Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lahore Travel Guide

Its All About Lahore



Lahore (لاةور) is Pakistan's second largest city, and the capital of the north-eastern Punjab province. It is widely considered the country's cultural capital. The heart of Lahore is the Walled or Inner City, a very densely populated area of about one square kilometre. Founded in legendary times, and a cultural centre for over a thousand years, Lahore has many attractions to keep the tourist busy. The Mughal and Sikh legacy survives in the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Gurdwara, the Mall is lined with colonial-gothic buildings from the British Raj, and the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature palatial mansions and trendy shopping districts.

Understand
Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan with a population of roughly 8.5 million. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, it had been the cultural center of Northern India extending from Peshawar to New Delhi. Lahore is Pakistan's second-largest city after Karachi. The origins of Lahore are shrouded in the mists of antiquity but Lahore is undoubtedly ancient.
Today, Lahore can be best described as a city that is just so wonderful, so very fabulous, that every nook and corner of the city speaks of a certain vibrance, a certain zeal, a spirit of life, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Perhaps it is the maturity of the city, which manifests itself in the various parts of Lahore. It is present in the monuments, in the bazaars, in the old buildings lining the Mall, or in the vast expanses of the sports grounds in the Cantonment. But most vividly, this great Lahori spirit is visible in the people of Lahore, the Zinda dilan-e-Lahore.
Lahore is a city of culture, of history, of an unrivaled charm that sets it apart from every other city on earth. It seems that great Lahori spirit has invaded and saturated this city over the centuries, to the effect that Lahore today is not just a city, not just a place in one corner of this planet, but a whole universe in itself. There is an old saying, that in every Lahori, there is a Mughal prince. The city has known ages of cultural, intellectual, musical, literary and humanistic evolution, which has consequently led to the fermentation and over fermentation of this rich brew we call Lahore. Few cities of the world, if indeed any, can lay claim to such a wonderful past or present.

History

Legend has it that it was founded about 4,000 years ago by Loh, son of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Reminiscence of its hoary past are the remains of a subterranean temple attributed to Rama, in the northern part of the Royal Fort. Historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. After Islam came to South Asia, it became a center of learning, and attracted some of the region's greatest mystics, writers and artists. The people of Lahore, when they want to emphasize the uniqueness of their town say “Lahore, Lahore aye” (”Lahore is Lahore”). Lahore is the city of poets, artists and the center of film industry. It has the largest number of educational institutions in the country and some of the finest gardens in the continent.Apart from being the cultural and academic center of the country, Lahore is the showcase for Mughal architecture in Pakistan. For more than 200 years, beginning from about 1524 AD, Lahore was a thriving cultural center of the great Mughal Empire. Mughal Emperors beautified Lahore, with palaces, gardens and mosques.
Hieun-tasng, the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of Lahore which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century AD. Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. Muslim rule began here when Qutub-ud-din Aibak was crowned in Lahore in 1206 and thus became the first Muslim Sultan of the subcontinent. It waxed and waned in importance during the Sultanate.
However, it touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments, many of which are extinct today.
It was Akbar’s capital for 14 years from 1584 to 1598. He built the massive Lahore Fort on the foundations of a previous fort and enclosed the city within a red brick wall boasting 12 gates. Jahangir and Shah Jahan (who was born in Lahore) extended the fort, built palaces and tombs, and laid out gardens.
Jahangir loved the city and he and his wife Noor Jahan are buried at Shahdara. Aurangzeb (1658-1707), gave Lahore its most famous monument, the Badshahi Masjid (Royal Mosque) and the Alamgiri gateway to the fort.
During the eighteenth century, as Mughal power dwindled, there were constant invasions. Lahore was a suba, a province of the Empire, governed by provincial rulers with their own court. These governors managed as best they could though for much of the time it must have been a rather thankless task to even attempt. The 1740s were years of chaos and between 1745 and 1756 there were nine changes of governors. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas.
Lahore ended up being ruled by a triumvirate of Sikhs of dubious character and the population of the city invited Ranjit Singh to invade. He took the city in 1799. Holding the capital gave him enough legitimacy to proclaim himself the Emperor. Descriptions of Lahore during the early 19th century refer to it as a “melancholy picture of fallen splendor.”
The British, following their invasion of Lahore in 1849, added a great many buildings in “Mughal-Gothic” style as well as bungalows and gardens. Early on, the British tended to build workaday structures in sites like the Fort, though later they did start to make an effort to preserve some ancient buildings. The Lahore Cantonment, the British residential district of wide, tree-lined streets and white bungalows set in large, shaded gardens, is the prettiest cantonment in Pakistan. Since Independence in 1947, Lahore has expanded rapidly as the capital of Pakistani Punjab.
All this makes Lahore a truly rewarding experience. The buildings, the roads, the trees and the gardens, in fact the very air of Lahore in enough to set the mind spinning in admiration.A poet has written about this phenomenon one experiences in the environs of Lahore. When the wind whistles through the tall trees, when the twilight floods the beautiful face of the Fort, when the silent canal lights up to herald the end of another chapter in history, the Ravi is absorbed in harmony, mist fills the ancient streets, and the havelis come alive with strains of classical music, the spirit of Lahore pervades even the hardiest of souls.

