Delhi Gate: Walled City Lahore Level 9

Comments Off on Delhi Gate: Walled City Lahore Level 9

Video Report – Delhi Gate by Zohaib Butt

Delhi gate is one of the thirteen gates of old Lahore, built by Akbar the great- third Mughal Emperor- who enclosed the city of Lahore within red brick walls during the sixteenth century.

This gate is an opening towards Delhi, which was the capital of the mughal dynasty. Right before the entrance of the gate there is the Shahi Hammam, built by Hakim Ilmud-din, who had the title of Wazir Khan, Subidar, Punjab during the regime of Emperor Shah Jahan in 1634 AD. Covering an area of 1110sq.m, the single story building was built in Mughal style and it is a unique specimen of that era, as a public ‘hammam’ in Pakistan.

Since 1991, the tourist information centre of the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab Ltd, is rendering information services for the convenience of tourists. Renovation work is being carried out by the ministry of tourism, but one thing which is noticed commonly is that this monument is also being used as a banquet hall by some influential people, which is an adversity to this beautiful heritage.

After the Shahi Hammam, as you walk through the bazaar you can see the old buildings (havelies) on either sides in very abysmal circumstances, until you reach the gate of the Masjid Wazir Khan. This mosque was built in 1634- 35 AD during the regime of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, by Ilam-ud-dinAnisari commonly known as Nawab Wazir Khan, who was the governor of Lahore till 1639 AD. The mosque was completed in about seven years.

The entire mosque is built with small bricks laid in ‘kankerlime’, sparkling due to red sandstone, and even the grills are made of terracotta. Its outstanding architecture features are its octagonal four corner minarets, which are 107 feet high and decorated with mosaic tiles. A bazaar consisting of twenty two shops, forms an integral part of the plan of the mosque, which was the first time such facilities were added to a mosque. The shops are in two parallel rows with a brick-paved passage in between.

The mosque covers an area of 279.5 feet x 159 feet out of which the prayer hall occupies an area of 131 feet 3 inches x 42 feet and is divided into five compartments by means of four arches on massive piers, measuring 19 feet 3 inches x 11 feet 3 inches. The prayer hall bears five squat, turnip shaped domes. Frescos, kashi kari, brick-imitation (tazakari) vivid colours, large numbers of inscriptions with geometrical patterns and floral designs, arabesque and calligraphy have been used for its embellishment.

The entire floor is built on cuts and dressed with small brick work, laid in 13 patterns. The open area on the East of the mosque complex, measuring 150 feet x 102 feet, is known as Chowk Wazir Khan. Its original floor still exists about five feet below the present ground level. The drainage during the Mughal period was by means of ‘Gharkies’ (wells). The chowk had four big gates from which two still exist.

Then we move inside the area towards Jhotta Mufti Bakir, famous for its wooden balconies and many big Havalies, built in some very narrow lanes. Kucha Kharadiyan and Siryan Ojriyan Wala Bazar are also located within Dehli Gate. The most amazing thing I came across during my adventures within this gate is an unknown Haveli with the most beautiful wood work on its windows and balconies.  The natives call it Haveli Jamil Soda Water and I was stunned no body knew its original name especially since it has been there since before Masjid Wazir Khan, and because it is far more magnificent than the Haveli Asif Jaah in the Kashmiri Gate!

Life within this gate is based on middle class people. Like all other gates, the Katrii System (common dwelling place) by the name of Katrii Dina Naat, prevails here too. Mostly people used to live here in joint families, and because of these narrow lanes the whole mohala (community) was like a family. As a resident of Kashmiri gate, I know for a fact that people genuinely used to care about each others welfare, but as times are changing and money reins supreme over relations, people are limiting themselves to their immediate families and really don’t care about the mohala. As I conversed with them, I realised that they feel very insecure in their own country.

An old man there told me with tears in his eyes that this is the same holy land of Pakistan for which his father sacrificed his family, land and all his wealth. “Now look at us”, he said, “is this the reward we deserve; that our children have no future in this country and that we don’t even have enough money for food? Is this the Pakistan we sacrificed everything for?”

The vampire of poverty is sucking the blood off the common man. It is so amusing that people living in the big Havelies- once the symbol of wealth- have not enough money to buy food. I am surprised that if we turn on any news channel, they keep saying Pakistan is progressing… that much increase in GDP… that much profit in this and that…blah, blah. I want you to walk with me through these narrow lanes in one of the oldest and biggest city of our country, and see how miserable life is within these walls.

Read More Share

Recent Author Posts

Join Our Community

Connect On Social Media

Most Popular Posts

We Blog The World

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!