The Punjab government on Monday provided Rs770 million to the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) to restore buildings located on the Royal Trail. The area includes Kotwali to Masti Gate through Chuna Mandi Chowk and Moti Bazaar and Purani Kotwali Chowk to Sonehri Mosque via Dabbi Bazaar. The funds were approved by the Planning and Development Department chairman. Rs667 million has been provided for infrastructure development and Rs103 million for facade improvement.
At first glance, the Amburiq mosque in Shigar bears little resemblance to a traditional mosque. The 14th century mud and wood structure which was designed by a Kashmiri architect, deviates from the conventional architectural pattern due to its visibly tall insignia. A closer inspection, however, reveals its mosque-like features that have been shaped by years of history and events that have transpired in the Shigar valley, 35km east from Skardu, in Baltistan.
Read More: Amburiq Mosque: Restored Spirituality
“Let the quill write about event and the year, blessed be this abode for you,” reads Persian text on a commemorative plaque put up on the main gate of a modest house in the congested Ganj area of Walled City. Built in 1890, this house once belonged to the family of Yahya Khan, the third president of Pakistan. Brick by brick, buildings in part of Peshawar have been demolished. A few of those monumental structures that were once the pride of this city, still stand. Time has left its mark on the Yahya family house, but the residual grandeur of the rich architecture is still awe-inspiring. The house was owned by Yahya’s grandfather Ghulam Haider Khan. Later Rahat Ali Khan, an uncle of Yahya, inherited it from his father. Saadat Ali Khan, Yahya Khan’s father, got another house in the same lane that has already been razed to the ground.
Read More: Crumbling Heritage in Walled City
Nagar Valley, located north-east of Gilgit town along the Karakoram Highway, has lost much of its built heritage over the years and almost all its once-majestic forts. “The loss of historic forts isn’t just a loss of buildings, it’s much more than that,” says resident Ismail Nashad who, under the banner of Anjuman Fikr-o-Sukhan, is striving to restore the forts. “We have lost precious heritage, that which belonged to our ancestors.”
Read More: Precious Heritage: Of Forts Long Gone
Chahar cheez ast tohfa-e-Multan. Gard, garma, geda-o-goristan. (With four special gifts Multan abounds. Dust, heat, beggars and burial grounds). This famous Persian saying sums up Fauzia Husain Qureshi’s journey with her book Multan – A Spiritual Legacy. And that is exactly how she described it at the book launch held on Friday [20 December] at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.
The Chuha Gujar Bridge stands above Bara River and near the Chuha Gujar village. A Mughal-era construction probably built during Shah Jehan’s rule in 1629, the bridge is 100 yards long and six yards wide with six-foot tall pillars on each side. The pillars are topped with beautiful domes which add to the grandeur of the bridge. Two of the domes, however, have fallen off. As is typical of Mughal architecture, there are 12 arched tunnels or water ways running under the bridge.
As one enters the Delhi Gate of Lahore’s fabled Walled City, it is with the knowledge that travelers from across the world have walked through its grand arch for hundreds of years. The gate faces the historic path pointing towards its namesake city, serving as a reminder of South Asia’s interconnected history. Inhabited for over 1,000 years, Lahore’s Walled City has served as the capital of Mughal and Sikh empires, along with being a major center of colonial India. Today, it continues to be a part of Pakistan’s, and South Asia’s, rich cultural heritage. As Lahore has grown and expanded beyond the Walled City, much of its grandeur has fallen into disrepair as newer areas became the center of investment.
A historical fort in Punjab may be getting the long-awaited attention it appears to desperately need. The 17th century Sheikhupura fort, which lies at the heart of Sheikhupura city some 35 kilometres away from Lahore, has been in a state of neglect and disrepair for years. In 2011, some hope for the fort, built by Mughal king Jahangir, appeared when the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) awarded a $0.8 million grant for the fort’s conservation. But the conservation project, which was supposed to be finished by 2014, ran into delays due to administrative issues even before it started.
Read More: Renovations to Begin at Mughal-era Fort
Khaplu Palace in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has received an Award of Distinction in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards 2013 for cultural heritage conservation. The ceremony was held earlier this month in Bangkok to award initiatives which restored and conserved structures that are at least 50 years old. The palace, built in the 1840s by Yabgo Raja of Khaplu, is now known as Khaplu Palace and Residence and is managed by Serena Hotels.
Six of the remaining 12 gates of the walled city of Lahore are being rescued. The Walled City of Lahore Authority is putting millions of rupees into the project with the help of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Experts will start with the Texali and Shah Alam gates. They will, however, be modeled on the Roshnai gate, which was built in the Mughal style, said a restorer. It appears that Sikh or British styles will be eschewed.
When Khaplu Palace opened its doors to the public in 2011, people saw, for the first time in 40 years, the 19th Century royal home used by the Dogra rulers. The palace was rescued by the Aga Khan Cultural Service of Pakistan that has restored and turned this Baltistan relic into a boutique hotel. It is located on the upper side of Khaplu Town, south of the River Shyok, in Skardu. Whatever is known about the town has come from the writings by the numerous historians, explorers, researchers and British Indian officials who trekked Skardu’s glaciers in the 19th century.
Read More: Resurrecting an Old Raja’s Palace
Shahi Hammam (Royal Bath), located inside the Delhi Gate [Lahore] is to be restored with help from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). The restoration will begin from July 22nd 2013 and is set to be completed in a year’s time. Most of the restoration cost of Rs39,498,833 will be borne by the Norwegian embassy.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has started testing a new geographical information system (GIS) to help it regulate conservation and development work at the city’s historic quarter.
Read More: Walled City of Lahore
Karachi might be soaking up all the glamour as the ‘jewel’ of Sindh’s economy today, but about a 1,000 years ago, Mansura – a bustling metropolis built by the Indus River – was where most of the action was. At a lecture organised on Monday [April 8th, 2013] by Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, and Endowment Fund Trust, academics spoke about Mansura – a treasure from Sindh’s past which faces not only danger from the natural elements but encroachers as well. The city was the first Islamic capital of Sindh and a lively economic hub during the Abbasid era.
Read More: Mansura Needs to be Protected