Read
Guide to Lahore by Masudul Hasan (1978)
A Guide to Lahore Fort by Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry (2004)
Masterpieces of Lahore Museum by Lahore Museum (2006)
Amritsar to Lahore by Alter (2000)
Lahore by Amin (1998)
Lahore by Pran Neville (1993)
The Dancing Girls of Lahore by Luoise Brown

Get in


By plane


Allama Iqbal International Airport [1] is located about 20-30 minutes from the city centre. Taxis and shuttles are available to take passengers from the city to the airport - with unmetered taxis it is advisable to set the rate beforehand. The new proposed Lahore Mass Rapid Transit System will be linked from different parts of the city to the airport.
The airport is a major hub by Pakistan standards, but not by international standards Pakistan International Airlines [2] with daily departures to the rest of Pakistan, connecting flights into nearby hub airports Qatar, Dubai, Bangkok for onward connections to the Middle East, Europe, North America, and South-East Asia.
Other airlines operating in and out of Lahore are:
Thai Airways [3]
Emirates [4],
Gulf Air [5],
Qatar Airways [6],
Kuwait Airways [7],
Etihad Airways [8],
Shaheen Airlines [9],
Singapore Airlines [10],
Air Blue [11],
Saudi Airlines [12],
Indian Airlines [13]
...and many more

By train
The main railway station is located near the city centre. There are routes from all major Pakistani cities. The Samjhauta Express briefly ran between Lahore and Amritsar, across the border in India, but was suspended in 2002. It is scheduled to resume service in 2007.
Apart from that, trains to southern e.g., Multan, DG Khan, Karachi etc and northern parts e.g., Gujrat, Gujranwala, Jehlum, Rawalpindi, Peshawar etc. run from the main station. It also connects to the western part of Pakistan to Faisalabad and beyond.
Local Stations of Lahore are Shahdara Bagh, Badami Bagh, Moghalpura, Baghbanpura, Harbanspura, Jallo, and Wagah. There is mostly peak hour services operate within these local stations for commuters to Lahore.

By car
A modern motorway connects Lahore to Islamabad and Faisalabad. New Motorway link has been being built to connect it to Peshawar (A western border city).
Note: While Pakistani traffic is generally chaotic and highly dangerous, the motorway is very comfortable and one of the few places traffic laws are enforced. Now a days, new Traffic Police has arrived and is enforcing traffic laws on Highways too.
Taxis are possible to/from the Indian border for ~Rs 400.

By Bus
From the Indian border, bus #4 runs to the Main train station for Rs 20.
Minibuses are the cheapest way to get between the larger cities, and the only way to get to some more remote destinations. They can be uncomfortably crowded, so if possible opt for a more comfortable larger bus.
Skyways, Niazi Express and a couple others operate large, comfortable buses to Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad and many other cities and towns from their own bus terminals near M2 Motorway Interchange. These services are rather affordable and convenient way of inter city travel.
Daewoo [14] has it's own terminal away from the main bus station on Ferozpur Road near Kalma Chowk. This terminal is only minutes away from famous Liberty Market, Gaddafi Stadium & other popular shopping areas. Clean, comfortable, air-conditioned coaches run regularly between Lahore to all major cities of Punjab & NWFP and many smaller cities and towns such as Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar. Daewoo is bit expensive but it is only service that provide a good quality travelling experience


