Travel & Culture Services

Serving since 1997

☎ +923212424778

Home About Contact us Pakistan Tours Hotels Tour Guide Domestic Tours Umrah Intl Tours

Architecture of Lahore.


By Kamil Khan Mumtaz

The use of glazed faience tiles, rare in Mughal buildings, was restricted mainly to the Punjab and Sind, but the animal and human representations in this medium on the northern walls of the fort at Lahore are probably unique. These depict horses, elephants, camels and warriors ? often in postures of sport or combat ? and even winged angles or fairies. In these designs each shape is separately formed by an individually glazed tile, making up a brightly coloured mosaic. While animal and human forms are only found in the Picture Wall ofthe fort at Lahore, floral and calligraphic designs in this technique are abundant enough in a great number of buildings in the same city built during the middle of the 17th century.

The restriction of this decorative technique to a small area in the empire as well as the architectural character of these build- ings places them clearly outside the mainstream of Mughal court architecture. Indeed, there appears to have co-existed in 17th century Lahore a distinctly independent local tradition which derived its inspiration equally from Safevid Persia and Delhi. lt is perhaps significant that only those buildings commissioned by the emperors themselves are in the imperial style of Delhi and Agra with a prominent use of stone and plastered external surfaces, while those built by lesser nobility or local lords and ladies have the provincial characteristic brick struc- tures with glazed tile mosaics on the outer walls. The finest collection of these mosaic pictures adorns the sur- faces of Wazir Khan?s Mosque. But here as in Dai Anga?a Mosque, the domes follow, if anything, the earlier Pathan mod- el, being ilatter than contemporary Mughal practice allowed. Oriel windows, kiosks and pointed finials with fluted bases are the only definitely Mughal features of these buildings, while the top-heavy appearance of the non-tapering minarets of the Wazir Khan Mosque and the Chauburji, terminating in heavy projecting platforms, are reminiscent of certain Persian and Turkish rather than Mughal minars.

Maryam Zamani Mosque Opposite the Masjidi Gate of the Fort at Lahore, stands the ancient mosque commonly called Begum Shahi Masjid. Built by Queen Maryam Zamani, an Empress of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, it is the earliest dated mosque of the Mughal period in Lahore. It was constructed during the early period of Iahangir in 1(E3 AtI?I.f].6ld and is crowned with a double dome, a characteristic first seen in the historic buildings at Lahore. The mosque is constructed in brick and rendered with plaster, and is a massive structure representing a transitional phase of architecture between the styles of the Lodhi and the Mughal periods, lt has two entrances through deeply recessed arched gateways on its north and east sides. A flight of four steps in each gateway leads down to the main courtyard.

The courtyard was originally enclosed by a row of cells on its north and south sides, some portion of which still existl'. On the east, along the gate, is a wide platform on which stands an enclosure consisting of an octagonal domed tomb and some other graves. In the centre of the courtyard is a tank for ablution. The prayer chamber of the mosque is of special interest. It is an oblong structure measuring internally over 130 feet from south to north and 34 feet from east to west. It has five compartments divided by heavy engaged arches supported by massive jambs and surmounted by domes. The central dome is the highest, placed on a high round neck.

The double dome has a heavy brick outer shell with a small arched opening on the west and an inner shell of stucco. A timber frame connects the two shells for reinforcement. In the development of the mosque plan in La- hore, this mosque marks the first appearance of the fivebay arrangement, subsequently adopted for most of the major mos? ques in the city.

The five front openings of the prayer chamber are spanned by four?oemered arches, the central one being the highest and widest with a high parapet and a projected frame. The whole outer surface of the front has been treated with thick lime plaster creating recessed decorative arched panels. Inside the prayer chamber is a series of high and deep arched recesses in the west wall of all the five compartments. The central niche, the mehrab, has an engrailed arch treated specially with profusc stucco ornamentation in geometric, floral and inscriptional dc- signs. The half-domed niches of the central arch and the mehrah have been filled with low stalactites. The remaining four compartments though comparatively smaller and less de- corative have the same engrailed arch treatment. The interior and entrance arch of the prayer chamber is richly embellished with fine fresco decoration. Over the four corners of the prayer chamber are placed small square pavilions with four arched openings surmounted by cupolas placed on ectagonal drums. The cupolas originally were crowned with low crestings and finials like the five larger domes over the main prayer chamber. Anarkali?s Tomb Constructed in 1615, the mausolcum known as Anarkali?s Tomb stands in the Civil Secretariat. In 1891 it was converted into the Punjab Records Office.

