In the haze remote history the scanty evidence suggests that for almost ten centuries Rajput dynasties dominated the scene in this



In the haze remote history the scanty evidence suggests that for almost ten centuries Rajput dynasties dominated the scene in this region. It was because of their prosence that the city of Lahore rose to importance and served as a forerunner of other colonies. Its natural role made it up to the status of the capital of the province.

       Like the riddle of its origin and early history, its name has also been a constant topic of discussion without any definitive evidence to suggest as to how it came to be known as Lahore. As mentioned earlier, one of the theories connects it to Loh, the son of  Ramchandra, the hero of the famous Hindu epic Ramanyana. It would be interesting to note that a small temple attributed to Loh still exists near the western side of the old city of Lahore.

       In Deshwa Bhaga it is mentioned as Lavpor, which points to its having founded by lav, the son of Ramchandra, thus corroborating with the myth. In the ancient history of Rajputs it appears as Loh Kot, literally meaning the fort of Loh, in all probability ascribing it to the same legendary founder.

      The name of Lahore has been written in many different ways throughout history yet one thing comes out very clearly that in all its variations it kept the essence of the legend referring to the mythical Loh, usually taken as its founder.

      Lahore appears to have gained position of prominence in the eighth and ninth centuries when it served as the capital city of the reigning family of Brahmans who in the tenth century were attacked and conquered by the Turk Subuktagin  and his son Mahmud. However, during these times of invasions it seems to have been mentioned as Suba or province. The archaeological excavations in the lahore fort int the 1950s have confirmed that a fort did exist here during the times of Mahmud of Ghazna.

      At the death of Subuktagin in 997, his son Mahmud ascended the throne of Ghazni, thougth after a sisputed succession. He led successful invasions of india humbling most of the rajas and chiefs of the region in order to fulfill his dream of establishing the religion of the prophet(peace be upon him) on the lands beyond the indus.

     It was in the year 1021, after forbearing a repeatedly treacherous conduct of Jaypal, his son Anangpal, and in turn, his son Jaypal II, that the armies of Mahmud ransacked Lahore when it was permanently annexed to the empire of  Ghazni. A regular garrison was thus established first time east of foundation of future islamic empire in India. 

      Some of the greatest poets of persian language, like Abu'l-Faraj Runi(d.1091) ana the other Masud ibn sad salman (, whowe workd swere greatly admired throughout the persian speading world belonged to this area.

    Still another great personage, Umar al-Jallabi al-Hajwairy, commonly down as data Ganj Bakhsh, came to Lahore from eastern Iran after wandering through the Islamic world in pursuit of mystical knowledge. Hid Sufi work, Kashf-ul Mahjub, the Unveiling of the Hidden, beinbg the first treatise on mystical life in the persian languyage, has eversice become a source of inspiration for the pious and truth-seekers. After his death around 1072 his tomb became a place oif pilgrimage and a centre of spiritual solace not only for the masses but also served as guide to the South Asia subcontinent for other mystics coming from iran and Turkestan.

    The contemporary chroniclers have recorded that Sultan Mahmud built in the fort of Lahore victory tower to commemorate the subjugation of the well kinown Hindu temple of somnath in southern India, in 1025. His slave and governor of Lahore, Ayaz, also added certain buildings here during that period. The successors of Mahmud shifted their court from Ghazni to Lahore when the city became the huyb of socio-cultural and policical activities.  Scores and scores of immigrants from all corners of the central Asian region came to settle here. The following  165 years saw Lahore being ruled by no less than 15 Ghaznavid Sultans, through their generals and viceroys.

     During the reign of Mahmud Ghaznavi Lahore was called Mahmudpur, as is evident from the coins struck by him at Lahore. The numismatic evidence also corroborates with the contemporary chronicles that the Ghazni sultans were a  tolerant lineage and some of them even adopted Hindu titles. They also employed the Hindus in their cavalry and gave them equal opportunity in life.

     Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori, brother of the sultan of Ghor, sultan Ghias-ud-din, was sent to annex the provinces which belonged to the subverted dynasty of Ghazni. He faced not much difficulty in conquering  Multan and Uch but medt with very determined resistance from Khusrow Malik that he had to lift siege of Lahore both the times as he tried to sobjugate. Changing his strategy,Muhammad Ghori made the prince come out of the fort of lahore and thus surrounded him finally to surrender in 1186. the Ghaznavid prince with all his family was put to death and Lahore occupied soon after without any difficulty.

      After having been wounded seriously at the battle of Narain on the Sursuti river, sultan shahab-ud-din Ghori was carried to Lahore, almost insensible while his army was defeated and pursued by the hindu Raja of  Ajmer. The latter carried his arms to the gates of Lahore for as many as seven times but was finally defeated and put to death by the sultan in 1193.

      Taking advantage of sthe absence of the Sultan to Khwarazm, the Gakkhars, a valiant tribe inhabiting northern mountainous region of punjab, not only over-ran the province but also captured lahore in 1203. However, Shahab-ud-din, with the assistance of his deputy, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, originally a slave, regained punjab and induced the Gakkhars to embrace Islam.                        