Get around


Generally getting around is a pretty experience, you get to see a lot more on foot, just remember to wear comfortable shoes if you are gonna be walking a distance.
Walking Due to the traffic, distances, extreme heat, and hordes of goggling locals, however, most tourists will prefer to use other means of transport.
Auto-rickshaws or 'Qingqi'(pronounced chingchi) are open rickshaws with (narrow) rear-facing seats, or with two seats facing forward and two backward. They are handy for moving around in the Inner City, since it's easier to see where you're going. Tourists used to average western road etiquette might be horrified by the chaos on the roads - but it almost seems to work. Qingqi drivers have an unbelievable sense of space, speed and angles and you may well learn to trust them (or not). Rickshaws are the cheapest and, for women, the safest individual forms of public transport. Haggle thoroughly with the driver; if you do not speak Punjabi or Urdu or are clearly a foreigner, try to get a Lahori friend to ensure you don't get ripped off. Try to find a rickshaw with a well-padded seat, otherwise you will come out bruised and aching.
Taxis are mostly unmetered and often privately operated. Most taxi drivers and, indeed, rickshaw drivers, carry mobile phones; it may be useful to take a number down if you find someone especially reliable. Do not take taxis in the Inner City, as the streets are narrow and very crowded. Either walk or take a qingqi.
Minivans are probably the most dangerous form of public transport, with very rash drivers. Women will find these especially uncomfortable, as they are very crowded. Often women must sit in an undersized cubicle or with the driver, to prevent harassment.
Buses are usually cleaner and more comfortable than minivans, and usually a have a separate seating area for women.
From the airport - When you arrive at the airport you will likely be besieged with touts offering you taxis and rooms. It's wise not to book anything through them and arrange a taxi yourself to the hotel of your choice. Some of the mid-range and most top-end hotels offer a courtesy shuttle from the airport.

Talk
The most common languages are Punjabi and Urdu. For the use of English there is a big diversity between different areas of Lahore. Education is generally high in Lahore and a great many of residents understand and speak a form of English. It is rather hard to find somebody capable of speaking proper English in old city and other surrounding areas but you won't have any such a problem in Lahore, especially if you are visiting old city, fort, food street and other surrounding areas including Mall Road, Gulberg, Defense, etc you will find it easy to communicate in English.

See

Wall City
The Lahore Fort is a huge mass of a structure where the Mughals built their imperial quarters, followed by the Sikhs. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is a small museum dedicated to the Sikh period of the 18th century. A friendly museum caretaker might agree to take you into the summer rooms underground. The tomb of Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh, is also located in Lahore. Entrance fee for non-Pakistanis is Rs 200.
The Badshahi Mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and was long the largest mosque in the world. Entrance is free, but you will be asked to pay about Rs 10 (Nov 2006) to the shoe keeper upon exit. Try going late at night, when there are few people there. Do not wear shorts to this or any mosque; women are advised to wear long or half-sleeved clothing, and to carry a shawl so they can cover their head. Remove shoes before entering.
The Inner City is full of little shrines and palaces, of which the most impressive are the Imperial Baths and the Asif Jah Haveli (recently restored). Try finding a guidebook detailing walks in the inner city.

Gates of Inner City


In the Mughal days, the Old City was surrounded by a 9 meter high brick wall and had a rampart running around it which served as a protection for the city. A circular road around the rampart gave access to the city through thirteen gates. Some of the imposing structures of these gates are still preserved.
The Raushnai Gate, or the "Gate of Light" is between the royal mosque and the citadels.
The Kashmiri Gate is so called because it faces the direction of Kashmir.
The Masti Gate is not the actual name but is rather twisted and pronounced instead of "Masjidi," which means a mosque.
The Khizri or the Sheranwala Gate. As already noted, the river in former times flowed by the city walls, and the ferry was near this spot. The gate was, therefore, named Khizri, after the name of Khizr Elias, the patron saint, according to the Mahomedan belief, of running waters and streams, and the discoverer of the water of immortality.
The Yakki Gate. The original name was "Zaki," which was derived from the name of a martyr saint, who, according to tradition, fell fighting against the Moghal infidels from the north, while gallantly defending his city
The Dehli Gate is so called because of its opening on to the highway from Lahore to Delhi.
The Akbari Gate was named after Mahomed Jala-ud-din Akbar, who rebuilt the town and citadel.
The Mochi Gate is the name wrongly pronounced. It was name was actually Moti meaning a pearl. It was called so after the name of Moti Ram, an officer of Akbar, who resided here at that time.
The Shah 'Almi Gate was named after Mohomed Mo'azzam Shah 'Alam Bahadur Shah (the son and successor of Aurangzeb). He was a mild and generous Emperor, who died in Lahore on the 28th February 1712.
The Lahori Gate also known as the Lohari gate has been named after the city of Lahore.
The Mori Gate is the smallest of the gateways and as its name implies, was in old times used as an outlet for the refuse and sweepings of the city.
The Bhatti Gate was named after the Bhatis, an ancient Rajput tribe who inhabited these quarters in old times.
The Taxali Gate was named after the Taxal or royal mint, that used to be in its neighborhood during the period of the Mahomedan Emperors.
The Daata Darbar is the shrine to Lahore's patron saint, Hazrat Daata Ganj Bakhsh. This vast modern structure is always filled with people praying, collecting or bestowing alms, or eating at the huge charity 'langar' or soup kitchen.
Right in front is a park with Minar-e-Pakistan or the Eiffel Tower of Pakistan. It was built on the site where in 1940 the creation of a separate state for Muslims was recognized.
Gawal mandi food street
Red light district

