If you have ever wondered what Old Lahore looked like or how the old city can be distinguished from the new city, then you have come to the right place. Well, the answer is simple. In order to get the essence of the old city, you can visit the 13 gates of Lahore that were once joined by a nine metre high brick wall.
Scroll down to read everything about the 13 gates that protected a city, their significance, location and more.
Walled City of Lahore
The history of Lahore depicts that the city has been ruled by several emperors. Perhaps, this is the reason why it is the most culturally important city of Pakistan.
Old Lahore is also known as the Walled City. The walled city was erected during the 16th century to protect, what we now call Lahore, from invaders and pillages.
Unfortunately, the walled city does not stand as magnificently as it used to. The wall can barely be seen, and the 13 gates of Lahore – some decayed with time while others were demolished during the British Raj. Although some of them were rebuilt, they haven’t returned to their original glory.
The 13 Gates of Lahore
Out of the 13 gates of Lahore, only 6 are still left standing, the other 7 gates can no longer be seen, however we will tell you all about them:
- Bhati Gate
- Delhi Gate
- Kashmiri Gate
- Lohari Gate
- Roshnai Gate
- Sheranwala Gate
- Akbari Gate
- Masti Gate
- Mochi Gate
- Mori Gate
- Shan Alam Gate
- Taxali Gate
- Yakki Gate
For your convenience, We have divided the blog into two parts. Firstly, we will discuss the surviving gates. Afterwards, we will share information about the decayed ones.
Following are the gates that can be seen standing tall around the Walled city of Lahore:
The gate was named after the Bhati tribe – a Rajput tribe – who used to reside in this area. The gate served as an entrance to the western division of the Walled City. It was demolished and rebuilt during the British Era.
Owing to the number of restaurants present in the area serving appetising Lahori food, the gate is a well-known place in Lahore. The areas surrounding the gate have many historically important sites you must visit. The Fakir Khana museum is located within the gate, where you can find artifacts from different times in history. The gate opens right into the Bazaar-e-Hakiman, a bazaar reserved for hakims.
Some might also link Bhati gate with the Data Darbar since it is located right outside the gate. Thursday night is synonymous with naat readers and qawwals, filling the air with their soulful melodies.
Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the gate stands near the east side of the Old Lahore, facing Delhi, capital of the Mughal Dynasty at the time. The gate was heavily impaired by the riots during independence, but it has been renovated.
Upon entering the gate, you can see the Shahi Hammam on the left, built by Hakim Ilmuddin. Apart from the royal washroom, there are many other historical buildings inside the vicinity of the Delhi Gate including Wazeer Khan Mosque – one of the most magnificent mosques in the country. Within the courtyard of the mosque, is the tomb of Hazrat Meran Badshah. A number of mesmerising havelies are located inside the gate, attracting the tourists.
There is a huge cloth market around the gate, where you can find recycled clothes at nominal rates.
Located adjacent to the Delhi Gate, Kashmir gate faces the valley of Kashmir, thus called the Kashmir gate.
The narrow alleyways of the old ‘Kashmiri Bazaar’ will transport you to the 17th century. The bazaar also has a road that leads you directly to the Wazeer Khan Mosque. Azam Cloth, Asia’s biggest cloth market is easily accessible through the road leaving the gate. Majestic Haveli has now been turned into a girl’s college.
There are two legends associated with the name of the gate. First, the name had the same purpose as the Kashmiri gate and the Delhi gate. While another legend has it that the word denoted the ‘Lohars’ (Blacksmith) sitting right outside the gate.
Numerous flower shops can be found near Muslim Masjid, located right outside the gate. Possibly, the most famous bazaar of the country, Anarkali, is situated right in front of the gate. Adjacent to the bazaar, you can find the tomb of ‘Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak’.
There are plenty of food spots available within the gate, Haji Sahab Nihari Walay, Sheikh Chathara and Sweets, Mehar Bashir Halwae, and many others.
Located between the Shahi Qila, also known as the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque – one of the most magnificent mosques in the country – the gate is the only one that is still in its original shape.
The gate serves as the main entrance into the Walled City of Lahore. The area near the gate lights up in the evening, thus giving it the name Roshnai Gate.
Hazuri Bagh, built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is located right beside the gate. The bagh was made to celebrate the capture of Koh-i-Noor. The area around the gate is quite famous because of the presence of the Shahi Mohalla Bazaar.
Sheranwala Gate – also goes by the name of Khizri gate.
It was named after a great saint Ameer-ul-Bahr [the commander of water] until Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured Lahore.
The Maharaja kept two lions caged for the protection of the gate. Hence the name Sheranwala Gate (Lion’s gate).
Once you enter the gate, it would not be difficult for you to imagine the ways of the Old Lahore, as the narrow alleys of the bazaar overflow with the various necessities of life.
Historical Gates of Lahore
These are some of the gates that have decayed with the time and don’t exist anymore:
The gate is located on the eastern side of the city; it is named after the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Even though the gate was renovated by the British, the gate can no longer be seen.
Close to the place, where the gate is supposed to be, there is a market known as ‘Akbari Mandi’, as it was established by the Emperor. The mandi is the largest wholesale and retail market of Lahore.
Originally known as the ‘Masjidi Gate’ due to the presence of a mosque nearby. However, the name was changed to Masti Gate in the honour of a royal servant ‘Masti Baloch’.
Located right behind the Lahore Fort, the area is filled with shoe sellers. The area is famous for its food, and the Rabri Wala Doodh is the most popular.
The word Mochi is a disfigured name of the word Morchi, which means Trench Soldier. Located in the south, the gate is a mark of the Mughal Empire that has now been lost.
Mochi Bagh is located right beside the gate which serves as a major site for political gatherings. The area is heavily populated with dry fruit and kites shops. The area also hosts many Havelis, Nisar Haveli, Laal Haveli etc.
If the Mori Gate existed, it would have been found between the Lahori and Bhati Gate. It was also the smallest gate of the Walled City of Lahore – thus named Mori that translates as a small hole in Urdu.
A narrow street leads to an open area, where you can find the remnants of the Haveli of Nau Nihal Singh. Across the gate you can also find the Urdu Bazaar.
Shah Alam Gate
Also known as the ‘Shah-Almi’ gate, the gate was named after the son of Aurangzeb Alamgir – Muhammad Moazzam Shah Alam.
Presently, it leads to one of the busiest and the biggest wholesale markets of Lahore. The area is filled with different bazaars, Rang Mahal, Soha Bazaar, Kanari Bazaar and Dabi Bazaar. You can find everything here, from garments to footwear, from jewelry to crockery.
Existed near the western side of the Walled City, the gate is also called Taxali Gate. It is named after Taxol (Royal Mint) which used to exist near the gate. However, you can no longer find either the gate or the mint today.
Near the gate, you can find various eateries that attract enormous crowds. You can find Phajja and Halwa Puri, the most famous breakfast items for the food lovers of Lahore. The Sheikhupuri Bazaar around the gate is famous for footwear and musical instruments.
Located on the east side, the gate is also known as the Zakki Gate. The gate is named after a martyr named ‘Zakki’, who died during the battle against Tataraies. The legend has it that after beheading, the trunk of the martyr still kept fighting and fell nearby, thus the martyr has two graves, one for his head and one for his trunk.
Apart from the numerous Havelis, there is a school for blind individuals nearby.
We have told you all there is to know about the 13 gates of Lahore, their location, their significance and nearby attractions. For more information about the perfumes in Pakistan & places to visit in Pakistan, stay updated with JagahOnline Blogs and follow us on Facebook.