Octagonal in plan with alternate sides measuring 44 feet and 30 feet 4 inches respectively, the building stands on an octrtgonal platform. On each corner there is 21 domed octagonal tower, and in the centre, 21 large dome on 21 high cylindrical neck. A notable feature ot this massive structure is its upper storey gallery and bold eutlines. It is one of the earliest existing examples ef zi double-domed structure in Pakistan;. The lower shell of the dome is constructed in small bricks in five stages or rings. It was originally surrounded by an extensive garden enclosed by a wall with a double-storey gateway, all of which are now missing. Having in turn been occupied by Kharak Singh, the scm of Ranjit Singh, given as a residence to General Ventura of the Sikh army, converted into a Christian church in 1851 and into the Punjab Records office in 1891, it has long lost its original decoration. Wazir Khan`s Mosque Located about a furlong from the Delhi Gate within the Walled City is Wazir Khan?s Mosque, which was founded in 1634 by Hakim Ilmud Din Ansari entitled Nawah Wazir Khan, a native of Chiniot, District Jhang, and Viceroy of Punjab under Shan Jahanl. Its eastern entrance gateway is in fact an elaborate forecourt which opens on to a generous square or chowk. One of its most attractive features is the colourful Floral and callig- raphic designs in glazed?tile mosaic work, said to be introduced into this part of the country from Thatta during the 16th cen- tury. It is in the decorated panels of this mosque that the cypress as a motif on enamelled mosaic work appears for thc first tirne. The improved octagonal minarets, amongst the can liest of this type in Mnghal architecture, are another distinctive feature of the mosque.

The Chowk Wazir Khan This square outsidt-: the mosque probably once formed an im- portant part ofthe plan of thc old city of Lahore. According to Dr. Cl1ughtai1 this court or jflaukhuna of the mosque held the entire city of Lahore in a right-angular relationship, more accurately, the mosque was so located in the contrc of thc city that all thc major routes and bazaars were linked with it at right angled.

On close examination it becomes apparent that the magnificent central gateway is a complete building in itself. The five or six steps in this wide passage lead to a platform under the front niche of this gate; another step leads to the centre of a covered octagonal court, the central domed portion of this gate. This central roofed area is connected by steps on all four sides: one enters from the east and north through a stepped passage, and from this same centre, opposite the east entrance, one crosses several steps to the west to enter the court within the mosque. To the north and south of the great octagonal forecourt stretch out bazaar-like corridors or gallleries with double rows of arcaded chambers each with a 16 feet wide passage between. This part of the mosque, which in common usage should he called a dewrhi (forecourt), deserves our special attention as it is a novel innovation in the evolution of the mosque plan. The central octagonal court also has double rooms in each of its four corners, probably reserved for the gatekeepers of the mosque. This arrangement of rooms is repeated on the upper storey of this portion. The northern and the southern sides of the main court of the mosque have twelve rooms each, of which those adjacent to the ewan and minars are double, and probably were reserved for the library attached to the mosque, indicating that apart from serving as a place of worship, this mosque served as a university or colleges.

Dai Anga?s Mosque

Situated near the Railway Station of Lahore this mosque was constructed in 1635 by Dai Anga, the wet nurse of Shah Jahan, whose name was Zebun Nisa???. It is notable for its minute and refined enamelled tiled mosaic work. In plan the prayer cham- ber consists of three domed bays, with the central dome rising higher than the two flanking domes. All the domes are raised on high cylindrical necks with sharply recessed collars at the springing. The east facade of the prayer chamber reflects thc internal plan with three arched openings framed in half-domed recessed bays by tall multi-capped arches. The central arch is taller and wider than its two adjacent arches. Each bay is contained within a rectangular frame and the entire ensemble is flanked on either side by square towers topped by heavy pro- jecting platforms, typical of the Lahore provincial style.


Located on the Multan Road, this was a gateway to a garden that has now disappeared. The garden was founded in 1646 by a lady, mentioned metaphorically as "Sahib-e-Zcbinda, Begum- e?Dauran" (endowed with elegance, the lady of the age), prob- ably Jahan Ara Begum, the eldest daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan, and bestowed upon Mian Bai who constructed the garden? This gateway is notable for the glazed mosaic decora- tion with which its entire facade, including the octagonal corner minarets, is brilliantly embellished. The minarets themselves with their top-heavy profile are characteristic of thc contempor- ary provineial style of Lahore.

Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan

Ali Mardan Khan, Governor of Qandahar, Kashmir and Pun- jab, is known for his skill and judgement in the execution of public works, especially canals, such as the Shah Nahar of Shalimar Gardensll. He is buried by the side of his mother in her tomb, on the right bank of the canal at Mughalpura. This was once surrounded by a garden of which only the gateway has survived. This gateway indicates the excellence of cnamelled tiled mosaic work which must have once adorned the tomb. The tomb itself, a massive brick construction octagonal in plan with a high dome and kiosks on angular points, stands on an eight-sided podium each side measuring 57 feet 6 inches. Deep half~domed recesses in each side contain smaller arched open? ings i11to the central chamber. The dome was originally finished with white marble inlaid with lloral designs in black marble.

