Lahore has had a glorious past. If you walk around the narrow lanes of the ‘Walled City’ or ‘Androon Shehr’ of Lahore, it is not difficult to envision the majestic splendor of a long gone era. As history dictates, the city of Lahore was fortified by a thick wall, and formidable gates during the Mughal era. The gates would remain open during the day, and close during evening- solely build to keep invading forces out.
Today, some of these imposing structures are still standing, while some were demolished and crumpled to dust. Let’s take a brief look into those simpler yet splendid times..
1. Dehli Gate
One of the most famous gates in Lahore, it was built by the Mughal emperor, Akbar The Great. It has been renovated and stands tall in all its former glory. Many historical buildings, markets, and streets exists within the gate, most famous ones include Wazir Khan Mosque and Shahi Hamam.
2. Lohari Gate
Also one of the most significant gates in Lahore, it is named after the city. Till today, several people come and visit the place to relish the scrumptious ‘desi’ cuisine offered inside it. Haji Sahib Nahari walay, Sheikh Chathara and Sweets, Mehar Bashir Halwae and Hafiz Channa are some of the famous food spots of the location. Bazaar Anarkali is also adjacent to Lahori Gate.
3. Bhatti Gate
Bhatti Gate was named after an ancient Rajput tribe, known as Bhattis, who inhabited the area in old times. Spicy Lahori food is an identity of Lahori and Bhatti gate. Another notable thing to remember about the gate is that the national poet of the country and great scholar of all times, Dr. Muhammad Allama Iqbal used to live here during his graduation.
4. Mochi Gate
Name of the gate in fact got distorted from ‘moti’ (pearl). Apparently it is named after a guard, Moti Ram, who watched the gate throughout his lifetime under Akbar’s reign. The actual gate was demolished during colonial times. The area, however, is famous for dried fruit markets, fireworks, and once upon a time, for kite shops.
5. Khizri or Sheranwala Gate
Originally, it was named after, Hazrat Khwaja Khizr Elias, a great saint who had a special association with running waters. In old times, River Ravi used to flow near the Walled City of Lahore, and sea-transportation (ferry) used to take place near this gate.
The name in history shifted to Sheranwala because Maharaja Ranjit Singh, came to power, he kept two caged lions near the gate for the protection of the city. Even today, the place truly depicts the traditional way of living Lahori life.
6. Mori Gate
In the picture above, a worker sits at the bazaar in Mori gate preparing his product. As the name mori (small hole) implies, it was the smallest of gateways. When all the other gates remained closed at night, this one gave access to the city in the evenings.
7. Shahhaalmi Gate
One of the busiest gates in the old city, till today, the bazaars, and shops remain jam-packed throughout the day. Retailers usually trade in wholesale rates here, making it a financially giant market of Lahore. From jewelry to garments, crockery to grocery, ceramic vessels to that of iron, wedding accessories to that of offices, electronic gadgets – each and everything is available. Lahoris come here to shop when they have to buy goods in bulk.
8. Raushnai Gate or ‘Gate of Lights’
Probably the only gate that shines resplendently of its original glory, the gate is located between Shahi Qila (Lahore Fort) and Badshahi Mosque. It provides the main entrance from fort to city, and for centuries it lit up at nights, hence the name ‘Gate of Lights.’
9. Akbari Gate
Named after Jalal-Ud-Din Akbar, the gate crumpled and decayed. No trace of the gate remains but near it is the famous ‘Akbari Mandi,’ that is still one of the biggest wholesale and retail market of Lahore.
10. Kashmiri Gate
The gate faces towards the direction of Kashmir, thus it’s named Kashmiri gate. Condition of the current gate is dilapidating, but inside there’s a beautiful market called ‘Kashmiri Bazaar’ where children’s shoes, and other products are sold. It sits adjacent to the famous ‘Dehli Darwaza.’
11. Yakki Gate
Named after the martyr saint, Pir Zaki – history states that the Saint fought against his enemies but got badly defeated. His grave remains there.
12. Masti Gate
Located behind Lahore fort, the name is distorted from its original form, which was ‘Masjidi’ pertaining to ‘Mosque.’ Not as famous as Lohari, or Bhati gate, but the area serves quality heavy food.
The current state of most of these gates are in bad, deteriorating condition. However, life inside these areas is very interesting, a traditional way of life, and these gates are a precious inheritance of Subcontinent’s long gone era.