Day 3.

After a good sleep I headed downstairs for breakfast at the hotel on the morning of day 3.


At 9:30am I caught up with my guide for the next few days, Mr. Ghulam. We then met up with our driver, Mr. Ashfaq, and to Iqbal Park in the centre of Lahore. Today was Pakistan Day and a public holiday and the park was starting to fill up with people on their day off.


A group of students holding a banner and portraits of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the spiritual father of Pakistan, for Pakistan Day.


We then headed to the nearby Badshahi Mosque.


Completed in 1673 after only two years of construction, the mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to commemorate his military campaigns against the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Built in a mixture of red sandstone and marble the mosque has a capacity for 56,000 worshippers and has three domes and eight minarets.


In 1799 the Sikh army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh took control of Lahore and used the mosque courtyard as a stable for his army horses.
Inside the main prayer hall with its eleborate carved white marble and plasterwork.


Looking up at the elaborate white marble ceiling.


The carved floral design is common to Mughal art.


Inside one of the 80 Hujras (small study rooms surrounding the courtyard).


Looking across to Iqbal Park and the Minar-e-Pakistan, a monument built at the location where the Lahore Resolution was signed exactly 78 years ago on the 23rd of March, 1940.


One of the four main 60 metre tall octagonal minarets.


The garden of Hazuri Bagh, the white marble Baradari pavilion in the centre and Alamgiri Gate at the entrance to Lahore Fort.


Also in the garden was the tomb of Allama Iqbal.


Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a poet, philosopher, politician, barrister and scholar in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement and is called the "Spiritual Father of Pakistan".


We then headed inside Lahore Fort. Walking up 'Elephant stairs', named for their size and spacing to allow elephants to climb them.


Looking across to the Sheesh Mahal (Crystal Palace).

Also known as the 'Palace of Mirrors', it takes its name from the mirrored glass tiles that adorn its interior walls. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 and was exclusively used for private council meetings.


Looking out from a balcony to Badshahi Mosque.


The green square of the ladies garden. Lahore Fort has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981.


Inside the Diwan-i-Khas ("Hall of Private Audiences) where the Mughal emperor received courtiers and state guests.


Just before midday we grabbed some lunch at a cafeteria inside the fort with some egg sandwiches, fries and some more sweet tea.


Passing by some families visiting the fort as we head back to the car.


At the Anarkali area of Lahore.


Looking across to Delhi Gate, one of six remaining historic gates of the Walled City of Lahore.


We then headed to the historic 200 year old Anarkali Bazaar.

Spices, beans and peas.


Trader.


Nuts and raisins.


لڑکا


Coconut.


سلیمان


Nuts.


Roaster.


پانچ


Sugar.


Bridal jewellery.


Dresses.


Mr. Ghulam said that sequins on the dresses were stitched and embroidered by hand.


خواتین


Mr. Ghulam modelling a Rampuri cap.


بچه


Wazir Khan Chowk with the Well of Dina Nath in the background. Despite being dug to a depth of 200 metres in the 19th century, the well has never produced any water but remains a local monument.


Situated approximately half-way through the bazaar was Wazir Khan Mosque.


Dating from 1641 it is considered to be the most ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.


Inside the courtyard of the mosque with some white linen drying on a neighbouring building.


The mosque was commissioned by Ilam-ud-din Ansari, one of the court physicians to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in Lahore and who was widely known as Wazir Khan.


Colourful prayer mats spread in the courtyard in the midday sun.


The interior of the mosque was covered in ornate and exquisite buon frescoes. The mosque has been on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993.


A lady prostrate in prayer.


After the visit to Wazir Khan Mosque we continued our walk through the bazaar.


تصویر


More of the handmade bridal dresses.


سٹرابیری


روٹی


Some softserve ice cream for only 20 rupees ($0.17).


After the very interesting walk through the bazaar we met up with our driver Ashfaq again. Stopping to take a photograph outside Lahore Junction railway station. Built shortly after the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857 against British rule, it was designed in the style of a medieval castle with thick walls, turrets, and holes to direct gun and cannon fire for defence.


We then drove towards the Wagah border via the Lahore Ring Road to see the famous ceremony between the Pakistani and Indian border guards.


About 2 kilometres from the border however the Police were turning away traffic as the stadium was now full. We had arrived earlier than usual at 2:30pm in anticipation that it would fill up fast with today being Pakistan Day but even though we were 2.5 hours early we were still too late. Mr. Ghulam tried to ask them if an exception could be made for a foreign tourist but they were adamant that no further people would be admitted.