Gulabi Bagh Gateway

This gateway, with its rich and vivid mosaic tile work and superb calligraphy on a plaster base, was the entranoe to a pleasure garden constructed by the Persian noble Mirza Sultan Baig in 16559. It is an exquisitely refined example ofthe form of garden gateway typical of this city. The main facade is divided into three bays, delineated by a grid of rectangular lines re- miniscent of timber-framed town houses. The double-storey volume is expressed by the two pairs of arched windows in the two side bays. These storey-height openings are arranged one above the other, whereas the central bay consists of a single arch rising two storeys, behind which the arched entrance is placed in a deep recess.

The delicate sophistication of its tile mosaics is matched by the subtle detailing of its structural forms, such as the ertgrailed arches of the upper storeys and the slender octagonal shafts marking the corners of the gateway block.

Nawankot Monuments

Situated about a mile south of Chauburji on the Multan Road, this three-centred double arched gateway was constructed in cut brick-work. It is almost entirely covered with cnamelied mosaic tile?work in green, blue, yellow and orange. The interior is richly decorated with fresco paintings in red and green"`. The form of this gateway follows thc standard design prevalent at the time, but the roof line is distinguished by a decorative row of castellations in the form of srylised naga hoods and airy kiosks on each of the four corners.

Dai Anga?s Tomb

The mausoleum of Dai Anga, wet nurse of Shah Jahan and wife of Murad Khan, a Mughal Magistrate of Bikaner, lies on the site of the Bulabi Bagh, the garden whose surviving gateway has been described above, The tomb was probably constructed in 1671. Built in brick and square in plan, the structure is raised on a low platform under which lies the actual burial site in a subterranean chamber. The mausoleum, cornprising a central tomb chamber and eight rooms around it, was once elaborately decorated with glazed-tile mosaics. The central chamber is roofed by a low pitched dome on a high neck. Around it, the roof over the smaller chambers is externally flat with a square kiosk in each corner supported on slender brick pillars. Sarvwala Maqbara Not far from Dai Anga?s Mausoleum is a solid, tower-like brick structure with generous chhajja [eaves) near the top and sur- mounted by a four-sided pyramidal low dome carried over a low double neck. This structure is the tomb of Sharfun Nisa Begum, built in the middle of the 18th centurym. lt is known as Sarvwala Maqbara from its ornamentation of cypresses ? four on each side ?? intercepted by blooming flower plants. The burial chamber is elevated to a height of 16 feet and is approachable only by a removable ladder. ln order to shield from sight the actual grave of the pious lady. According to some sources, the tower was originally surrounded by a beautiful garden and tank.

Sonehri Masjid (Golden Mosque)

By the middle of the 18th century the mainstream of architec- ture in Lahore had lost its grandeur and elegance. The Sonehri Masjid in the Dubbi Bazaar area of the Walled City, built by Nawab Bhikari Khan in 1753, displays none of the characteristic features which had been the hallmark of architecture in the provincial capital in the preceding oentury. It was built on the site of an earlier but much smaller mosque, in what had been a public square called Chowk Kashmiri Bazaar. 'The little "GoI- den Mosque", so called for its glittering domes. make a drama- tie termination as it rises on a platform at the end of a long narrow street of crowded shops and town houses. A flight of steps leads directly from the Kashmiri Bazaar to the main entrance which is elaborately adorned with an arcaded balus? trade and miniature minarets, reminiscent of the gateway of the Badshahi Mosque. Beyond the entrance the long, slightly wedged-shaped court contains an ablution tank. The prayer chamber is roofed with three domes, with the central dome larger and raised higher than the two flanking ones. Externally these double domes have a bulbous fluted "turnip" form and are covered by gold-coated sheet copper, The two tall rninars flanking the eastern facade of the prayer chamber are similarly topped by miniature golden domes. On close inspection the corruption of Mughal forms is revealed in every detail. The bulbous Mughal domes are now exaggerated into the form of grotesque vegetables capped with slender drooping leaves. The merlons have become naga hoods, and the columns stalks grow- ing out of cabbages that blossom into life?like lotuses.


