Lahore’s Mughal Empire History Showcase

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase

History abounds in Lahore. Lahore’s Mughal Empire history showcase excels as windows to the past. It’s history-rich sites connects us to ancient times.

Lahore’s Mughal Empire History Showcase Locations

All sites are within the Lahore metropolitan area. Access is straight forward. Traffic can be bad during rush hours. However, even then patience suffices.

Mughal Empire History  Quick-Look

I dare not delve into detailed Mughal Empire history. However, a few key facts provide a quick-look perspective:

  • The empire started in the 1500s
  • It reached its peak in the 1600s
  • It started quickly declining in the 1700s and dissolved by 1857
  • At its height of power, the empire controlled almost 25% of the world’s GDP
  • Notably, Shah Jahan, one of Mughal’s emperors, commissioned the Taj Mahal construction

For more insight and details, see Mughal Empire history.

Iconic Badshahi Mosque Leads List of Lahore’s Mughal Empire History Showcase sites

Badshahi Mosque is iconic. Emperor Aurangzeb commissioned the construction in 1671. Construction finished in just two years.

Interestingly, Badshahi was the world largest mosque for 313 years. Today, it is the second largest mosque in Pakistan.

One enters Badshahi through its distinctive red sandstone entrance. As with any mosque, one removes their shoes prior to entering. Since I was still walking on a sprained ankle, I welcomed the comfort of wandering through the mosque in my socks!

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Badshahi’s distinctive red sandstone entrance. Note the marble plaque above the entrance. It lists the mosque’s full name  “Masjid Abul Zafar Muhy-ud-Din Mohammad Alamgir Badshah Ghazi”.

The courtyard is large and can hold up to 100,000 worshipers.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Badshahi’s large courtyard accommodates 100,000.

As with the entrance, the Prayer Hall entrance has a red sandstone with white marble inlay.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Prayer Hall entrance. Note the marble inlay.

The outer walls have large minarets while main building has four smaller minarets.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
View of the Prayer Hall and one of the small minarets.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Long distance view of the mosque from the nearby fort. Observe both the larger and smaller minarets.

To read more, see Badshahi Mosque.

Ornate Wazir Khan Mosque

Shah Jahan commisioned the Wazir Khan Mosque in 1634. Construction completed in 1641.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Wazir Khan Mosque courtyard.

The exterior is embellished with kashi-kari tile work.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Exterior showing kashi-kari tile work.

I am not Muslim. However,  these two young men, below, invited me to sit with them in the Prayer Hall. So, I did. They spoke very little English. And, I do not speak Urdu. However, we enjoyed some time just being together. In the photo below, he is showing me photos of his children. We all have some things in common!

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
I sat with these two young men in the mosque. We did not speak the same language but we understood each other.

Wazir Khan is adjacent to the Kashmiri Bazaar. Combining the two into a sightseeing trip makes sense.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
My nose buzzed with the smell of peppers and spices at the nearby bazaar.

To read more, see Wazir Khan Mosque.

Lahore’s Mughal Empire History Showcase- Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort is a sprawling site covering almost 50 acres. Several Mughal Emperors contributed to its construction. However, we only had time to see a few highlights. One can spend days here. But, Lahore’s climate is warm and humid – 90 to 100 deg F and greater than 50% humidity. So, we wilted quickly in the heat. As a result, that limited the time we wanted to spend wandering the fort grounds.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Lahore Fort’s famous Alamgiri Gate as viewed from Badshahi Mosque.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Lahore Fort’s Alamgiri gate.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Amir, our guide, explaining the fort’s history to my wife.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Jahangir’s Quadrangle.

My fort visit involved countless selfie requests. I enjoy interacting with everyone. So, I usually try and say yes. However, our guide sometimes wanted us to keep moving to stay on schedule.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Large group selfie! One man seemed to be their teacher. He wanted me to convey to the U.S. that Pakistanis are not terrorists!
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Selfies sometimes occur in rounds whereby we have to use each person’s camera.

To read more, see Lahore Fort.

Shahi Hamman Bath

Shahi Hamman is a Persion-style bath built in 1635. The bath served as a waqf to financially support the Wazir Khan mosque. Modern day Iranian baths seem to be on the decline.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Frescoes in the main dome.
Lahore's Mughal Empire Sites
Restored portion of the bath. The underground tunnels carried heat to warm the water and baths.

To read more, see Shahi Hamman.

Richly Decorated Tomb of Jahangir

Jahangir was the fourth Mughal Emperor. He ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627. Most noteworthy, his name means ‘conqueror of the world’. Political, economic, and architectural achievements characterized Jahangir’s reign. Also, he applied Islamic law in a progressive fashion, allowing people to retain their own laws and customs when it made sense. For example, he allowed Muslims and Hindus to retain their own laws with respect to marriage.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Entrance to Jahangir’s Tomb.

The exterior is extensively decorated with pietra dura, an inlay technique using polished, colorful stones.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Entrance into the main courtyard.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Main landscaped courtyard.
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Looking from the tomb back toward the entrance.

Inexplicably, the tomb area had no lighting. So, we used our cell phone flashlights. Consequently, I shot the photo below with a flash.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Jahangir’s Tomb.

Note the intricate inlay work. The inlay consists of actual colored stones.

Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
Inlay
Lahore's Mughal Empire History Showcase
One of the tomb’s external corridors.

To read more, see Tomb of Jahangir.

Lahore’s Mughal Empire History Showcase Legacy

The Mughal Empire leaves the world quite the architectural legacy. However, can we or should we learn anything from the empire? Theories abound on the reason for the Empire’s rapid decline starting in the early 1700s. Probably, several factors played a role. Political feuds, runaway expenses, external threats, and inability to change accelerated the decline. Perhaps, our lesson – we should not take our successes for granted.

Lahore’s Mughal Empire History showcase provides a treasure-trove of architecture and history.

For more on Pakistan, see my Pakistan Northern Areas blog post.

Be sure and check out my Trover and Twitter posts for more photos.

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