Mughal Lahore

Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan.

Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan.

Recently I was in Lahore at the invitation of the Punjab government for an archaeological conference. This was a nice occasion to revisit one of the most beautiful cities in South Asia (well, once you do not focus too much on the engulfing traffic and pollution), which I last saw some 15 years ago. One of the most interesting aspects of the city is its collection of fine Mughal architecture (1524 to 1752). The walled city with the old fort and the many mosques still preserve the flavour of grandeur and refinement for which the Mughal rulers were famous.

The photographs in this post play between the contrast of the chaotic walled city with the Wazir Khan Masjid (Mosque) and the Badshahi Masjid, and the peaceful oasis that is the Shalimar Bagh (Garden) on the outskirts of the town. The quality of the light in Lahore varies tremendously throughout the day. A thin early morning fog was just lifting when I visited the Shalimar Gardens, giving the photographs an almost ethereal quality. The Wazir Khan and Badshahi mosques were visited later in the day, when the air was clearer and the strong illumination gave the images high contrast and deep shadows.

There are very few foreign tourists visiting Pakistan, which is perhaps unsurprisingly given the political situation. However, this is a beautiful country with a warm and welcoming people, and it is rich in heritage – and all the better for being unspoilt by mass tourism. Longing to go back soon…


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