Life in Two Lahores – Old Lahore

Posted on 31. Jan, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Old Walled City of Lahore

Old Walled City of Lahore

The City of Lahore is extremely rich in history. To understand the culture one must know about the two types of Lahores that exist today. The Old and New Lahore. In this blog I will touch upon the Old Lahore. Although the city has expanded beyond proportions and many new localities have come up since the independence, but the indigenous people or the “Lahories” NOT “Lahorites” still abode the narrow gullies of Walled City (Old Lahore) which is surrounded by a wall, now in a dilapidated condition, with 12 entrances, namely Akbari, Bhaati, Dehli, Kashmiri, Lohari, Masti, Mochi, Mori, Shah-almi, Shairan-wala, Taxali and Yakki Gates. Here people know each other with their faces and ancestors.  Some well to do live in old but very well maintained “Havelis”. If an on looker really wants to meet the true Lahories, the walled city is the place to visit. Smiling, hospitable, warm hearted and always willing to serve the guests with traditional foods, though heavily oily and peppered, and local beverages like “Lassi and Neembo-Pani (made of fresh lemons, water, sugar and a pinch of salt).

Lahorites love sports, but of their own kind. Pigeon flying and fight of quails and roosters are also very common sites in Old Lahore. One can see pigeon cages high up on the roof tops on most of the houses of the walled city and elsewhere as well. Rare varieties of pigeons are reared by those who can afford and have the love of them for holding competitions.

Kite flying is their favorite in spring, especially during “Basant”, when the entire walled city is on roof tops, day and night. However, due to some irresponsible kite flyers, who used metal strings which caused many a death, the kit flying has been banned in the entire province. Thus a good, cheap and lively sport succumbed to the interest of the few.

Attire and Fashion in Pakistan

Posted on 30. Jan, 2016 by in Uncategorized

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Dresses of each country generally correspond to the local climate, aspirations, traditions, culture and religion. Then there is a blend of traditional dresses and modern wear to keep step with changing times. The general casual attire of Pakistan and India is somewhat different from all dresses worn around the world, especially in the region. Due to extreme climatic conditions, the wearing of loosely fitted shirts (“Kameez”) and trousers (“Shalwar”) is very common both for women and men. Besides, “Dhoti”, a large piece of unstitched cloth worn around the waist till the ankles is also worn in villages generally by men and occasionally by women in Punjab and Sind. While Shalwar is the most common dress besides Kameez in the frontier region and Balochistan. Owing to the peculiar requirements of the religion of Islam, wherein women are not supposed to expose their body, an unstitched piece of cloth is worn over the shirt, covering the head and upper body, known as “Chaddar”. Men also wear Chaddar during winters to protect themselves from severity of the weather. However, women in rural areas also wear a over head dress, called “Burqa” to cover their entire body. Wearing of headdress is a sign of nobility in the Punjab and Sind, while it is a rather must in the frontier region and Balochistan.

With the impact of media and openness to the western attire, the dresses, especially for women are changing at a fast pace. The shirts are shorter, sleeveless with tight fitting shalwars or trousers and embroidered necks. The “Dopatta” an unstitched cloth used to cover the body is now loosely hangs around the neck, leaving the body exposed. The brightly lit boutiques and fashion ware shops are mushrooming in all major towns and cities, displaying a wide variety of choice to select from.

The Badshahi Mosque

Posted on 29. Jan, 2016 by in Uncategorized

The Badshahi Mosque

The Badshahi Mosque (بادشاھی مسجد) or “Emperor’s Mosque” was built in 1673 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore, Pakistan. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks and a major tourist attraction epitomizing the beauty and grandeur of the Mughal era.

Capable of accommodating over 55,000 worshippers, Badshahi is the second largest mosque in Pakistan, after the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The design of the Badshahi Masjid is closely related to the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India, which was built in 1648 by Aurangzeb’s father, Emperor Shah Jahan.

Badshahi mosque is one of the few significant architectural monuments built during Emperor Aurangzeb’s long rule from 1658 to 1707. It is presently the fifth largest mosque in the world and was indisputably the largest mosque in the world from 1673 to 1986 when the Faisal Mosque was constructed in Islamabad. Although it was built late in the Mughal era in a period of relative decline, its beauty, elegance, and scale epitomize Mughal cultural achievement like no other monument in Lahore.

Construction of the mosque began in 1671 under the direction of Muzaffar Hussain (Fida’i Khan Koka), Aurangzeb’s brother-in-law and the governor of Lahore. It was originally planned as a reliquary to safeguard a strand of the Prophet’s hair. Its grand scale is influenced by the Jama Mosque of Delhi which had been built by Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan. The plan of Badshahi mosque is essentially a square measuring 170 meters on each side. Since the north end of the mosque was built along the edge of the Ravi river, it was not possible to install a north gate like the one used in the Jama Mosque, and a south gate was also not constructed in order to maintain the overall symmetry. Within the courtyard, the prayer hall features four minarets that echo in minature the four minarets at each corner of the mosque’s perimeter.

The prominence of the mosque in the imperial vision was such that it was constructed just a few hundred meters to the west of Lahore Fort. A special gate facing the mosque was added to the fort and designated the Alamgiri gate. The space in between–the future Hazuri Bagh garden–was used as a parade ground where Aurangzeb would review his troops and courtiers. The Hazuri Bagh appears to be at a lower level than the mosque since the latter was built on a six meter plinth to help prevent flooding.