The vulgarisation of Mughal forms appears to have been carried to fantastic extremes in the half century or so of Sikh rule. Even so, the religious architecture of the Sikhs represents an interest? ing development of the indigenous mainstream Taken singly, almost every element of these buildings is derived from a Mughal precedent, yet seen as a whole, these buildings are an unmistakable expression of El radically different style. The hand of the Sikh designer seems not to be guided by the over-riding concern with the concept of a cosmic unity which inspired his Muslim counterpart. Instead. the structures appear to have been conceived more as the earthly containers of ob- jects of veneration. These objects -? -? an urn containing the ashes of a venerated personage, or the Gran: Sui?rib_ the holy book of the Sikhs ? are no doubt recognised as symbols, yet the focus of attention in a sarnedh or gmdivcm seems to be directed towards the central object ofthe building. Thus typi- cally, the guidwara sits in the centre of an open court or pool, The main structure is often double-storeyed on a simple square plan, with practically identical facades on each side. An inner square chamber on the ground and first floor is usually repeated on a third floor and is toppped by a fluted hulbous dome. The transition from the square room to the circular drum of the dome results in the characteristic double curve form, reminis- cent of the ciiaiichufla or baiigula roof introduced into Mughal architecture by Shah Jahan. This curvilinear form. projected to form eaves [especially its wavy variant, reflecting the lines of a multicusped arch}, became one of the most distinctive features of Sikh architecture. Among the best known Sikh buildings in Pakistan are the mmudh.?r of Guru Arjun Dev and Maharaja Ranjit Singh located between the Badshahi Masjid and the fort at Lahore. Accord- ing to Sikh belief Guru Ariun Dev disappeared miraculously in the waters of the Ravi"}. A small commemorative shrine was built on this site by Guru Gobind {l6(lo?l645), but the presnt structure with its heavily gilded dome, was constructed later by Maharaia Ranjit Singh. The sriniadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh lies to the south west of the shrine of Guru Arjun Dev. Cornmenced by Raniit Singh`s son Kharak Singh, it was completed by I848. Of the two sumadhs, that of Guru Arjun Dev is smaller and its dome is raised on a single-storeyed lower structure instead of the more usual two?storey form. Its originally isolated position in a wide court has been lost with the addition of later structures

Among Sikh secular buildings the white marble pavilion in the adjoining firrztirt ling}: is a fine example of the degree of deriva- tion of Sikh buildings from Mugbal precedents, while the hrrveli of Naunihal Singh in the Walled City of Lahore, is one of the must outstanding representatives of their domestic architecture. Not a fundamental departure from the conventional hrwetf, or large town house, it is an isolated double?storey structure on an approximately square plan with a central court Its most re- markable feature is the rich surface decoration, externally in relief patterns in brick and internally some colourful frescoes on lime plaster, depicting human, animal and mythological figures.


Another schooi which can claim distinction for the quality of its glazed-tile decoration was that of the lower Punjab. Here again, these buildings belong to an architectural tradition which can- not be termed provincial Mughal, for it was as much a natural extention of thc building art of Persia as it was a provincial version of thc Mughal architecture of Dclhi. Similar local tradi- tions had developcd independently along the length of Pakis- tan. Like the architecture ofthe Mughals, thcsc traditions were also a compound of Persian and Indian influences But whereas in Mughal architecture the Persian clcmcnt had been imported from the west, in Pakistan this element had always formed an important part of the local culture and such Mughal contribu- tion as there was to this provincial architecture had come by way of an importation from the east. The hypostile timber halls of the mosques and tombs of Lal Shah Bokhari, Jahania Jehangashi, and Abu I~Ianil?a at Uchcli, and the brick domed tombs of Multan have already been mentioned as representing the earliest formulations of Tughlaq architecture, Later buildings such as the tomb of Bibi Jivinda at Uchch and the l`i?tl1 century tomb of Tahir Khan Nahar at Muzzafargarh continue the tradition ofthe 13th century tombs of Multan. But to the original prototype have now heen added a number of minor but unmistakable Mughal details.

Like the provincial architecture of Lahore with the external surfaces covered with glazed tiles. there are a number of signifi- cant differences which place this work in a distinct category. For unlike the polychrornatic tile mosaics of Lahore in which each tile was cut in the shape of the design and contained a single colour, the decoration in the Multan region takes the form of square or rectangular tiles. each containing a part of the larger design in seldom more than two colours. usually blue and white, the pattern being carried across the joints. Moreover, the de- signs themselves have none of the fluidity and ease of the Lahore mosaics. but follow a more rigorous geometric disci- plinc Belonging to the same provincial tradition of the lower Punjab are the remarkable chain of forts in the Cholistan desert of Bahawalpur. While over fifty forts in this region have been mentioned by various sources, over two dozen of them, mostly of the 18th century, formed a 300-mile line of defence with the border of Rajasthan Most of these forts are situated along the ancient bed of the l-lakra river. These are all built of burnt bricks enclosing a mud-brick core. Some, however, situated deeper in the desert. are entirely of sun-direcl bricks. The largest and still most imposing of these forts are at Derawar and Islamgarh.


