The Citadel (Lahore Fort)

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The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila (Punjabi, Urdu: شاہی قلعہ) is citadel of the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares.

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Origins of the fort go as far back as antiquity, however, the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal,Sikh and British rulers.It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque and other older one known as Masti or Masjidi Gate which open towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Masti Gate is permanently closed .The fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture.[1] Some of the famous sites inside the fort include: Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. In 1981, the fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with theShalimar Gardens (Lahore).

The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2010 is designed as a replica of the fort.[2]

The Lahore Fort is one of the noblest structures of its kind in the world. Rising out of the northwest corner of the walled city, it has been a symbol of its earliest days. If it could speak, it would tell such things that would leave the listener breathless. It could tell of love, romance and adventure, of dark eyed beauties and fierce-browed warriors, of queens in flowing silks and kings in shining armour, of poets, actors, slaves and concubines, of soldiers and rebels, of revolutions and court intrigues, of coronations and assassinations, of treachery and black revenge.

How to reach?

By Plane

Allama Iqbal International Airport [1] is located about 20-30 minutes from the city centre. Taxis and shuttles are available to take passengers from the city to the airport – with unmetered taxis it is advisable to set the rate beforehand. The new proposed Lahore Mass Rapid Transit System will be linked from different parts of the city to the airport.

The airport is a major hub by Pakistan standards, but not by international standards Pakistan International Airlines [2] with daily departures to the rest of Pakistan, connecting flights into nearby hub airports Qatar, Dubai, Bangkok for onward connections to the Middle East, Europe, North America, andSouth-East Asia.

Other airlines operating in and out of Lahore are:

  • Thai Airways [3]
  • Emirates [4],
  • Gulf Air [5],
  • Qatar Airways [6],
  • Etihad Airways [7],
  • Shaheen Airlines [8],
  • Air Blue [9],
  • Saudi Airlines [10],

…and many more.

Another alternative if you already have an Indian visa is the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport (IATA: ATQ) [11] is about 60km from the city center of Lahore. Of course border crossing formalities add up to a 2-3 hour journey between cities. It is possible to drive to the border at Wagah to go into Amritsar (See directions [12]), or alternatively take the Samjhauta Express train.

By Train

The main railway station is located near the city centre. There are routes from all major Pakistani cities. The Samjhauta (Friendship) Express runs twice a week between Lahore and Amritsar, across the border in India.

Apart from that, trains to southern e.g., Multan, DG Khan, Karachi etc and northern parts e.g., Gujrat, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Peshawar etc. run from the main station. It also connects to the western part of Pakistan to Faisalabad and beyond.

Local Stations of Lahore are Shahdara Bagh, Badami Bagh, Moghalpura, Baghbanpura, Harbanspura, Jallo, and Wagah. There is mostly peak hour services operate within these local stations for commuters to Lahore.

By Car

A modern motorway connects Lahore to Islamabad, Faisalabad and Peshawar. The motorway is considerably better than the GT road, even though it is longer.

While Pakistani traffic is generally chaotic and highly dangerous, the motorway is very comfortable and one of the few places traffic laws are enforced. Now a days, new Traffic Police has arrived and is enforcing traffic laws on Highways too.

Taxis are possible to/from the Indian border for ~Rs 400.

By Bus

From the Indian border, bus #4 runs to the Main train station for Rs 20.

Minibuses are the cheapest way to get between the larger cities, and the only way to get to some more remote destinations. They can be uncomfortably crowded, so if possible opt for a more comfortable larger bus.

SkywaysNiazi Express and a couple others operate large, comfortable buses to Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad and many other cities and towns from their own bus terminals near M2 Motorway Interchange. These services are rather affordable and convenient way of inter city travel.

Daewoo [13] has its own terminal away from the main bus station on Ferozpur Road near Kalma Chowk. This terminal is only minutes away from famous Liberty Market, Gaddafi Stadium & other popular shopping areas. Clean, comfortable, air-conditioned coaches run regularly between Lahore to all major cities of Punjab, KP and Sindh including Karachi plus many smaller cities and towns such as Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar. Daewoo is more expensive but much more comfortable and reliable than the competition. Between Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad they have a ‘Premium Plus service’ which gives you a business class style seat and more space.

Hotels:

Lahore Backpackers Hotel (Amin Building), Near UBL SD. Vault, 65 The Mall (Regale Chowk, above Subway Sandwich),  00924237351544, 00924237351545,

Regale Internet Inn, Surriaya Mansion 65,  +92 42 3731-1987 (regale_internet@hotmail.com)

  • Alpine Hotel, 38-M-Block (in Model Town Extension),  +92 42 516-8401.
  • Ambassador Hotel, 7 Davis Rd,  +92 42 631-6820.
  • Amer Hotel, 46 Lower Mall,  +92 42 711-5015 (info@amerhotel.com.pk),
  • Kashmir Palace Hotel, 14 Empress Rd,  +92 42 631-6700 (hotelkashmir@brain.net.pk).
  • Mirage Hotel Lahore, 21 Lake Rd,  +92 42 7238126 or 27 (reservations@miragelahore.com, fax: +92 42 7246344), . Internet/Wi-Fi and Airport pickup and drop-off. US $45+ tax.
  • Royal Chelet Guest House Lahore-Pakistan, House No 167-G/3 Johar Town (Near Doctor Hospital Lahore-Pakistan),  +92-42-5312596(sabipak@gmail.com),
  • Shalimar Hotel, 36 Liberty Market,  +92 42 575-8811.
  • Signature Inn, 16-C-3 Gulberg-3 (in a quiet back road just south of Noor Jehan Road / Liberty Market – google map ‘Signature Inn Lahore’),  +92 42 35885060, . This place is a bit rough around the edges, and not recommended for a single female, but the rooms are clean, large, en suite, air conditioned and the rate includes a simple breakfast. around Rs3,000 per night, you’ll need to haggle.
  • The Sunfort Hotel, 72-D/1, Liberty Commercial Zone,  +92 42 576-3810 (info@sunforthotel.com, fax: +92 42 575-4277),
  • Windmills Hotel, 89-A, B-II, Husain Chowk, Gulberg-III,  +(42) 578 5758 – 62.
  • Avari Hotel, 87 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam,  +92 42 636-6366 (lahore@avari.com),
  • Bahria grand hotel and resort, Bahria Town.
  • Holiday Inn, 25-26 Egerton Rd,  +92 42 631-0077 (info@holidayinnlahore.com),
  • Marvel hotel, 31B Sector XX,Khayaban-e-iqbal,DHA.
  • Park plaza, 107 B3,Gulberg Third.
  • Pearl Continental Lahore (Pearl Continental Lahore), The Mall Lahore Pakistan,  +92 426360210,. Pearl Continental Lahore is a 4-star Innpoints hotel. Rooms start at 180 USD per night. Rooms go up to 740 USD per night. 180 USD.
  • Radisson Hotel Lahore at the Royal Palm, 52 Canal Bank Rd,  +92 612 93204433. Adjacent to the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club, opening 2009.