Mall Road
Lahore Museum (which displays the Fasting Buddha of Gandhara)
Lahore ZooLocated in the heart of the town and set in modern style is the Lahore zoo founded in 1872. It is one of the oldest Zoos in the sub continent. The material used in some of the construction even bears the marks of 1853. The Lahore zoo attracts a large crowd throughout the year. Driving along the Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, just ahead of the charring cross and opposite to the WAPDA House is the main gate of the Zoo
General Post Office
University of Punjab (Old Campus)
National College of Arts of which Rudyard Kipling's father was the principal, and offers a thesis show every winter.
Kim's Gun is outside the NCA.
Punjab Provincial Assembly Building
WAPDA house building the WAPDA House building is, an example of a modern office block, with a glass dome and a roof garden.
Summit Memorium is located in the locale more commonly known as Charing Cross. Few know the presence of a library / museum below the Charing Cross roundabout that is all about the OIC and Islamic Summit and is a treat to visit.
Shahdin Manzil
Lawrence Gardens & Library, also known as the Bagh-e-Jinnah
Toolinton market, now converted into a museum
Free Manson Hall
Lovers park
Lahore Art Gallery. The Croweaters Gallery
Al Hamra Arts council
Lahore Fortress the Fortress Stadium is an attempt to combine the architecture of a fort like Rohtas with a sports stadium. The Stadium is the site of the famous Horse and Cattle Show in March.
Other Sights
Following the canal side road to the east of the city is Jallo Park. It is a large drive-in park with drive in zoo and a man made lake. Sozo Water Park is another attraction this park. Also see Sindbad, Joy Land and Sky Land
Museum
Lahore Museumthis museum was established during the British Raj in 1864. It displays a complete cross-section of the Culture and History of the region with rare and best collection of the Buddhist art from the Gandhara Period, Islamic artifacts, Calligraphy, Old Manuscripts, Arms, Costumes and Jewelry
Shakir ali Museum ,this museum was actually Shakir's House at 93, Tipu Block, New Garder Town, Lahore, which he made for himself. After his death it was bought by Idara-I-Saqafat-e-Pakistan and formally turned into a museum on April 3rd, 1976. The idea behind it was not only to preserve the great artist's paintings and other masterpieces under one roof but also to open this combination of modern and traditional archietecture to the public.
Fakir Khana Museum a very large and interesting private Museum known as Faqirkhana lies inside the Bhatti Gate and is worth visiting. The museum houses a variety of old paintings, including some by great masters, original manuscripts in different languages and artifacts from South East Asia and the Indo-Pak sub-continent.
Mughal Museum situated at Poonch house, Multan Road, Lahore it was established in 1950. This is an Industrial and commercial Museum, which is meant to depict country's economic resources both in the form of raw products and worked objects. Its collection is arranged in one gallery and one large hall of the building. The main hall displays a range of variety of material such as well plated musical instruments, table lamps of camel skin from Multan and Bhawalpur, cotton, silken-woolen and embroidered textiles from all important cites of Pakistan.
Shalimar Gardens
Wagah Border
National Science Museum at UET G.T. Road Lahore.
Jallo Park The Park is 28 kms from Lahore. It can be visited by road and by rail. A rail car leaves for Jallo Railway Station every half hour. Spread over an area of 450 acres it has expanses of lawns, a forest research center, a children's park, zoo, a small museum and a gift shop.
Bagh-e-Jinnah was formerly known as Lawrence Gardens. It is opposite to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is amongst the biggest gardens of Lahore.
Race Course Park Situated on Jail Road, Race Course Park deservedly attracts not only town dwellers but visitors as well.
Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Allama Iqbal Town
Hiran Minar is set in peaceful environs near Lahore. Hiran means deer. It used to be favorite hunting sport of all Muslim kings, especially of Moghals. Jehangir erected this minaret to commemorate the death of his pet deer (Maans Raaj). It served a double purpose as from it top the hunters could locate the habitations of deers. It is a beautiful picnic as well as a historic spot. A high Bara Dari Ghat is constructed right in middle of a Talab. A man made big lake, boating facility is also available. A good garden lay out is surrounding the place.
Chhanga Manga is a man-made forest 68 kms from Lahore. There is a lake, and a miniature railway, which winds its way through its forest. Chhanga Manga has 12,510 acres of plantations. It is a popular picnic spot spread over 50 acres with a lake and rowboats, motorboats, children's park, swimming pool, cafeteria, canteen and rest houses