One of the very few parallels no the successful fusion of diverse forms and techniques which the Mughals developed to perfection, is to be found in the contemporary hut independent architecture of lower Sind Even the richness of the surface decorations ofthe two are evenly matched, for what the Sindhi buildings lacked in fiscal resources they made up for by the visual wealth of their designs in colour and texture The architecture of lower Sind (l30l)?l8l}U), was derived ntore from Persian and occasionally Gujrati sources than from north India. It represents an independent development which started long before the Mughals and lasted for sotne time after as a continuous tradition. To this tradition belong some of the t1tOSt vigorously sensuous stone carvings as well as some of the most finely patterned glazed-tile work in Pakistan The monumental and religious architecture of Hyderabad , Sukkur. Uclich. Multan and the Punjab have certain similarities in common which are not shared by the mosques and tomb structures of lower Sind This distinction applies not so much to the brick structures, which are based on the usual Persian models. but to the stone buildings which display a strong imprint of Gujrati and Rajput traditions in their decorative carving and structural systems. These buildings have a trabeatecl form of construction in which the domes are not true domes but corbelled and the arches likewise are not true arches but treated only as decorative devices. Their unsophistieated structural system is certainly one of the distinctive features of these buildings, hut their chief merit, lies in the excellence of their carved decoration. The gorgeous profusion of the carving displays, however, a disproportionate amount of attention lavished on the details of the decoration, while the larger architectural conception is Singularly lacking in sensitivity of scale and proportion, The exception to this rule is the tomb of lsa Khan Tarkhan, the younger, at Makli. Makli Tombs The Makli Hill necropolis contains the largest concentration of structures representative of the architecture of this period in lower Sind. Other examples are located in the adjacent town of Thatta and in the numerous graveyards dotted widely over the region, including some carved sandstone tombs known as Chaukandi.

TOMB OF Mubarak Khan

About a mile and a half north of the rest house at Makli, one of the earliest extant structures of the necropolis is the tomb of Mubarak Khan, the distinguished general of Jam Nizamuddin (d. 1490). It is little more than a quadrangle, built on a high plinth, enclosed by high stone walls, but even these magnificent walls, decorated sparingly with arabesque and floral clevices'4, demonstrate the existence of an independent building tradition in the lower Sind as early as the end ofthe 15th century. rome or JAM NIZAMUDDIN To the northeast of Mubarak Khan?s Tomb is the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin, an important Summa ruler who ruled from 1461 to 1509. lt provides a vivid illustration of the Hindu and Gujrati influence in lower Sind, but it is doubtful that material from an earlier Hindu temple was employed in the construction of this building, which it appears was never completed,

The structure consists of an enclosure wall, containing a square chamber with a mehrab recessed into the west wall. The corners ot` the sepulchral chamber are spanned by pointed arches, springing from above the lintel height of the door. Higher up the corners of the octagon are similarly spanned to make a sixteen?sided drum; over this there was obviously intended to have been a dome. The pointed arches, as in several other stone buildings in the Lower Sind, are not true arches but are formed by corbelling out successive courses. The wall surfaces are decorated by narrow carved bands alternating with broader courses of plain stone. The carved motifs include sunflowers, full and half lotuses, geometric patterns, a row of geese, pointed arches, and calligraphy. The highlight ofthe decorative scheme is the richly carved projection of the mehmb. Its base consists of classical Hindu mouldings over which is a row of shallow niches with pointed arches. Above these is an array of deeply carved miniature sikhara, columns, serpentine brackets, and rosttes, mingled with pointed arches which spring from projected brackets. This ensemble is topped by a projected balcony with a free-standing arcade on carved columns. roms or sU1.rAr~i raimnrsi ra isssi About a mile south of the last mentioned group of monuments is the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim. Among the earliest brick structures on the Makli Hill nccropo- lis, it is a solid octagonal form with a rather pointed dome set upon a high drum. The eight sides of the building have deep arched recesses, those on the north and south having doors which lead in to thc sepulchral chamber. The plan is similar to that of Diwan Shurfa Khan?s tomb, but without the circular corner towers of the latter. Externally the building is octagonal, with a sepulchral chamber within, The dome was originally covered with turquoise-blue tiles'5.


The mausoleum of Mirza Jani Beg Tarkhan at Makli presents a colourful sight with its alternate courses of glazed dark blue and un-glazed red brick masonry. The mausoleum stands on a terraced platform of sandstone in the centre of a courtyard which has an exquisitely carved mehrub in the western side. The main building is octa? gona! in plan, with half-domed recesses on four sides and arched door frames richly carved in geometric tracery. The dorne above is curiously small compared with the circular drum. Between the drum and the dome is a ring of cofferred buttrcs- ses, indicating that there should have been a larger second dome over the present structure. Above the doorways are beautiful enamel tile panels containing Arabic inscriptions, de- licately written in white on a dark blue ground. The interior of the building is splendidly covered with wall tileslf.


