. In this document, Lahore is mentioned as a shehr or town inhabited by infidels[21] "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.[22] 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.[23] 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. Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes.[24]

Rajput period and invasions[edit]

Lahore is referred as a Hindu principality in the Rajput accounts. Keneksen, the founder of Suryavansha is believed to have migrated out from the city.[25] The Solanki tribe, belonging to Amukhara Pattan which included the Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer "point to Lahore" as their place of earliest settlement. In 1241, Lahore was invaded by Chengiz Khan. Though Timur captured the city in 1397, he did not loot it because "it was not rich then".[25]

Ghaznavid Empire to Delhi Sultanate[edit]

 
Badshahi Mosque was commissioned by the Mughal EmperorAurangzeb in 1671.

Lahore appears as the capital of the Punjab for the first time under Anandapala – the Hindu Shahi king who is referred to as the ruler of (hakim i lahur) –after leaving the earlier capital of Waihind.[26] Few references to Lahore remain from before its capture by Sultan Mahmud of Ghaznavi in the 11th 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,[27] 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 centre, renowned for poetry.[28] The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of town.[29]

After the fall of the Ghaznavid Empire, Lahore was ruled by various Turkic dynasties based in Delhi, known as the Delhi Sultanate, including the KhiljisTughlaqsMamlukSayyid and Lodhis.[30] During the reign of Qutbu l-Din Aibak, Lahore was known as the 'Ghazni of India'. Scholars and poets from as far away as KashgharBukharaSamarkandIraqKhorasan and Herat, gathered in Lahore and made it a city of learning. Under Aibak, Lahore had more poets of Persian than any other Islamic city.[31] In 1286, Prince Muhammad, who was the son of Balban was defeated in an encounter with the Mongols in the city.[32]

Mughal era[edit]

In the early 16th century, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley (modern day Uzbekistan), swept across the Khyber Pass and founded the Mughal Empire, covering modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.[33] The Mughals were descended from Central Asian Turco-Mongols . Lahore reached the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. 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.[32]

Humayun, his son married Hamida Banu Begum in Lahore while fleeing to Persia. It was also the headquarters of Mughal rule during Akbar between 1584 to 1598. Thus along with Agra and Delhi, it became an "alternate seat of imperial court". Akbar also held discussions with various Portuguese missionaries in the city. Abul Fazl, his court historian calls it a "a great city in Bari Doab,in magnificance and populousness it has few equals".[34]

Afghan era[edit]

During the 18th century, as Mughal power dwindled, Punjab, including Lahore, was often invaded, and government authority was lacking. In 1747, the Durrani Empire was established by Ahmad Shah Abdali in Afghanistan, during this period, Punjab saw frequent invasions by Ahmad Shah Abdali, The great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the situation, "khada peeta lahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da"("we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah").

In 1758, the Maratha Empire's general Raghunathrao conquered Lahore, Attock and Peshawar, and drove out Timur Shah Durrani, the son and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Kashmir and other subahs on the south and eastern side of Attock were under the Maratha rule for the most part. In Punjab and Kashmir, the Marathas were now major players.[35] In 1761, following the victory at the Third Battle of Panipat between the Durrani and the Maratha Empire, Ahmad Shah Abdali captured remnants of the Maratha Empire in Punjab and Kashmir regions and consolidated control over them.[36]

Sikh reign[edit]

Main article: Sikh period in Lahore
 
Maharaja Sher Singh (1807-1843) seated, attended by his council in the Lahore Fort.

During the late 18th century, frequent invasions by the Durrani Empire and the Maratha Empire due to the decline of the Mughal Empire, led to a lack of governance in the Punjab region. The Sikh Misls were in close combat with the Durrani Empire, but began to gain territory and eventually the Bhangi Misl captured Lahore. When Zaman Shah invaded Punjab again in 1799 Maharaja 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.[citation needed] Lahore served as the capital city of the Sikh Empire in accordance with Lahore being the capital of Punjab. While much of Lahore's Mughal era fabric lay in ruins by the end of 18th century a close struggle to gain control, rebuilding efforts under the Sikh Empire were shaped by and indebted to Mughal practice. Maharaja Ranjit Singh moved into the Mughal palace in Lahore's citadel. By 1812 he had mostly refurbished the city's defences by adding a second circuit of outer walls that followed the outline of Akbar's original walls and were separated from them by a moat. The Maharaja also partially restored Shah Jahan's decaying gardens at Shalimar, and British maps of the area surrounding Lahore dating from the mid-19th century show that walled private gardens – many of them bearing the names of prominent Sikh nobles – continued in the Mughal pattern under Sikh rule. The Sikh court continued to endow religious architecture in the city, including a number of Sikh gurdwaras, Hindu temples and mosques.[citation needed]

British Raj[edit]

Street scene of Lahore.
 
Street scene of Lahore, 1890s.

Maharaja 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 East India Company 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 East India Company control of the Punjab ten years later. For the East India Company, the Punjab was a frontier province, because the region had boundaries with Afghanistan. Therefore, the Punjabis, unlike the Bengalis and the Sindhis, were discouraged from using their mother tongue as an official language out of fear of Nationalism. The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab,[37][38] including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism. Under the British (1849–1947), architecture in Lahore combined MughalGothic and Victorian styles. Under the British, Sir Ganga Ram (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.[39][dead link] He also constructed Model Town, a suburb that has recently developed into a cultural centre for Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite.[citation needed]

Independence of Pakistan[edit]

Minar e Pakistan.
 
Minar-e-Pakistan, constructed during the 1960s symbolizes the two nation theory.

Lahore played a special role in the independence movements of India. The 1929 Indian National Congress session was held at Lahore. In this Congress, the Declaration of the Independence of India was moved by Jawaharlal Nehru and passed unanimously at midnight on 31 December 1929.[40] On this occasion, the Swaraj flag (with a charkha at its centre) was adopted by the Congress. Lahore's prison was used by the British to detain revolutionaries. Noted independence activist Jatin Das died in Lahore's prison after fasting for 63 days in protest of British treatment of political prisoners. One of the most famous martyrs in the history of Indian independence, Shaheed Sardar Bhagat Singh, was hanged here.[41] 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.[42] Muslims under the leadership of 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 under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the league, that Muslims League publicly proposed the Two-Nation Theory for the first time.[43]

Post-independence[edit]

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 FortBadshahi mosque and colonial buildings.[44] With United Nations assistance, thegovernment 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 Wagah border area.[citation needed]

After independence and its deep impact, Lahore as so many times before, once again gained its significance as an economic and cultural powerhouse of the region, through government reforms. The second Islamic Summit Conference was held in the city in 1974.[45] In 1996 the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cupfinal 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. This city is famous for historic places i.e. Badshahi MosqueMinar-e-PakistanLahore Fort, Malik Ayaz tomb, Wazir Khan MosqueMoti Masjid, Lahore (Pearl Mosque), Muslim Mosque, Akbari Mandi, Taxali Gateetc.[citation needed]

Language and dialects[edit]

Further information: Punjabi dialects

According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, Punjabi language is spoken by 87% of the population. Lahore being the capital of the province of Punjab exhibits a great variety of Punjabi dialects spoken by the people of different district's living in the city.

Other languages include:

Geography[edit]

Main article: Geography 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 square kilometres (156 sq mi) and is still growing.

Cityscape[edit]


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