In Lahore there are many beautiful structures and monuments, but more specifically there are two works of arts from the Mughal architecture that do not go unnoticed by anyone entering Lahore from Rawalpindi on the Grand Trunk Road, these are the Badshahi Mosque and the Shahi Qilla, also known as the Royal Fort.
The fort was originally built in 1544 AD by the Mughal Ruler Akbar the great and it was built on the ruins of an ancient mud fort which already existed since 1021 A.D. The fort is situated in the North West corner of the city, beside the Walled city and is rectangular in shape, it has 13 gates which were also built by Akbar, and the main gates are located along the middle of the eastern and western walls. In the heart of the city there is the beautiful Lahore fort, a secured palace complex. The architecture of the structure is magnificent and it is a palace right out of a fairytale. The entrance is remarkable with twin domes which lead further to extensively decked courtyards and pavilions with water features, some with wall decorations of inlaid precious stones and painted designs, some of this eye catching decorations still exist even today. These courtyards are so huge in size that it allows many elephants carrying people from the royal family to enter simultaneously together, in fact there are a flight of stone stairs constructed especially for the elephants’ parades.
The fort today is not like as it was when it was first built in 1566. This is because that every Mughal emperor that came along besides the Sikhs and the British colonizers further built a pavilion or a palace of wall to the fort. Jahangir, Shah Jehan and later Aurangzeb created their own changes by further constructing hugely secure walls to the structure. Akbar especially got the Hall of Commoners also known as the Diwan – e- Aam constructed in the traditional Iranian style, it is built in all red sandstone which was imported from Rajistan, Shah Jehan was responsible for the construction of Diwan-e-Khas, from there you could see river Ravi, in the year of 1631 when Shah Jehan started the construction of Taj Mahal, he also constructed the Moti Masjid or the pearl Mosque and even his own bedroom. The Mughal emperor Jehangir he made extensions to the gardens and built the castle in the Jehangir’s Quadrangle.
The infamous palace of Mirrors also known as the Sheesh Mahal is situated in the North East area of the Fort, it the most gorgeous palace in the fort and is made beautiful by small mirrors of different colour sets. This place was made by Shah Jehan in 1631. It is a deluxe palace to stay in during summer months with rest rooms that are like a long hall at its either end, and which open to a veranda which is eye catching and the view is of a marble paved quadrangle with a water fountain in the center.
The fort displays the exquisite life style of the Mughal emperors and is proof of Lahore’s beautiful history, it is a tourist attraction and one sight that no one would regret seeing.