The small quadrangle to the south of the younger Isa Khan?s Tomb, is the tomb of Jan Baba. Of the three denies which originally covered it only the central one still survives. The walls and especially the mehmb are decorated inside and out with surface tracery which makes them look as if they had been covered with fine brown lace, The sunflower, swastika, and other intricate geometric and arabesque designs are so harmoniously integrated that they produce a perfect visual balance between a variety of deliberately asymmetrical patterns. The twelve-pillared porch on the south at the main entrance is a later addition to the tomb


Of the brick buildings at Makli the tomb of Diwan Shurfa Khan is the best preserved and also one of the most colourful. Standing on a platform 38 feet square. it is a massive square structure surmounted by a dome in Persian design, with heavy round towers at the corners, each having a staircase leading to the roof. The walls are made of unglazed red bricks alternating with light blue filling in the joints. This colour scheme is carried on inside, where bands on tiles have been set near the springing line of the dome. The interior of the dome is decorated with a radiating design of glazed bricks set in a chevron pattern. lixternally the dome was originally covered with light blue tiles. The mausoleum and the mosque on the west were erected in the years 1.639 and 1642 respectively.


Perhaps the most impressive stone monument at Makli is the mausoleum of Isa Khan Tarkhan the younger (c.l644], Governor of Thatta, who not only buift his own tomb but is credited with the construction of other tombs at Makli, including that of Jan Baba, his father". The tomb is placed in the centre of a large square court, surrounded by high stone walls, with an arched ewan in the centre of each side. The western ewan serves as a mehrnb and the southern is the entrance. Built of very large stones, the structure consists of a domed chamber surrounded by a two- tiered gallery. The pillars ofthe interior walls are almost entire- ly covered with surface tracery reminiscent of the work at Fatehpur Sikri. In the centre of each side, the double-storeyed pillared galleries have a group of three graceful multi-cusped arches, rising to the height of the upper storey and surmounted by a wide parapet. The lofty dome over the central chamber is flanked by a cluster of smaller domes which cover the two tiered gallery, This building, with its ample walled court, sculpturesquc domes. slender columns and ititer-penetrating volumes, has that quality of spatial excitement which is rare indeed on the subcontinent. Unlike some other buildings in the same material in this area, the carving on its yellow limestone is delicate and subdued, with the whole adding up to` a remarkable fusion of Hindu and Muslim techniques and forms comparable only with the similarly successful integration in the architecture of Akbar the Great. roms or tt~1tRZA TUGHRII. sari (ri rats; This small twelve pillared tomb and the similar canopy on the right of Jani Beg Tarkharfs tomb at Makli deserve some attention for their elaborate stone construction. The conrs of these square structures have been bridged to form an octagon above the columns, with the dome supported by the two central pillars in each side. The alternate sides of the sixteen-sided figure above the octagon are sup- ported by corbels in the angles above the capitals, The sixteen sides are further divided by cross arches up to the base of the dome. The interior of the dome is a reproduction in stone of the chevron pattern in coloured tiles set in the dome over Diwan Shurfa Khan's grave. The pillars are richly carved with surface traccry and have honey-combed capitals similar to those of Isa Khan Tarkhan?s tomb. On the western side of the platform on which the pavilion stands is a sculptured mehrnb, with a central arch flanked by two smaller ones, and a battlement running along the top, terminated at cithcr end by a mlnrxr or pylon. Dagbir Mosque One of the earliest examples of tile?work in Sind is illustrated in the Dagbir Mosque (1558) at Thatta built by Amir Khusro Khan Charkas. The mosque measuring 98 feet by 48 feet, has been badly ruined. It consists of a prayer chamber surmounted by three flat domes on octagonal drums, the central dome being larger than the side ones. It still contains some superb coloured tile work which once covered all the walls and facade. Inside, the floral patterns in the spandrels and the borders around the mehrab in the western wall are veneered with slabs of buff limestone carved in low relief with the most delicate tracery and arabesque work.

