And here we are finally at the end of this amazing trip to Pakistan which has left us wanting more of such trips back home. After Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the trip, where we explored Islamabad, Bhurban, Ayubia, Nathiagali, Kohala and Kewra Salt Mine, let’s talk about the last (but definitely not the least) leg of our trip… Lahore! But let’s do a little recap of our itinerary and what we have covered so far.
Our 10 Day itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Islamabad Day 2: Explore Islamabad (Faisal Mosque, Monal) Day 3: Drive to Bhurban and check in to hotel Day 4: Day trip to Nathiagali and Ayubia Day 5: Day trip to Neelum River and drive back to Islamabad Day 6: Explore Islamabad (Lok Virsa Museum, Saidpur Village) Day 7: Drive to Lahore via Khewra Salt Mines
Day 8: Explore Lahore (Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wagah Border, Food Street)
Day 9: Explore Lahore (Walled City of Lahore, MM Alam Road and Liberty Market)
Day 10: Back home.
We had only two days in Lahore, which is definitely not enough for a city like Lahore, but we did cover quite a few things in these two days. Lahore is one the oldest cities of Pakistan and has so much history in every nook and corner of the old city which I found extremely fascinating! Lahore is one of those cities that always makes you come back for more! So I am so not done with you Lahore, can’t wait to be back!
So here is an account of where we stayed and what we think are the MUST do/see things in Lahore if you are there for 2 days!
Pearl Continental Lahore
We stayed at the PC Lahore, which was quite a lovely hotel with their breakfast being the highlight! 🙂
Badshahi Mosque is a Mughal era mosque in Lahore, which was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671, with the construction of the mosque lasting for two years until 1673. It is the largest and most recent of the grand imperial mosques of the Mughal-era and is the second-largest mosque in Pakistan.
Gurdwara Dera Sahib
Gurdwara Dera Sahib is a Sikh temple in Lahore, close to the Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort which commemorates the spot where the 5th guru of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev, died in 1606.
Though I really wanted to go inside but couldn’t as it was under maintenance and they did not allow any visitors because of that.
Lahore Fort is a citadel in the city of Lahore which is located in the north of Lahore’s Walled City and spreads over an area greater than 20 hectares. It contains 21 notable monuments, some of which date to the era of Mughal Emperor Akbar.It was a hot day and with kids, we had a very rushed tour of the Fort, but its definitely a MUST see in Lahore.
There was an Art Exhibition going inside the fort with beautiful displays like below.
And even though we took a short tour, the Sheesh Mahal inside the fort was not to be missed. The Sheesh Mahal is elaborately decorated with a myriad of reflective glass tiles. It is among the best-known monuments of Lahore Fort and is considered the jewel in the fort’s crown.
Minar-e Pakistan is a national monument located in the Greater Iqbal park, which was built between 1960 and 1968 on the site where the All-India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution on 23 March 1940. It is walking distance away from the Fort and the Badshahi Mosque
If you visit Lahore, this is an ABSOLUTE MUST to do! The daily flag-lowering ceremony happens at 4:30 pm at the India Pakistan Border near Wagah and is an experience NOT to be missed!
Wagah is about 25 kilometres away from Lahore, but given the Lahore traffic situation, you should leave earlier to reach there at around 3:45 pm. Even though the ceremony starts at 4:30 pm, it’s a bit of walk from the parking and there are a number of security check posts.
The atmosphere there was electrifying… something that I had never witnessed before.. and never have I EVER felt that patriotic in my life! On the contrary what is also amazing seeing people from India and Pakistan waving to each other.. after all.. we are so similar!
How can you visit Lahore and miss going to the Lahore’s Food Street? So even after managing to do everything mentioned above in one day, we went to the food street to have dinner there.
We had dinner at the Andaaz Restaurant there with unbelievable views of the old city. It was UNREAL!
From one side of the terrace, you could see the gorgeous architecture, while if you look at the back you could see the other side of the life in old Lahore.
After dinner, we walked around and explored the other two famous restaurants Haveli and Cuckoo’s Den.
The highlight of Haveli restaurant for us was the rooftop. It had unmatched views!
Cuckoo’s Den, however, is the most historic of them, with an art gallery on the lower level and the restaurant on the upper level. One of the restaurant’s staff gave us a tour of the whole building and told us some fascinating facts. The restaurant owner Iqbal Hussain is the son of a courtesan and the restaurant was actually a brothel. He, however, is an accomplished artist who teaches Art at NCA Lahore and mostly paints women of Heera Mandi (the red light district in Lahore) which is now converted into the food street.
P.S. All the restaurants there are ALWAYS busy and I would highly recommend a reserving a table in advance.
Walled City of Lahore
Since I wanted to take some photos of the walled city of Lahore, the same restaurant staff offered to give us a tour of the old city at dawn next morning. We hardly slept for 4 hours that night and were back in old Lahore at 6:00 AM in the morning.
On our way there, our Careem captain showed us the mausoleum of Qutubuddin Aibak
We met our guide again at Cuckoo’s Den and he then took us on a walking tour through the red light district area (where he grew up himself), the different gates of the walled city of Lahore like Dehli Gate, Bhatti Gate, Lohari Gate (there are a total of 13 gates that used to encircle the city of Lahore). It was one of the most interesting places that I have ever visited.. the thin alleyways.. the Sunday morning scenes of the old city and its people and the presence of a number of Shia mosques… it was a lot to take in a couple of hours. Here are a few pictures of what we saw in just a couple of hours..
We walked past a number of religious buildings, including Mosques, Imambargahs and even a church.. all of them coexisting in this walled city
Not only the place was fascinating, but even the people of Lahore were warm and welcoming…
The walled city of Lahore was extremely overwhelming and fascinating.. we walked for 3 hours and I still wanted more.. (well not that day.. I was too tired and napped the minute we reached the hotel)
Thanks to our lovely guide, Wajad Ali from Cuckoo’s Den who gave us a detailed tour of the walled city.. he was super enthusiastic and would even make frames for me and say… “Baji, shoot from this angle…”
Wazir Khan Mosque
What a beautiful gem in the middle of Old Lahore… It is one the prettiest mosques I have ever seen! And a MUST see! It is a 17th-century mosque and was commissioned during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is one of the most ornately decorated mosques of the Mughul era.
Since we had half a day left after that, we spent that shopping and eating at MM Alam Road and Liberty Market.
And that finally brings me to the end of this absolutely wonderful trip to Pakistan. I would highly recommend parents like me to show this side of our beautiful country to their kids.
If you have missed the previous parts, you can start reading them here.