      It was at Lahore on24th July, 1206 that after the assassination of  Sultan Shahab-ud-din at the hands of Gakkhars, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, already a viceroy of northern India, ascended the throne.

      The rule of Sultan Aibak did not last long as he died in Lahore in 1210 through a fall from his horse while playing chowgan[or polo] and was buried here.

       After Sultan Aibak, his son Aram shah mounted the throne. But he was soon defeated and expelled from lahore by the late kings son-in-law and adopted son, shams-ud-din Altamash. Sultan Altamash appointed his son Nasir-ud-din Mahmud as viceroy of lahore in the beginning of 1217.

       In the following year, Jalal-ud-din, the sultan of khowarzm, after subjugating persia and transoxania conqsuered lahore. His army was, howeever, driven back to the banks of the indus by the mighty legions of chengez khan.

       On the assassination of Sultan Razia in october, 1240 her brother, Sultan moz-ud-din behram  shah ascended the throne.It was during his reign that the  army of Mughals captured lahore when the governor had fled to Delhi.

       In the following reigon of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud as Sultan of Delhi 1246-1266 the viceroyalty of Lahore was  held by sher khan. The latter was successful in repulsing the repeated attacks of Mughal army on lahore. He was even able to invade their territory and take p ossession  of Ghazni.

       Nasir-ud-din Mahmud died in 1266. His Wazir, ghias-ud-din Balban also known by his title as Ulugh Khan who was already exercising powers of trhe king ascended the throne as Sultan at Delhi.

      It was during this time , as the Taridh-e-firo Shahi mentions, that the Lahore Fort  was ordered to be rebuilt at the orders of the Sultan who has marched to hahore while returning  from one of his expenditions to Koh-i-jud. The author of the treatize, Sia-ud-din Barni speaks about lahore also as a region when he mentions that he re-peopled the towns and villages of Lahore, which had been devastated by the Mughals, and appointed architects and superintendents to restore them.

      During the successive reigns of Khilji and Tughlaq dynasties, spanning over a perion of about 126 years, lahore does not appear so prominently in the political history of the times. The Mughals continued on sprees of invasions of the surrounding  areas. It was during this period that a number of Mughals settled near the town of Lahore, where their inhabitated quarters came to be known as Mughalpura.

      Originally the son of a Turk slave of ghias-ud-din   Balban, shazi khan laid the foundation of the ruling dynasty of the tughlaq kings 1321-1414 when he ascended the throne in 1321 under the title of ghias-ud-din Tughlaq.

      On the death of Mahmud Tughlaq in 1412, syed Khizr khan marched over delhi and after expelling the former s successor, ascended the throne. During the reign of syeds for abnout sixty six years lahore did not enjhoy andy place of prominence in the political  scenario.

      Badar had hardly crossed the Indus when Dowlat khan, coming from the hill-country, advanced to dipalput. The emperor, on lhis fifth and last excursion, subjugating the area, without entering lahore which came well in lhis control, marched on the delhi where in panipat he defeated Ibrahim lodhi to lay the foundation of Mughal rule in Hindustan. It was on 20the April, 1526.

     During the Mughal rule, especially in the reigns of the early emperors, lahore once again gained importance4 and served as a place of royal residence. This period saw it becoming the seat of learning to which were attracted men of letters from places like Bukhara, Samarkand etc. It also witnessed its golden period of material abundance when fine gardens were laid out, remarkable feat in cnal digging achieved, spacious mosques built, caravan serais and palaces constructed, thus giving impetus to its  architecture unmatched in any age of its long history.

      Three days after the death of Badar, his son Humayun ascended the throne in the city of Agra on 29th december, 1530. Kamran, his brother, Whod held Kabul and Qandhar at that time covertly tried his luck at the throne but could not succeed, even with intrigues, beyond claiming Lahore, and then whole of Punjab as far aa Sutlej. The emperor being of a mild disposition, confirmed his brother in his government of Kabul, Qandhar and Punjab.

       After his defeat at Kannauj at the hands of Sher Shah Suri, Emperor Humayun fled with his brothers Hindal and Askeri and sought refuge at Lahore. As Kamran had made peace with Sher Shah by ceding Punjab to him, Humayun, with the imperia; family, was compelled to quit and cross the Ravi on 31st October,1540. The Mirza separted from the Emperor near Hazara and His Majesty proceeded to Sindh in search of help to regain his lost empire.

      Sher Shah suri who had pursued the emperor from Agra, through Punjab, laid the foundation of a fort at Rohtas in the GAkkhar areas to meet any eventualityu should Humayun join hands with his brothers and try his luck again.

      In January, 1555 Humayun crossed the Indus after an exile of over fourteen years. He met with no resistance and entered Lahore. After making appointments for the administration of the city and the province of Punjab, he marched on to Sirhind.