Jami Masjid Shahjehan

The construction of the Shah Jahan mosque, also called Jami Masjicl, was begun in 1644 by Nawab Gul Baqa Amir Khan on the orders of Shah Jahan, and the eastern wing was added later in l6582l. It is a large complex of domed and open spaces centred round a courtyard 169 feet by 97 feet. The ninety-three domes which cover the entire structure are said to be the cause of a remarkable echo which enables the prayers in front of the mehrab to be heard in any part of the building. Furthermore, the mosque contains the most elaborate display of glazed-tile work of its kind in Pakistan. Its plan appears to be an elaboration on a theme first encoun- tered in the Wazir Khan Mosque at Lahore. The eastern de- wrhf, with a pair of cloistered courts on either side of a central domed space, is here further articulated and the eastern domed entrance of the Wazir Khan Mosque now expanded into a series of two domed spaces. The first belongs clearly to the forccourt or dewrhi area, and the second is interposed as a transitional space between the forecourt and the main mosque. The eastern ewan and dome is echoed in the west by a similar arrangement over the centre of the main prayer chamber. Similarly the single row of cells on three sides of the central court in the Lahore mosque are elaborated at Thatta into a double-aisled gallery which runs continuously around the main court of the Shah Jahan Mosque, with the four swam relieving the regular prog- ress of domed spaces. At the western end,tl1e gallery turns into a three-aisled hall on either side of the imaiii domed prayer chamber.


Considering its geographic position, it is not surprising to find in northern and central Sind a greater degree of influence from the lower Punjab region around Multan and Muzzafargarh, as well HS the Indian provinces to the east. '1`hus the upper Sind in the 17th and 18th centuries evolved a style of architecture markedly different from that of the south. The tomb of Lal Shahbaz Kalander at Schwan is said to have been initially constructed by Malik lkhtyar-ud-din in about the year 1356. lt was enlarged by Mirza Jani Beg Tarkhan, added to by Mirza Ghazi Beg and completed in 1639 by Nawab Dindar Khan". The process of improvement has no doubt continued to the present day, so that by now it is quite impossible to appreci- ate its original form. The early phase of the provincial style of architecture of Upper Sind is therefore better illustrated in the group of monuments at Sukkur, associated with the family of Ma?sumi Sayyids.

The most conspicuous of these structures is a monumental tower, erected for no other purposes than the pleasure of observing the countryside around, and for the greater glory of its architect, Mir Ma`st1m. However, while the tower itself is unremarkable, the personality of Mir Ma?sum deserves some comment. Born at Bakhar in Sind, he was a poet, historian, soldier, a widely travelled diplomat and courtier, a physician with an interest in alchemy, a calligraphic designer and sculptor and above all an architect whose inscriptions adorn such impor tant structures as the gateway ofthe fort at Agra and the Jami? Masjid of Fatehpur Sikrizj, It is notable that for all his intimacy and associations with such powerful monarchs as Akbar and Jehangir of India and the Safavid Abbas Shah of Iran, there is in his entire collection of verse not a single couplet in praise of a royal personage. Much of his prolific building activity was de- voted to public arnentities such as bridges, rest houses, inns, mosques, tanks, walls and river markers. In Mir Ma?suni we begin to discern something of a universal man not unlike the better?known Umer-c-Khayyani, and Leonardo Da Vinci. It was precisely from the genius of such men that the Mughal court and its architecture derived its brilliance and universality. Through the agency of men such as Mir Ma?sum, a wealth of ideas from the diverse regions of thc subcontinent and beyond converged upon the imperial centres. And no doubt it was by the same means that cosmopolitan concepts found their way back to the provinces, The domed octagonal building beside Mir Ma?sum?s tower is cailed the Aram Gah (rest house) or Faiz Mahal. This building contains several of the elements which characterise later build- ings in Upper Sind in particular thc tall proportions, multi- storey facade with blind arched panels, decorative merlons and glazed tiled surfaces. Among the buildings which represent the later phase of this provincial style are the Jarni Masjid and the Tomb of Yar Muhammad Kalhora at Khudabad, the tomb of Shah Baharo at Larkana, of Shah Khairuddin at Sukkur, the tombs of the Kalhora and Talpur rulers and the two forts at Hyderabad. The Jami Masjid at Khudabad is a massive structure which has suffered much from neglect and vandalism. The mosque had the usual three?arched entrance with an intricate domed roof covering the main hall within. While the three tall arched open- ings of the entrance were unmistakably designed to reilect a single storeyed volume of the prayer chamber, the other exter- nal walls were divided into panels with blind arches, giving the structure a marked three-storey appearance. The entire build- ing was lavishly covered with some of the most exquisite glazed- tile work in Sind and the roofline was punctuated with four stubby tapering minarets crowing the east facade, The tomb of Yar Muhammad Kalhora (rl.17l8) at Khudabad, is externally a square mass with a large central dome. lt is similar in character to the Jarni Masjid with the addition of small airy kiosks atop each of its four corners. These two buildings established the essential features of the monumental architecture of upper Sind for the next two centuries, To these elements was added the dome crowned with a lantern, first encountered in the tomb of Shah Baharo (died 1735-36] at Larkana, in the tomb of Shah Khairuddin, built between 1752 and 1761 at Sukkur, and in the Thahim tombs at Drakhan [c.l78l).

