Lahore is the oldest city in Pakistan. There is so much history and culture here it reverberates in the air. This was actually my most loved city in Pakistan. There is so much to see and you’re gonna need at least five days minimum to visit all the sights worth seeing. And there are A LOT of them. This is one city in the world that will really keep you occupied. Regretfully, I was there for just three days, but let me tell you the seven places that will really be worth your time.
1. The Lahore Red Fort
This is my absolute favourite place in Lahore. This fort has centuries and dynasties of history embedded into it walls. 4 super powers took over this building during its lifespan. And each conqueror made their mark within the fort’s walls. The Moghuls were the ones who originally erected this monument. As you explore the fort, the entrance will lead you to corridors that open up into gardens that open up further into halls and courtyards.
This place is colossal, and quite sophisticated technologically for their time. There is an entire underground infrastructure to house the Moghul emperors and their wives in the summer when temperatures rose beyond comfort levels, and advanced irrigation systems built into the fort to cool down the courtyards. Also, one of the world’s first fountains were designed by the Moghuls in this fort as well.
It doesn’t stop there, in terms of grandeur, huge and impressive structures stretched throughout the fort. The Moghuls really knew how to live like kings. They did not spare any expense on its decoration. The walls were originally adorned with gems and precious stones. Jewels were literally crafted into the walls with beautiful and intricate patterns. Sadly, during the wars and years of neglect and abandonment, thieves often came and plundered the mosque of its embedded treasure. Today, there are few of these precious stones left. But, if you shine your light on the colourful floral designs carved into the walls, your light bounces back and you’ve just caught a glimpse into the luxurious lives of the rulers of the Moghul Empire.
The cost to enter for a foreigner is 500 rupees. Locals get in for 20. I know, it’s unfair, but man, it was so so worth it.
2. The Badshahi Mosque
This is the most gorgeous mosque in Lahore, according to me. This red bricked massive structure is a spectacle to behold.
A beauty from every angle, the Badshahi mosque was built by the Moghul Empire as well but when the Sikhs overthrew over, this artwork of a building was at their mercy. That was when it started falling apart. Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja of the Sikh Empire turned the magnificent courtyards of the mosque into a stable for his horses. Then the British took over and made Badshahi Mosque their military garrison. Fortunately, the mosque eventually got returned to the Muslims to be used as a place of worship and extensive repairs were carried out to make the Badshahi Mosque what is it today.
Many might say that it has lost its shine, but I think the scars and imperfections are what gives the Badshahi Mosque today its unique beauty.
3. Food Street
When you hear that there is a place filled with food, where there is vendor after vendor filling up the streets, you must be mad to not drop everything and get to that location! Which is the Lahore Food Street. Here is the place you’ll find all sorts of Pakistani grub, where you can explore cuisine without being judged (like you would be in a restaurant, for eating too much), and look like a homeless person while you’re at it. Because it’s on the streets! No one will care 😉
4. Try the Lahori Fish
There is a distinct way Lahoris cook their fish. And it’s usually Dori. They butter the whole slab down, then dunk the piece whole in boiling oil.
I was standing there when they cooked it for me and was thinking to myself, “This is so unhealthy that if I were to eat it, it would cut short three years of my life”. But, what the heck, it looked too good when served. I took one nibble, and that was it. This was going ON the list! And that was the reason you’re now reading about it.
5. Minar-E Pakistan
This was where the treaty to form Pakistan was signed. If you skip this place, it essentially means, you come all the way to Pakistan, and you did not see its birth place. So I ain’t gonna make such a dumb mistake, here is proof I went.
Doesn’t hurt that this place is right next to the Lahore fort. So I got to kill two birds with one stone, and no extra transportation fees. Also, the Minar-E Pakistan is surrounded by gardens, which is really pretty. So you can have a picnic here, chill, enjoy the view of birds flying past, and maybe even catch a glimpse of an eagle.
6. Quaid e Azam Library and Gardens
This certainly is a great place to stop and smell the roses. Gardens everywhere. Just walking around this serene place is a fun and refreshing activity.
Also, you can go explore the inside of the library.
You have to get permission to enter, which is not difficult, and it’s got a pretty interior that’s worth taking a look around.
7. Wagha Border
This was my deepest regret about Lahore. I did not go to the Wagha Border. But I do not wish the same fate for you, which is why I am including it in my list. Cause the spectacle that happens here every day when the sun sets is too epic to miss! Army soldiers from both Pakistan and India make an appearance at the border to lower their countries’ flags when the sun sets every day. And while they carry out that duty, they solemnly execute a sort of dance march face to face while fiercely staring each other down. And the crowd just loses their minds cheering in support for their respective countries. I truly wish I could have seen it first hand, it would have been mind-blowing. So don’t make the same mistake I did, and do try stopping by!
Lahore. You’ll want to see her again.
Lahore was just magic. I loved its monuments, the history, the people, the culture, the FOOD. Honestly, this city could do no wrong. I fell in love with it. And mind you, I’m going to return to finish exploring this exuberant city. Yup, I’ve caught the Lahore bug. I’ve caught it bad.