The , locally referred to as the Shahi qila (Urdu/Punjabi: شاہی قلعہ, Royal Fort), is a citadel in the city of , Punjab, Pakistan. It is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of in Iqbal Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in Pakistan. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares.
Origins of the fort extend far into antiquity but the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605. It was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal rulers and after the fall of the Mughal Empire it fell to Sikh and British rulers. It has two gates. One of the gates built by Aurangzeb is called Alamgiri gate that opens towards Badshahi mosque and another older gate built by Akbar is called Maseeti[note 1] or Masjidi gate that opens towards Maseeti area of Walled city. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Maseeti Gate is permanently closed. The fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture. Some of the famous sites inside the fort include Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha Pavilion, and Moti Masjid.
In 1981, the fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Shalimar Gardens. The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2010 is designed as a replica of the fort.
The origins of are obscure and traditionally based on various myths It is unknown who first built a fort there. According to some Hindu myths, its foundation was attributed to Loh, the mythical son of Lord Rama. However, the first historical reference to a fort ever actually existing on that location goes back to the 11th century, during the time of Mahmud of Ghazni. It was a weak mud fort that was subsequently destroyed. The earliest reference for this is that in the 1240s, it was destroyed by Mongols. After nearly 50 years, a new fort was constructed in its place by Balban of Mamluk dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. It was destroyed again around 1399 by the invading forces of Timur only to be rebuilt by Sultan Mubarak Shah Syed after 20 years. In the 1430s, the fort was occupied by Shaikh Ali of Kabul.
The present design and structure of the fort, however, traces its origins to the Mughals. In 1575, Mughal emperor Akbar occupied the fort, which was used to guard the northwest frontier of the kingdom. He rebuilt the fort with solid bricks and lime and over time lofty were built to which additional beauty was lent by luxuriant gardens. The other structures built by him included the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Masjidi Gate. On the other hand, his structures were replaced by subsequent rulers. However the structures built by him were replaced by subsequent rulers. Shah Jahan built the Shah Burj, the Sheesh Mahal and the Naulakha Pavilion. His son Aurangzeb built the entrance, Alamgiri Gate, which is flanked by semi-circular towers with domes pavilions.
Excavations in 1959 in front of Diwan-i-Am led to the discovery of a gold coin dated 1025 AD belonging to Mahmud of Ghazvani. The coin was unearthed at the depth of 25 feet (7.6 m) from the lawn. The cultural layers were continuous to the depth of 15 feet (4.6 m) indicating that the fort was inhabited by people even before his conquest.
While relaying the deteriorated floor of Akbari Gate in April 2007, three floors in the fort were unearthed belonging to the British, Sikh and Mughal period. The floor of the British, Sikh and Mughal periods were constructed with bricks, burnt bricks and pebbles respectively. The latter either built during Jahangir’s or Shah Jahan’s era was the hallmark of Mughals.
In April 2006, it was reported that officials had urged UNESCO to remove the name of the fort from the list of endangered World Heritage Sites because of extensive restoration work funded by Norway, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and France.
Though in 1990, UNESCO had ordered the Punjab Archaeological Department to bar the use of the Fort for state or private functions on account of historical significance, a wedding reception was held in violation on December 23, 2010. The Antiquities Act of 1975, which prohibits the use of historical places to protect them from damage, was violated in the following month by hosting a dinner in the Diwan-i-Khas.
In April 2013 an exhibition of Sikh artefacts took place at the fort premises. It was titled Glorious Sikh Heritage under One Roof. Rare artefacts belonging to Ranjit Singh's reign, agreement documents between the British and the Sikh, weapons, and jewellery were amongst the exhibits.
Lahore Fort -Shahi QIlla- Breif Description Part 1