On Thursdays there is a regular Sufi gathering at the shrine of Shah Jamal. The renowned drummer Pappoo Saein and his disciples perform on the huge two-sided dhol, and devotees of the saint enter trances and dance wildly as hundreds of people watch. There is a separate seating area for women and foreigners; this is very comfortable and has the best view in the enclosure.
Catch a movie at Sozo World in fortress stadium. Fortress Stadium is also a shopping area if you are a die hard fan of inexpensive linens, clothes etc, and has the only Joyland (amusement park) within the city as well as Sindbad Amusement center. Another amusement park is a part of Sozo Water Park.
Cricket - Pakistanis, like their Indian neighbours, love cricket passionately. The Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore often hosts international matches and is relatively comfortable. If you're brave enough try some of the colorful and appetizing snacks brought into the stands by a myriad of sellers of all ages.
You can always shop in the old "anarkali" bazaar or the newer "liberty market". Both of these places are famous for women's clothes and accessories.
You can also head for the museum on lower mall road.
Lahore has long been a bastion for sport. An excursion to a Polo game would be a memorable experience. Pakistan is one of only 8 nations to play Polo professionally, and fields some 26 professional clubs. Lahore's most famous club is Lahore Polo Club, where emperors, kings and other notables have been playing for centuries. Foreign teams often play here in friendly games, and facilities are first rate.
Lahore abounds with history. From the Muslim emperors, the pre Islamic empires that preceded them, to the British, the Sikh empire to the modern day. A walk around the old city is like living "The History Channel".
If you are looking for the nightlife, it is very discreet as Lahore has no nightclubs, but you can go out and party as lahori people know how to party, however for that you have to know the right people as the parties are invite only.
If you are big on "pot" there is one place you cannot miss, that is "pappu sayin" it is a haven for dopers, you go there you can get free high quality pakistani and Afghani Hash aka "garda or charas". Pappu sayin is located in Shah Jamal at a darbar and you will find many modern rich kids hanging out there on thursday nights. It is one great experience as Pappu Sayin plays the drum all night, a rhythm you will never forget.
Go Carting in Sozo, near Jallo Park
No visit is complete without going to Liberty and visiting Joyland! one of Pakistan's BEST amusement parks, just buy a wrist band and you will have access to every ride in the park.
Watch the daily ceremony at Wagha Border with India
Take a water bottle with you when going to bazaars for some shopping.
Go to bazaars and look around, you can buy amazing jewelery, crockery, souvenirs and of course clothes! One baazar that is not to be missed is Anarkali and Ichra. Just hop onto a rizksaw or a taxi and ask to be taken there, you'll be there in a snap!
Make a video journal of your stay, you will see a lot more through your video then anything else. Remember to take a camera as well ( try to buy a rechargeable kind, so you can charge it as the battery's criteria might be different from foreign standards, or your camera's standards).
Go shopping at New Auriga Shopping Mall, Main Boulevard Gulberg
Another great place for shopping is at Sadiq Trade center.
Buy the Rs.50 posters that you can get on the footpath near Punjab university,it would cost around 700-1000 in bigger shops!
Don't
Wear extremely revealing clothes, try to dress modestly
Eat street food indiscriminately. Though no visit to Lahore is considered complete without street food, be careful and avoid meat. Other items such as Samosas, Gol Gappas are relatively safe and a must try. Food that is sizzling hot is also considered safe as the bacteria are likely to have been killed by the heat during the cooking process.
Learn
The chief schools of Lahore include the English-style public school Aitchison College (for boys), Crescent Model School, Divisional Public School Model Town, Central Model School Lower Mall, Lahore Grammar School, Lahore American School, International School of Choueifat, the Convent of Jesus and Mary (for girls),Lahore College of Arts and Sciences and Beacon house.
Lahore is the centre of Pakistani higher education. The University of the Punjab is the oldest such institution in the subcontinent, and the library has a fine, if rather faded, collection dating back to Raj times.
University of the Punjab, oldest and most famous institution of higher education in the country. Three Nobel prize winners are associated with this university.
The Government College also dates to the Raj, and is ensconced in a magnificent campus of that era. Other old institutions include Kinnaird College and Lahore College (both for women only).
