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Lahore ( ; , ) is the capital of the Pakistanimarker province of Punjabmarker and the second largest city in Pakistan after Karachimarker. Historically the main city of the undivided Punjab, it is often called the Garden of Mughals because of its rich Mughal heritage. It successively served as the capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, The Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid 19th and early 20th century. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosquemarker, the Lahore Fortmarker, Shalimar Gardensmarker, and the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are popular tourist attractions for the city. Lahore is also home to many Britishmarker colonial structures built in the Mughal-Gothic style, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office (GPO), the Lahore Museum, and many older universities including the University of the Punjab. Lahore is often referred to as the cultural heart of Pakistan, as it is the center of Pakistani arts, films and intelligentsia.

Punjabi is the native language of the province and is the most widely-spoken language in Lahore. Urdu has started to become more prominent in many areas due to its official status as the national language and due to increasing migration from other parts of the country, despite this Punjabi remains the primary means of communication in both the city and adjoining rural areas. English has also become increasingly more popular with educated and younger people due to its official status in government and preferred language status for business. Many Punjabi speakers in Lahore are known as Lahori Punjabi due to their use of a mixture of Punjabi and colloquial Urdu. According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was nearly 7 million. Mid-2006 government estimates now put the population at approximately 10 million. This makes Lahore the fifth largest city in South Asia and the 26th largest city in the world. Lahore has been regarded as a city with High Sufficiency to become a Gamma world city, as of 2008. Furthermore, its been ranked by The Guardian as the 2nd Best Tourist Destination in Pakistan.

History

Origins

A legend, based on oral traditions, states that Lahore, called Lavapuri (City of Lava in Sanskrit) in ancient times, was founded by Prince Lava, the son of Rama, while Kasurmarker was founded by his twin brother Prince Kusha. To this day, the Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence "Loh-awar" or The Fort of Loh).

Ptolemy, the celebrated astronomer and geographer, mentions in his Geographia a city called Labokla situated on the route between the Indus Rivermarker and Palibothra, or Pataliputra (Patnamarker) mostly, in a tract of country called Kasperia (Kashmirmarker), described as extending along the rivers Bidastes or Vitasta (Jhelummarker), Sandabal or Chandra Bhaga (Chenabmarker), and Adris or Iravati (Ravimarker). This city may be ancient Lahore.

The oldest authentic document about Lahore was written anonymously in 982 and is called Hudud-i-Alam. It was translated into English by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky and published in Lahore in 1927. In this document, Lahore is referred to as a small shehr (city) with "impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards." It refers to "two major markets around which dwellings exist," and it also mentions "the mud walls that enclose these two dwellings to make it one." The original document is currently held in the British Museummarker. Lahore was called by different names throughout history, and to date there is no conclusive evidence as to when it was founded; some historians trace the history of the city as far back as 4000 years ago.

Early rulers

11th Century House in Walled City
Few references to Lahore exist for times before its capture by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in the eleventh century. In 1021, Mahmud appointed Malik Ayaz to the throne and made Lahore the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire. The sultan took Lahore after a long siege and battle in which the city was torched and depopulated. As the first Muslim ruler of Lahore, Ayaz rebuilt and repopulated the city. He added many important features, such as city gates and a masonry fort, built in 1037–1040 on the ruins of the previous one, which had been demolished in the fighting (as recorded by Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandari, author of the Khulasatut Tawarikh in 1695–96). The present Lahore Fort stands on the same location. Under his rule, the city became a cultural and academic center, renowned for poetry. The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of town.

After the fall of the Ghaznavid Empire, Lahore was ruled by various Muslim dynasties known as the Delhi Sultanate, including the Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyid, Lodhis and Suris. When Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aybak was crowned here in 1206, he became the first Muslim sultan of the South Asia. It was not until 1524 that Lahore became part of the Mughal Empire.