The Wagah border ceremony had been on my travel bucket list and I was pretty gutted at not being able to see it.

The plan for tomorrow was to make the 4.5 hour drive to Islamabad, stopping on the way at the 16th century Rohtas Fort.

As I really wanted to see the border ceremony, we quickly agreed to change the plan for tomorrow to stay in Lahore for the day, attempt to visit Wagah again in the afternoon, and then driving in the evening to Islamabad.

It would mean missing out on visiting Rohtas Fort but it was a compromise I was willing to take.

After not being able to see the theatrics at Wagah we had some spare time in the afternoon so we drove to the Tomb of Jahangir in Shahdara Bagh in Northern Lahore.


The tomb was set amongst a vast and immaculately kept garden laid out in the Persian Chahar Bagh style.


Precisly placed red flowers for decoration.


At the entrance of the tomb with the exterior of red sandstone inlaid with marble motifs.


While officially not allowed, Mr. Ghulam gave the security guard a few hundred rupees in exchange for access to the roof. As well as the beautiful gardens the Akbari Sarai, a large caravan inn built for travellers in 1637, is visible in the distance.


Jahangir's great grandfather Babur chose to be buried in a tomb open to the sky at the Gardens of Babur, which I had visited in Kabul, Afghanistan back in 2013. Jahangir's tomb was built with a roof however but in compromise with Sunni religious tradition it was kept simple with no dome over his tomb.


One of the 30 metre tall minarets.


After climbing the minaret in the north-west corner for a magnificent view from above.


Inside the octagonal chamber at the centre of the mausoleum. Lined with carved marble with the remains of the Mughal Emperor resting in a crypt below the cenotaph.


Looking up at one of the four minarets as we walked around the tomb perimeter.


The Tomb of Jahangir, along with the adjacent Akbari Sarai and the Tomb of Asif Khan, are part of an ensemble on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993.


A family walking through the arcades that lined all four sides of the tomb. Also visible are the ghalib kari, or ribs inlaid into the arcade arches.


And grabbing a cool drink before driving back to the centre of Lahore.


After resting at the hotel for a few hours I met up with Ghulam and Ashfaq for dinner in Anarkali Food Street.


The street was a bustle of activity with people out enjoying the Pakistan Day evening.


Restaurants lined the street with tables and chairs for patrons to sit and enjoy their dinner.


A man selling dates from his push cart.


Two chefs hard at work outside at the restaurant we settled on to have dinner.


Chickens being barbecued on a stick.


And about to enjoy a delicious Pakistani dinner with Ghulam and Ashfaq after a great day exploring Lahore.



Day 4.

Today's plan was to visit some of the Walled City, going to visit the Wagah border before driving in the evening to Islamabad.

After a good sleep in and breakfast I checked out of the hotel and met up with Mr. Ghulam and Mr. Ishaq just before 10am.


A North American F-86 Sabre on Mall Road that was flown in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 by Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmood Alam.


The office of the Postmaster General of Punjab province at the end of Mall Road.


After parking the car we walked down to the Fort Road Food Street to meet up with Ghulam's friend and colleague, Khalid. Khalid was a resident of Lahore and was going to give us a walking tour of the Old City.

Fort Road Food Street is situated next to Lahore Fort and is a row of older buildings that have been refurbished as cafés and restaurants. As it was morning however they were all closed.

A boy walking his beautiful white horse in front of the closed restaurants.


Khalid said that the area used to be Lahore's red light district before being refurbished and converted to a food street.


After climbing the stairs at Fort View Hotel we were treated a to a great view of Badshahi Mosque and the fort.


We then walked south along Shahi Mohallah St to explore the Old City.


Morning chai.


While enjoying our cup of tea we chatted about the different languages in Pakistan. While Urdu is the national language, Kahlid said that most Pakistani's also spoke regional languages such as Punjabi and Sindhi. In the day before September 11 and the subsequent war in neighbouring Afghanistan, Khalid said that he had had alot of tourists from South Korea and Germany and subsequently became fluent in both countries languages.


We then continued our walk through the Old City. Roshnai Gate Presbyterian Church.


Red carrots.


Beef and bone marrow stew.


Money change.


Workers making double-headed drums, known as dhols.


Deepfrier.


Tailor.