      On the death of Humayun in 1556, his son Jalal-ud-din Akbar who was then only therteen, ascended the throne. He was at the time encamped at Kalanor during an excursion against Sikander Shah Suri. After  his accession, the first important event that lahore witnessed was the capture, and then escape, of its Governor, Shah Abu'l Ma,ali.

      The Emperor arrived at lahore during the second year of his reign and stayed here for four months and fourteen days. It was during this time that one of his ablest administrators of the later years, Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khanan, was born at lahore in the house of his tutor and famous General, Bairam Khan.

     After his victorious march on Kabul in 1579 the Emperor held feasts and great rejoicing in the capital of Punjab  on his return journey. The Daulat Khana-e-Aam, or the  Halls of Public Audience, which consisted of one hundred and fourteen porticos, was especially decorated for the festivities. Akbar marched towards Fatehpur in the following year.

     In  the thirty-fourth regnal year, when Akbar went to Kashmir, he left Todar Mal Khatri  the famous financier and revenue accountant, in charge of Lahore. Todar Mal hadbeen raised to the rank of Wazir of the empire int hrte twenty-second year of the reign of Akbar and was made governor of Punjab after he was given the rank of Seven Thousand. Hew died in Lahore in 1581 ,In the following year also in Lahore died Urfi, the great poet of Akbar,s court.

     Akbar made Lahore his headquarters for fourteen year, from 1584 to 1598. It was from here that he conducted his military operations against Kashmir, planned wars with  north-eastern Afghans, undertook the conquest of Sindh and qandhar and managed his campaigns against the yousafzais.

     The Emperor Akbar married his son, Prince Saleem, to the daughter of Rai Singh at Lahore in the thirty-first year of his reign.

     Akbar seemed to have deverloped notions of religious liberality during his long stay at Lahore. He also erected two buildings outside the city for feeding  poor Hindus and Muslims, one of which he called Dharampura and other Khairpura. At a later stage a separate receiving-house was added for jogis, and given the name of Jogipura.

     Akbar revived the old persian festival of Nauroz in honour of the sun, which he adored at the time of its rising when he appeared daily in the jharaka, or balcony window, of the palace to be worshipped as an embodiment of the deity.

      The Emperor  partiality was not confined to any particular religion,. He was courteous to the Christians as well. At the earnest requestrr of the Emperor, the portuguese government at Goa sent missionaries to his court at Lahore, in 1595. Their hopes, however, did not realize and they eventually left for Goa, His son and successor, Jahangir, was more liberal. He allowed Portuguese Jesuits to establish a mission and build a church and school at lahore. He also appointed stipend for the priests. Shahjahan, Emperor Jahangir s son and successor, being a strict Muslim stopped these pensions and demolished the church.

      Lahore was also visited around 1584 by four Englishmen-Newbury, fitch, Storey and Leeds-members of a company in Turkey. It was also here on 5th October, 1595 that a Jewel of Akbar s court , Faizi died.

     Prince Saleem ascended the throne at Agra  in 1606 and assumed the title of Jahangir. Six months later, his eldest son, khusrow,broke into open rebellion and fled to Lahore, to which he laid siege. The prince was overpowered and brought to the court in fetters. His life was spared but  the rebel grandees and the army espousing with Khusrow were eliminated after horrible punishment.

     The fourth Sikh  Guru, Guru Arjan, was placed in confinement at lahroe, for conspiring against the Emperor in the same rebellion. He died of rigours of imprisonment, thought his followers attribute his extinction to a miracle.

     Jahangir was fond of Lahore, and held his court here on his way to Kabul and Kashmir. In the following year he was met here by the Amirs of Iraq and Khorasan , the envoy of Persia, and the agent of the Sharif of Makka.'

     In the fifth regnal year Jahangir appointed Sheikh Farid Bokhari as governor of Punjab. He built at lahore a mohallah after hisname, a large bath and a chowk, or square.

      In the fifteenth year of his reign, Emperor  Jahangir visited the new palace of prince Khurram. Lahore also witnessed great rejoicing the same year when the son Prince Shahr Yar, the fifth son of the Emperor, was married to the daughter of Nurjahan by Ali quli Beg.

      In the twenty-second year of his reign, the Emperor fell ill in Kashmir. He was on his way to Lahore when he died at Fajauri in 1628. In accordance with his will, his body was sent to Lahore and buried in thegarden  of Nurjahan.

     For 200 years, beginning from about 1525 a.d, Lahore was a thriving cultural centre  of the great Mughal Empire. Mughal Emperors beautified Lahore with palaces, gardens and mosques. During the British regime, many monuments in Lahore which blended beautifully  with the Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles of archifecture.

     Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan and the provincial capital of Punjab. Apart from being the cultural and academic centre of the country, Lahore is the Mughal "show-window" of Pakistan. Reminiscence of its hoary past are  the remains of a subterranean temple in the northern part of the Royal Fort, attributed to Rama, the legendary hero of Ramayana. Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to the south Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. However, it touched the zenith of its glory during the rule of the Mughals. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments that are extinct today.



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