University of Engineering & Technology [15], G.T Road Lahore. This is one of the oldest institutes of Pakistan which has been functioning since 1921. It is the largest engineering university in the country and students from all over Pakistan come here to study the many courses offered by the university at graduate & post graduate levels. A lot of foreign students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, The Middle East, Somalia, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and many other countries are found in good numbers here. The National Museum of Science and the National Library of Sciences are also a part of the university.
King Edward Medical College is one of the two most prestigious medical schools in the country. Other medical schools include Fatima Jinnah, and Allama Iqbal.
The National College of Arts teaches graphic design, fine arts (including the only programme in miniature painting), architecture and music.
The Lahore University of Management Sciences is the most prestigious university in the country. At present it offers courses in economics, computer sciences, social science and law.
The Lahore School of Economics offers an intense and very well-reputed business and economics programme in its cramped city quarters and its vast campus far outside the city.
The Beaconhouse National University is a new institution and offers a liberal arts education.
University College Lahore, located in outskirts of the city near the Motorway on Raiwind Road provides University of London External Programme degrees in a wide range of subjects including Economics, Management, Finance, Accounting and Law.
Buy
Feroz Sons book shop is the oldest book shop of Lahore.
The traditional bazaars of the inner city are roughly divided according to ware. Bargaining is de rigueur.
The Anarkali bazaar, named after a courtesan who was buried alive for loving a prince, is one of the chief shopping areas.Anarkali Bazaar is a treasure-trove, selling virtually everything from handicraft to transistor radio, tin sauce pan to refrigerator, a maze of lanes and alleys which stretch northwards from the Mall at the Central Museum end.
The bazaars in the old city are the ones people dreams about-tiny alleys, some of which will admit a rickshaw, a string of donkeys or carts- and pedestrians have to leap into doorways to give room. Some alleys are only possible single file.
Ichra Bazaar has the best quality of unstitched silk, cotton and printed material of all sorts. On the other hand Mozang Bazaar sells some particularly interesting hand-block printed cloth, tablecloth and bedspread
Trendy types congregate in the Gulberg and Defence suburbs. Liberty Market is a large circular market with hundreds of shops selling clothing, electronics, and so on. A basement shop in Liberty (tell the rickshaw driver it's near H Karim Bakhsh) has good handicrafts, and can be bargained with.
MM Alam Road is the hippest part of town, with all the most expensive designer shops, including fine furniture and clothing, both Western and Pakistani, and the best restaurants.
Raja Centre in Gulberg has a good selection of handloom 'khadi' fabric, both stitched and unstitched. Higher end khadi can be bought at the Khaadi shop in Mini Market.
Hafeez Centre is one of the continent's biggest mobile and computer markets, with inexpensive software (pirated), and hardware that can be bargained for.
Fortress Stadium has a huge variety of very inexpensive DVDs.
Defence Y Block Market equivalent of MM Alam Road
Ehsan chappal house has amazing shoes for ladies, also check out Stylo shoes for stylish shoes and clutches/purses
PACE, the ultimate shopping mall, you will everything, food,clothes, electronics, movies in one amazing package!
Eat
Lahoris are famed for their food and for their consumption thereof. This is reflected in the array of restaurants in town.
Budget
Every Lahori food item has an expert attached to it. For nihari, go to Mohammadi Nihari in Mozang, and in the winter, get a rooftop table; for chicken paratha rolls go to Karachi Silver Spoon in Liberty Market, and so on. In addition, the city of Lahore converted some of its most famous eating areas into pedestrian-only streets. The 'Food Street' of Gowal Mandi is a must-visit for dinner - you'll find a street full of shops selling fine Lahori fare, and the setting, amidst traditional jharoka architecture, is lovely. If you make it to Food Street, go by auto rickshaw (30rupees) or walk to Mochi Gate and try Rasheeds kebabs or Saiyns kebabs. Mochi Gate is also home to Fazal Sweets and Rafique Sweet House.Bhaiya kabab in Model Town is foremost name in Kabab Street, where you will enjoy bar-b-que with fresh soda.
Mid-range
Cookoos Cafe, (across from the Badshahi Mosque). For a truly amazing Lahore experience book yourself a table here on the top-most floor. This is in a converted house in the red-light area, owned by the artist Iqbal Hussain. It is separated from the Badshahi Mosque by a single street, and the view at night is staggering. The food is all brought from the neighbouring roadside restaurants, and is pulled up using the pulley system women in the Inner City use for their daily shopping. Their tava chicken is a must try After dinner, take a walk in the starlit mosque.