ماں اور بیٹی


It was quite a delight to walk through, explore and mingle with the locals going about their day.


Softserve.


Chicken.


Eggs.


Barber.


Haberdasher.


The crumbling facade of one of the original buildings in the Old City.


An idle oil mill that powered by a bullock that was taking a rest (back-left).


An old Sikh-era building that is now a school.


Shaved ice.


Pink balloon.


At Fakir Khana, a private museum and house owned by the Fakir family. The family settled in Lahore around 1730 and first opened their house as a museum to the public in 1901.

The large and beautiful house in which the museum is located offer an insight into the lifestyles of upper class Lahori families during the Sikh and British eras.


The museum was holding an exhibition of contemporary artwork curated from local artists.

I Was There by Ali Baba. A work made from a plaster mold of the artist.

Borrowed View by Ahmed Faizan Naveed. The natural light shining through the broken glass was quite simple but beguiling.


Dried Onion by Mohsin Shafi consisted of small glass vessels with corks holding the artists toenails collected over a year.


A Delivery Of Anonymous Flowers by Maha Ahmed with a pile on the ground of small boxes made from black paper.


Amalgamate by Affan Baghpati, with repurposed brass kitchen implements. I was too polite to ask what these symbolised.


Confessions of a Secret Lover by Mohsin Shafi is a collection of ten stolen items from 2006 to 2016.


What doesn't kill you makes you stronger by Aamir Habib.


Qissa by Saud Baloch.


New Lords Make New Laws by Aakif Suri. Hanging in the museum courtyard, it resembled the vertebra and rib cage of a large serpent!


Coca-Cola. After the very interesting visit to Fakir Khana museum we headed back outside to continue our trek through the Walled City.


And at the end of our walking tour through the Old City where we said farewell to Khalid and thanked him for the very interesting past 2 hours.


We then headed out of Lahore on the ring road and towards the Wagah border with India.


After arriving just before 2pm we were luckily almost first in queue today. Ghulam chatted to the border police and they said that people started arriving yesterday on Pakistan Day at 11am so even if we had been an hour or two earlier we wouldn't have likely been able to see the ceremony.


Looking up at the massive flag of Pakistan.


The national flag on the Indian side of the border atop of a 110 metre tall flag pole. After India erected the tallest flagpole in the country, Pakistan soon followed with a flagpole with a height of 122 metres.


Some people with diplomatic passports crossing the border from Pakistan into India. We also saw some tourists making the opposite journey into Pakistan.


The crowd in the stadium starting to get riled up with patriotic music being played at high volume and accompanied by chants of Allahu Akbar (God is great) and Pakistan Zindabad (Long live Pakistan).


The ceremony has taken place every evening before sunset since 1959, with the border crossing being the only road link between the two countries up until 1999.

The crowd on the Indian side of the border where loud music and similar chants could be heard.


The VIP's making their way to their seats just after 5pm. As it was Pakistan Day weekend the front seating was reserved for the families of military officers.


A large portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah above members of the Pakistan Rangers in their distinctive black uniform.


A little boy in the crowd who was slightly overwhelmed by all the excitement.


A trio of Rangers marching out as the ceremony commenced.


And lifting their feet up to a theatrical heights as they reach the main gate.


The crowds locking all the drama and grandiosity of the spectacle.


The rest of the very tall Pakistan Rangers marching out.


An equally tall and energetic border guard leading the response on the Indian side.


One of the Rangers getting a reaction from an Indian border guard as he stomps his right foot down on the border.


The Indian Border Security Force marching out reinforcements.


Both sides exchanging in some final gesticulating and theatrics.


The flags on both sides were then slowly lowered.


The Pakistan Rangers marching back with the now folded flag of Pakistan.


And more super energetic boot stomping as the gates are closed one last time.


The second act by the Pakistan Rangers about to start.


Normally the ceremony would now be finished but as it was Pakistan Day Weekend we were treated to a very polished and impressive marching display.


And some aerial rifle drills!


Passing by some of the guards as we made our way out of the stadium.


Walking through the crowds back to the car as dusk begins to fall.


And back in Lahore as we make our way through rush hour traffic.


We then began the long drive to Islamabad.


After a couple of hours we stopped at a road side restaurant.


With some fresh bread, vegetables and stew for dinner.


And the obligatory sweet tea to finish.


Arriving on the outskirts of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.


And in my room at the Envoy Hotel just after midnight where I promptly crashed out after a long but exciting day.




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