The tombs at Hyderabad of the Kalhora and Talpur rulers of Sind continued this general tradition. These tombs lie on a plateau or ridge to the north ofthe old city of Hyderabad. The northernmost and also the earliest of these tombs is that of Ghulam Shah Kalhora. A squat square mass externally. with a tile-encrusted three storeyed facade, this building has all the characteristic elements of the typical upper Sind mausoleum In addition, it has a richly carved perforated screen in yellow limestone, typical of the lower Sind, forming a low parapet around the edge of the platform on which the tomb is placed. Another notable feature of this tomb is its placement within massive fort-like mud walls, with bastions and a protected entr- ance. Below the rnud-wall enclosure. to the south, is the tomb ot` Nabi Khan, the brother of Ghulam Shanxi. Internally the plan ofthe chamber is almost identical to that of Ghulam Shah`s tomb but externally it is an octagon with four tall but shallow arched recesses alternating with smaller deep-set arched niches The two groups of Talpur tombs are better preserved than the Kalhora tombs. These are all the more striking for the dramatic arrangements of the tombs in each group, and the use of an oblong wagon vault for the smaller tombs. This variation in form creates a lively spatial contrast which is further enlivened by the subtly asymmetric placement of the blocks and the delicate interplay of levels occasionally defined by low para- pets.

The two forts at llyderabad were both built by Ghulam Shah Kalhora. The larger. built in l?o825 dominates the skyline ofthe old city as seen from the railway. The smaller fort, built in 1772, lies below it at some distance to the southwest. Both have the characteristic merlons with attenuated necks along the tops of the walls and loop-holes which run like deep vertical scars down the external face. The buildings that were once crowded within the main fort were nearly all cleared away by the British in 1857. It was subsequently used for the accommodation of troops, military stores and as an arsenal, while part of the palace of the Mirs was converted into public officesm. Some of these buildings have now been restored and made into a museum


  • Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore
  • Avari Lahore
  • Hotel Ambassador Lahore
  • Best Western Hotel
  • Smart Hotel Lahore Lahore
  • Hospitality Inn Lahore
  • Hotel One Downtown Lahore
  • Amer Hotel Lahore
  • Maisonette Luxury Suites Hotel Lahore
  • Leaders Inn Lahore
  • Hotel Sunfort Lahore
  • Hotel Crowne Plaaza Lahore
  • Marry Inn Lahore
  • Country Comfort Motel Lahore
  • Grace Hotel Lahore
  • Hotel Alpine Lahore
  • Regency Inn Hotel Lahore
  • Jubilee Hotel Lahore
  • Lahore Continental Lahore
  • National Hotel Lahore
  • Crystal Garden Hotel Lahore
  • Ptdc Motel Lahore
  • Best Western Hotel Lahore Lahore
  • Residency Hotel Lahore Lahore
  • Park Plaza Lahore Lahore
  • Hospitality Inn Lahore Lahore
  • Avari Lahore Lahore
  • Hotel Hilton Suites Lahore
  • Bahria Grand Hotel Lahore Lahore
  • Hotel Savoey Lahore Lahore
  • Hotel Crowne Plaaza Lahore Lahore
  • Leaders Inn Hotel Lahore
  • Marry Inn Lahore Lahore
  • For tours and travel information about Lahore please clieck here

    Travel & Culture Services Pakistan

    Email : Click Here To contact us.
    Slide Show - Online Booking
    | Home | Pakistan Tours | MICE Conferences & Incentives | Hotels | Islamabad | Karachi | Lahore | Peshawar| Quetta | Multan | Hyderabad | Hunza | Gilgit | Chitral | Swat | Karakorum Highway | History of Pakistan | Archeology | Weather | Security | Contact Information |


    Advertise on this site click for advertising rates

    Advertise on Pakistan Travel culture
    Testimonial:-We had no idea how beautiful Pakistan can be It was so different from what we thought. You made our trip so good that we hate to leave. We will surely come back. Great job. Carla Gianfranco Milano Italy
    Tours for Pakistanis
    Pakistan honeymoon tours
    Kaghan Hotels
    Pakistan Trekking tours
    Pakistan Tours for Chinese
    Tours for Tourists from Thailand

    Our Other offices

    Dubai Travel & Culture Offerring Tours, Desert Safaris and hotels in Dubai

    Sri-Lanka Tours Our Colombo office operating tours in Sri Lanka

    Qatar Travel & Culture Tours and travel information about Qatar

    Malaysia Travel & Culture Tours and hotels in Malaysia

    中文网站 Read this website in Chinese

    More offices Details about our company and other offices

    Our Partner Sites

    Exotic Dubai Tours Offers Tours Safaris and hotel reservations in Dubai