Mirchi, MM Alam Road, Gulberg. Perhaps the best Lahori food in the city, and is of good hygienic quality. Try the tamatar paneer cut and the sheesh tauk.
Pepperica (run by famous Artist Rana Shujaat) is one such restaurant, which serves various dishes to suit the tastes of various types of customers. Out of the all the dishes of Pepperika, Chicken Jalferazi is the most popular and highly demanded by the customers. The venue of Pepperica is at the Smanabad, west of the city. The atmosphere is extremely with the semblance of an international touch.
Chatkhara Mini Market, (near MM Alam Road), is also hygienic, and serves snack food like samosas, chaat and dahi bhallay.
Bandu Khan Restaurant, Liberty Market, Gulberg III, 575-6108. Offers good standard Pakistani food. The mutton karahi at Rs 510 was delicious and easily serves two people while most dishes are half that price. Salads are on offer, but see the Stay Healthy section below.
Other mid-range restaurants are concentrated in Defence and Gulberg.
Salt n Pepper is a good chain, with both Pakistani and continental food.
Lahore has seen the birth of several cafes recently; the best for cakes, desserts and coffee is Masoom's on MM Alam Road, while the best sandwiches can be had at Coffee, Tea and Company nearby. In Defence Hot Fuzon is a Masoom's franchise.
Chinese food is very popular in Lahore, but be warned that it is very strongly altered to local tastes. Hsin Kuang, 9-C-K Gulberg II, 575-7200. A pagoda-like structure near Mini Market, is very popular, but the quality varies. It is renowned for its strong-flavoured 19-B soup. Dishes are typically in the Rs 200 - 300 range.
Splurge
Cafe Aylanto. Has the best non-Pakistani food in town. Try the shrimp and avocado salad. You can also take your own wine to the restaurant and they'll be happy to serve you.
Zouk, MM Alam Rd, Gulberg. One of Lahore's institutions, despite the distressing decor. It serves a mix of Continental and Thai food.It is highly popular among elites.
Freddy's, on MM Alam Road, is a family-oriented restaurant which has a safe, vaguely continental menu. Freddy's offers an afternoon high tea buffet which offers a full variety foods and some drinks for approximately Rs. 500.
The Village, MM Alam Rd, Gulberg. A vast mud structure which has a popular all-you-can-eat Pakistani buffet. It's a popular joint to take visiting tourists, as it combines a variety of local foods with good hygiene, but it's not the tastiest. Instead try the Salt n Pepper Grill, owned by the same company, which has a fine ala carte menu. Try their sweet lassi.
Ziafat, Authentic Pakistani food in a buffet style, menu is not as grand as Village, but the ambiance is a little more laid-back.
Dera, Right by the Gaddafi Stadium, sitting on your maniji and gulping lassi, you'll experience a unique truck driver atmosphere here. The food is excellent, but the prices are on the higher end. Favourite among the locals are the assorted naans, chicken mugalahi and motton chomps.
Fujiyama, in the Avari Hotel. It's the only real Japanese restaurant in town, and is considered to be the most expensive.
Costa Nostra, Authentic Italian food, overseen by Pak-Italian owners. Begun as a reservation-only high-end gourmet experience with a rather well put together table d'hote,now has a basement pizzeria where you can't go wrong if the pizza you want resembles something from Rome and not Chicago.
Pizzerio Uno Chicago Grill, MM Alam Rd, Gulberg, 576-3743 was a good place for an American version of Italian, including decent pizzas unti it closed down in early 2008.
Drink
Alcohol is illegal for Pakistanis,but you can easily get alcohol from Firdos Market; beer such as Heineken, carlsberg and Murree brewry are available.If you would like to go to a nice western Bar Royal Palm would be the best bet but to go there you have to accompanied by a member. Alcohol is sold to non-Muslim foreigners at the Holiday Inn until 6pm daily. Bring your passport.
Sleep
Hotels and guesthouses are the two main options in the city. Hotels are a bit more expensive but usually have western-style toilets and are cleaner.
Budget
There are only two options for most travellers, but if you feel like breaking the mould, there are some fairly awful and over-priced options near the train station, which is in an overwhelmingly busy and chaotic part of the city - not for the faint-hearted.
Regale Internet Inn, Regal Chowk, The Mall. The owner, Malik, is a former journalist and a fascinating guy. He can show you some amazing off-the-wall stuff in the city, including weekly trips to Shah Jamal on Thursday nights. It's slightly expensive for what it is, but pretty much the best option in town and worth it for the security and to meet other travellers. There are a few fakes, so make sure you make it to the real one, which is down an alley and upstairs, behind H. Karim Busch & Sons supermarket. Rs 150 dorm beds, or the 2 double rooms cost Rs 350.