History of Lahore

The origins of Lahore are shrouded in the mists of antiquity but Lahore is undoubtedly ancient. 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. Historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. Hieun-tasng, the famous Chinesemarker 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 South Asia. 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.
Jahangir's mausoleum in Shahdara, Lahore
From 1524 to 1752, Lahore was part of the Mughal Empire, and from 1584 to 1598, under the emperors Akbar and Jahangir, the city served as its capital. Lahore reached a peak of architectural glory during the rule of the Mughals, many of whose buildings and gardens have survived the ravages of time. Lahore's reputation for beauty fascinated the Englishmarker poet John Milton, who wrote "Agra and Lahore, the Seat of the Great Mughal" in 1670. During this time, the massive Lahore Fort was built. A few buildings within the fort were added by Akbar's son, Mughal emperor Jahangir, who is buried in the city. Jahangir's son, Shahjahan Burki, was born in Lahore. He, like his father, extended the Lahore Fort and built many other structures in the city, including the Shalimar Gardensmarker. The last of the great Mughals, Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707, built the city's most famous monuments, the Badshahi Masjidmarker and the Alamgiri Gate next to the Lahore Fort.

During the 18th century, as Mughal power dwindled, Lahore was often invaded, and government authority was lacking. The great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the situation, "khada peeta wahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da"—"we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah". Ahmad Shah Durrani captured remnants of the Mughal Empire and had consolidated control over the Punjab and Kashmirmarker regions by 1761.

The 1740s were years of chaos, and the city had nine different governors between 1745 and 1756. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas. In 1801, the 12 Sikh Misls joined into one to form a sovereign Sikh state ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Sikh rule

Roshnai Gate from Hazuri Bagh.
During the 1740s, frequent invasions by Afghansmarker led by Ahmad Shah Abdali and chaos in local government had made the life very uncomfortable for the citizens of Lahore. Bhangi Misl was the fist Sikh band to plunder the Mughal Lahore. Later Ranjit Singh was able to make gains in this chaos. He defeated the son of Abdali, Zaman Shah in a battle between Lahore and Amritsarmarker. Out of the chaos of Afghani and Sikh conflicts emerged a victorious Sikh by the name of Ranjit Singh who was able to unify the Sikh factions and capture Lahore where he was crowned Emperor. According to some accounts, Ranjit Singh was not sympathetic to the Muslim inhabitants of the city, he is said to have turned the Badshahi Mosquemarker, one of the most magnificent and largest Mosques in the world, into a stable for his horses, other sources claim it was used as a gun powder magazine for military stores.

British rule

British-built Tollinton Market, ca. 1864.
Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and was able to expand the kingdom to Kyber pass and also included Jammu and Kashmir while keeping the British from expanding across the River Sutlejmarker for more than 40 years. After his death in 1839 the internecine fighting between the Sikhs and several rapid forfeitures of territory by his sons, along with the intrigues of the Dogras and two Anglo-Sikh wars, eventually led to British control of the Lahore Darbar ten years later. For the British, Punjab was a frontier province, because Lahore had boundaries with Afghanistanmarker and Persiamarker. Therefore, the Punjabis, unlike the Bengalis and the Sindhis, were not allowed to use their mother tongue as an official language. The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab , including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism. Under British rule (1849–1947), colonial architecture in Lahore combined Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles.Under Bristish rule, Sir Ganga Ram (Father of Modern Lahore), designed and built General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) the Hailey College of Commerce, Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on The Mall and Lady Maynard Industrial School. He also constructed Model Town, once the best localities of Lahore.The GPO and YMCA buildings in Lahore commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, an event marked by the construction of clock towers and monuments all over British India. Other important British buildings included the High Court, the Government College University, the museums, the National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, the University of the Punjab (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly. Even today, Mall Road retains a variety of Gothic and Victorian style buildings built during the British Raj. At one end of The Mall stands the university, one of the most prestigious universities of Pakistan. The British also launched the city's first horse-racing club in 1924, starting a tradition that continues today at the Lahore Race Clubmarker.

The independence movement

Lahore played a special role in the independence movements of both India and Pakistan. The 1929 Congress session was held at Lahore. In this Congress, the Declaration of the Independence of India was moved by Pandit Nehru and passed unanimously at midnight on 31 December 1929. On this occasion, the contemporary tricolour of India (with a chakra at its centre) was hoisted as a national flag, and thousands of people saluted it. This was the first time the Indian flag was ever unfurled.

