Guest Author – Ramsha Nadeem, Pakistan
Asghar Wajahat’s classic “Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya O Jamyaa hi Nai (“One who has not seen Lahore has not been born”) was written in the 1980s. Set in 1947, it is the story of a Muslim family that migrates from Lucknow to Lahore and is allotted a haveli vacated by a departing Hindu family. Drama ensues when they find an old Hindu woman living in the haveli. Such are the memories of Lahore and Partition that divided one nation into two.
In the Mughal era, the city’s strategic location at the junction of roads to Kabul, Multan, Kashmir and Delhi made it a seat of power, and poets, artists and traders flocked there for patronage from the royal court.
Lahore today is truly Pakistan’s premier city. From the magnificent monuments, inspiring Mughal architecture, soulful sounds to finger licking food, bustling bazaars and modern malls, Lahore has shaped well post british era. A city of gardens, its citizens are known as Zinda dilan or ‘people whose hearts are alive’.
You can mesmerize your eyes to the architectural gems that are Badshai Mosque, Lahore Fort, Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum, forming the newly created Greater Iqbal Park, the gorgeous Shalimar Gardens, the Raj era Colonial buildings, the Sikh and Hindu heritage. Lahore’s ancient history dating back to thousands of years has left its mark across this vibrant, chaotic, surprising city.
While we are talking of Lahore, how can we forget the ‘Food’ that this city has to offer.
Although there are many options for food lovers in Lahore. But my Personal favorite are Lakshmi Chowk and Gawa Mandi (Food Street). These places will never disappoint you and treat you to some seriously lip samcking authentic Lahori Food. Lakshmi Chowk is a famous eating spot in Lahore, with road side eateries, open all night to restaurants such as Tabbaq for its delicious kebabs and meat dishes.
The next thing famous about Lahore is its ‘Shopping’. If you are not particularly brand conscious, then avoid the modern malls and shopping centres that are springing up everywhere. Instead, try the busy street markets of Lahore. Trust me, there is much more fun to be had bargaining in the busy bazaars across Lahore. Anarkali, one of the oldest surviving markets in Lahore, is one of the markets I used to visit frequently during my childhood days with my grandfather to buy Bangles (Churriyan) from ‘Bano Bazar’. These markets are full of colours, flavours, crowd and again food stalls (dahi balle, Gol Gappe, Fruit chaat, samose, rolls, fries and much more).
At last, how can i forget to mention Wagha Border. A border that seems to be separating these two countries (Pakistan and India) but if you look at it with a different perspective, this is still the only place trying to join these two countries. This place fills you with absolute pride making you wonder of your nation’s present and its past. Looking across on the Indian side, one can also find a striking similarity between the people of these two nations, reminding us of how similar we are despite our differences.
In the End, there is no one best way to describe Lahore but as the saying goes :
Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya, O Jamyaai Nai