Afzaal Tourism Family Guest House Address: 17a Wahdat Park, Post Office Wahdat Colony, Lahore, Pakistan Tel. 7561165 Mob. 0333 4221886 E-mail: afzaaltourism@yahoo.com GPS N31* 31.204' E074* 18.642' WGS 84. A guest house in a very small house. It's not signed, making it difficult to find.
Mid-range
Best Western in Liberty Market.
The Sunfort Hotel in Liberty Market. Free shuttle from the airport.
Kashmir Palace Hotel, 14 Empress Road, (not far from the train station), 631-6700, hotelkashmir@brain.net.pk. Posted rates are Single Rs. 3,500; Double Rs. 4,500; and Suite Rs. 5,500. Rate paid was Single Rs. 2,500 plus Rs. 605 taxes.
Ambassador Hotel
Amer Hotel in Lower Mall.
Alpine Hotel in Model Town Ext.
Address: 38-M-Block , Civic Center , Model Town Ext , Lahore , Pakistan. Landmark: Alpine Hotel,Civic Centre,Kotha Pind Stop,Saira Memorial Hospital City: Lahore
Phone: +92-42-5168402, 5168403, 5168404 Fax: +92-42-5164801
Mirage Hotel, 21 Lake Road +92 42 7238126 reservations@miragelahore.com [16]. RATES: Master: $35 + Tax Twin: $39 + Tax
Splurge
Avari Hotel, [17]. Free shuttle from the airport.
Hyatt Regency, opening Mid 2009.
Pearl Continental Hotel, [18]. Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, +92 (42) 636-0210, fax: +92 (42) 636-2760 pchl@hashoogroup.com, [19]. The nicest hotel in Lahore - the new wing is recommended. Free shuttle from the airport.
Park Plaza Lahore, MM Alam Road, Gulberg. Opening April 2008.
Radisson Hotel Lahore at the Royal Palm, 52 Canal Bank Road. Adjacent to the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club, opening 2009.
The Holiday Inn. Free shuttle from the airport.
Stay safe
On the whole, visitors will find the locals very curious, very eager to help, and often eager to relieve tourists of their money, though certainly not of their lives. Even the biggest and most fearsome green-turbaned men will usually be friendly and helpful. Being friendly and smiling at people goes a long way. If you're a woman, though, it's best to be sparing with smiles lest people get too friendly, though this is mostly in areas like Bazaars, not the actual city.
It's wise to have a dupatta, which is a scarf worn over your shoulders and which can be drawn to cover your head if you enter a mosque.
Avoid traveling at night, especially alone, But of course this is only the case in dark areas, but most of Lahore is lit up all night long , hence it has a big and booming nightlife, so you can go hangout with friends whenever and not worry about NOT being safe.
Usually a very peaceful city, demonstrations aren't uncommon, and these should be avoided at all cost. The Prophet Muhammad cartoon protests in early 2006 quickly got out of hand and several businesses were torched along with scores of cars. Foreigners should try to remain at their hotels until the dust settles, especially if what they're protesting has anything to do with the West.
Beware of pickpockets when you are in crowded areas like Liberty market, the airport, bus stands, the railway station, Anarkali, Ichra shopping centre, or Mall road. There are also con-men looking out for foreigners. Beware of fake policemen or men claiming to belong to the intelligence agencies, even if they show you a business card. See also Common scams.
In an emergency you can call police help line 15.
Stay healthy
Lahore abounds with excellent street food, but unless you've been on the road for some time (and even then) it's wise to exercise some caution. Look for busier street stalls, especially those in Gowal Mandi (food street), and stick to food that's hot and has just been cooked. Salads can also cause problems - if you must, one of the fancier restaurants in Gulberg is probably a safer bet than eating a salad at a dhaba or street stall.
Bottled water is highly recommended. Some budget places offer free filtered water, but even that is suspect in Lahore.
Medical care is excellent for those who can afford it. Don't go to a public hospital if you can avoid it. The Fatima Memorial Hospital is usually a fair bet, with decent rates, good hygiene, and good care.

Get out
The Shalimar Gardens & Lahore Fort are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Changa Manga - A human-made plantation, which is worth-visiting for all wildlife and nature lovers
Across the Ravi is the town of Shahdara, where the tomb of the emperor Jehangir and his charismatic wife Nurjehan is located.
Near Sheikhupura, the shrine of Hiran Minar, which used to be a hunting ground for emporor Jehangir can be visited
Harappa is located about 300 km in the south west of Lahore
Visas & Permits
FedEx on the Mall is now handling visa applications, which is a major development! They charge Rs 600 for the service, have all of the forms you need, and send the application to Islamabad. They are handling at least applications for Iran and India... check with them about China, etc. Bring a couple of passport photos and the visa fees in cash.

1 comment:

  1. Hello.
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