Lahore prison was used by the British to detain revolutionary freedom fighters. Noted freedom fighter Jatin Das died in Lahore prison after fasting for 63 days in protest of British treatment of political prisoners. One of the greatest martyrs in the history of Indian independence, Shaheed Sardar Bhagat Singh, was hanged here.

The most important session of the All India Muslim League (later the Pakistan Muslim League), demanding the creation of Pakistanmarker, was held in Lahore in 1940. Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) demanded a separate homeland for Muslims of India in a document known as the Pakistan Resolution or the Lahore Resolution. It was during this session that Jinnah, the leader of the league, publicly proposed the Two-Nation Theory for the first time.

Post-independence

On independence of Pakistan, Lahore was made capital of Punjabmarker province in the new state of Pakistan. Almost immediately, large scale riots broke out among Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, causing many deaths as well as damage to historic monuments—including the Lahore Fortmarker, Badshahi mosquemarker and other colonial buildings. With United Nations assistance, the government was able to re-build Lahore, and most scars of the communal violence of independence were erased. Less than 20 years later, however, Lahore once again became the battleground for the War of 1965. The battlefield and trenches can still be observed today close to the Wahga border area.

After independence, Lahore lost much of its glory to Karachimarker which quickly became the biggest and most industrialised city. It was not until the rule of the Mian brothers, and the MQM riots in of 1990s that Lahore once again gained its significance as an economic and cultural powerhouse through government reforms. The second Islamic Summit Conference was held in the city. In 1996 the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup final match was held at the Gaddafi Stadiummarker in Lahore.

The Walled City of Lahore known locally as the "Andheron Shehr" is the oldest and most historic part of Lahore. The Punjab government embarked on a major project in 2009 on restoring the Royal Trail (Shahi Guzar Gah) from Akbari Gate to the Lahore Fort with the help of the World Bank under the Sustainable Development of the Walled City of Lahore (SDWCL) project. The project aims at the Walled City development, at exploring and highlighting economic potential of the Walled City as a cultural heritage, exploring and highlighting the benefits of the SWDCL project for the residents, and at soliciting suggestions regarding maintenance of development and conservation of the Walled City.

Geography and climate

Lying between 31°15′ and 31°45′ North latitude and 74°01′ and 74°39′ East longitude, Lahore is bounded on the north and west by the Sheikhupura District, on the east by Wagahmarker, and on the south by Kasur Districtmarker. The Ravi Rivermarker flows on the northern side of Lahore. Lahore city covers a total land area of 404 km² and is still growing.

Lahore features an atypical verion of a humid subtropical climate with long and extremely hot summers, dry and relatively mild wimters, a monsoon and dust storms. The weather of Lahore is extreme during the months of May, June, and July, when the temperatures soar to 40°- 48 °C. From late June till August, the monsoon seasons starts, with heavy rainfall throughout the province. December, January, and February are the coldest months, when temperatures can drop to -1 °C. The city’s highest maximum temperature was 48.3°C, recorded on June 6, 1921, and again on June 9, 2007. At the time the meteorological office recorded this official temperature in the shade, it reported a heat index in direct sunlight of 55 °C. The lowest temperature recorded in Lahore is -6°C. The highest rainfall in the city was of 453mm (18 inch), which occurred on August 21, 1996 and continued for three days.

Civic Administration

Under the latest revision of Pakistan's administrative structure, promulgated in 2001, Lahore was tagged as a City District, and divided into nine towns. Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.'s).

Localities

As the provincial capital, the Punjab Assembly Building hosts meetings of district heads.
WAPDA Headquarters provides electricity and water to the majority of the city
Siddiq Trade Center is one of many new shopping malls launched to meet the increasing shopping demands




Neighbourhoods



Economy

Gulberg Main Boulevard, which has some of Lahore's largest and finest shopping centres


As of 2005, the city's gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at $28 billion with a projected average growth rate of 5.9 percent. This is at par with Pakistan's other economic hub Karachi, with Lahore (having half the population) fostering an economy that is 51% of the size of Karachi's ($55 billion in 2005). The contribution of Lahore to the national economy is supposed to be around 13.2%. Lahore's GDP is projected to be $67 billion by the year 2020. With a slightly higher growth rate of 5.9% per annum, as compared to Karachi's 5.8% Central to Lahore's economy is the Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE), Pakistan's second largest stock exchange. Lahore has offices of several Pakistani government corporations including the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Water and Sewage Authority (WASA). Food and restaurant businesses remain open all night. The shopping markets are usually open late into the night. Lahore is the second largest financial hub of Pakistan and has industrial areas including Kot Lakhpat and the new Sundar Industrial Estate (near Raiwand). There are many Industries in Lahore such as Auto mobile, Home Appliances, Steel, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, and Construction Material. Lahore’s economic base isbroad and varied. A major industrial agglomeration with about 9,000 industrial units, it has shiftedin recent decades from manufacturing to service industries. Some 42% of its work force isemployed in finance, banking, real estate, community, cultural, and social services. The city is the country’s largest software producing center, and hosts a growing computer-assembly industry.

Lahore's economic strength relies on the fact that it is the biggest city of Pakistan's most populous province. It is also the most advanced in terms of infrastructure, having extensive and relatively well developed road links to all major cities in Punjab and NWFPmarker, a rail link with Indiamarker and the province's biggest International airport. It also has the most developed communications infrastructure in the province, which includes a wide network of fiber optic telephone and cable lines, GSM mobile network, IPP and WiMax. It has the most developed education and health sectors as well, making it the economic, political and educational hub of the province. ‎ As Lahore expands, former residential areas are being turned into commercial centres, and the suburban population is constantly moving outwards. This has resulted in the development of the Liberty Market, MM Alam Road, the new Jail Road (which has some of the largest office buildings in Lahore), and the Main Boulevard.
Monument at Liberty Chowk, Main Boulevard, Gulberg


The suburban population's move from commercial areas to less busy areas supports a thriving construction industry and several large housing projects including Bahria Townmarker, Lake City, Sukh Chayn Gardens, Eden Villas, and a project by the Dhabi Group, a joint Pakistan-UAE partnership, to construct a new city on the outskirts of Lahore.

Lahore is famous as the hub of hand-made carpet manufacturing in Pakistan. At present, hand-knitted carpets produced in and around Lahore are among Pakistan's leading export products, and their manufacturing is the second-largest cottage and small industry. Lahore-based carpet exports make up nearly 85 percent of all carpet exports from Pakistan.Craftsmen in Lahore produce almost every type of handmade carpet using popular motifs such as medallions, paisleys, traceries, and geometric designs. The Lahore Design Centre at the Punjab Small Industries Corporation maintains a separate section of carpet designing to experiment with new designs. Lahore is famous for single-wefted designs in Turkoman and Caucasian style and double-wefted Mughal types.

Building at Liberty Square, Lahore
Lahore's economic importance depends on many government institutes and international companies headquartered in the city, including WorldCALL Telecom Group, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Cricket Board, Punjab University, NCA, Bata shoes, Haier, Wateen Telecom, Warid Telecom, Honda, Reebok, Daewoo, Nestle, Audi, Coca Cola, Tetra Pak, Monsanto Company, Delaval, Metro Cash & Carry, Mr Cod, Porsche and Rolls Royce. . The fact these companies have settled major operations and in 2005 accounted for almost half of the Foreign Direct Investment coming into Pakistan reflects Lahore's relatively calm social environment, infrastructure and sophisticated consumer market. Lahore has now become the head of retail as Metro, Makro and Hyperstar (Carrefour) have all situated their headquarters in Lahore. This has given the city an immense edge in terms of retail development as well as expertise.

Projects

Expo centre Lahore is underconstruction such as long delayed Lahore expo centre, the Mubarak complex, consisting of four towers and a small ellipse shaped building, housing uniquely designed apartments along with a five story covered shopping mall, which will be biggest and most exclusive shopping and entertainment complex in the region. The project is being carried out as a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Group and the Government of Punjab. The two investors have formed a holding company for Zayed Centre called Taavun (Pvt.) Ltd. which will be responsible for managing the project. Turner Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the US, have been hired as contractors/builders. Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum have been retained as project consultants & architects. The residential apartments will be managed by Concord. The exact cost of the project is unknown as of yet but is estimated at $500 Million US.

Lake City is a resort and residential development planned on the outskirts of Lahore. Covering an area of more than 2104 acres, the resort with its lush green parks, sinuous lakes, an 18 hole regulation Golf course and other features.

Defence Raya Golf Resort is Pakistan's largest as well as Asia's largest golf course is under construction. Defence Raya Golf Resort is the result of a partnership between DHA Lahore and BRDB Malaysia.The rapid development of mega projects in city will boost up the economy of country.
A picture from the completed part of the Lahore Ring Road
Many other projects under construction in Lahore are:
  • Pace tower - 24 floors (under construction)
  • Mall99 - 21 floors (under construction)
  • Lahore Expo Center (under construction)
  • Expo Center tower (approved)
  • Mubarak Center (under construction)
  • IT tower - 23 floors (under construction)
  • Alamgir tower - 31 floors (under construction)
  • DHA Haly tower - Low rise (under construction)
  • Lahore Ring Road (under construction)
  • Lahore Sports City (approved)
  • Kot Lakhpat elevated expressway (approved)
  • Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (vision)
  • Xinhua mall - 20 floors (under construction)
  • Lahore-Sialkot motorway (under construction)
  • Boulevard Heights - 19 floors (under construction)
  • Pearl Continental Tower - 40 floors & 152 m (proposed)
  • LDA tower - 40 floors (approved)
  • Bank Square gulberg (vision)
  • Pace Circle and Hyatt Regency - 12 floors (under construction)
  • Tricon Corporate tower - 18 floors (under construction)


The economy is also enhanced by Lahore's historic and cultural importance. Being the capital of the largest province in Pakistan brings the city on of the largest development budget in the country.

Transportation

The Allama Iqbal International Airport
Lahore is one of the most accessible cities of Pakistan and the only unique city of Pakistan where you can find Public and private Transport, 24 hrs a day and 7 days in a week.Public transport include public transport buses which are enough to cover the needs of the city.To fulfil the remaining needs of transport there are thousands of rickshaws and taxis which run on compressed natural gas to reduce pollution in the city and of course about 75 percent of the residents have their own conveyances.The roads in the city are well maintained and are broadened when needed to fullfil the increasing needs of meteropolitan.
Premier bus service
Premier Bus Services, which is owned by the Beaconhouse Group, was started in 2003. It provides premium transportation services to the general public of Lahore, with hundreds of buses running on exclusive routes. This is the largest public transport service provider in Pakistan. The buses are in the process of being converted to CNG for both environmental and economic reasons.

Daewoo city bus
In addition to the premier bus bus service, Daewoo CITY bus also provide safe journey to masses.Though these buses are less in number but they all are air conditioned and provide better comfort to passengers as compared to premier buses.

In addition to these two major companies there are several other small companies(New khan.metro,Niazi etc) providing their service but they cover only particular routes and are less in number.

In addition to the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T. road), motorways connecting all major cities like Islamabad,Multan,Faisalabad,Peshawar,Rawalpindi etc have been built. Another one to Sialkotmarker is in under construction. The government has built underpasses to ease congestion and prevent traffic jams, and according to official figures, Lahore has the highest number of underpasses in Pakistan. The government would undertake planned rehabilitation of the roads, which have outlived their designed life, construction of missing road links and development of provincewide secondary arteries linking national motorways and trade corridors to foster economic opportunities via meeting expanding domestic and international travel and trade demands.

The Punjab government had allocated Rs 170.300 million for W/I of Thokar- Raiwind Road, Rs 50 million for dualisation of Lahore-Jaranwala Road from Ferozepur Interchange to Mandi Faizabad, Rs 40 million for construction of extending building for IWMI Thokar Niaz Baig Lahore, Rs 2.7 million for construction of overhead bridge at Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Road near University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Rs 56 million for PC-II for feasibility study of elevated expressways in Lahore, Rs 10 million for construction of elevated expressway from Lahore Bridge to Niazi Chowk, Rs 50 million for strengthening of Sheikhupura-Gujranwala Road,and Rs 15 million for construction of missing by-pass between Sargodha to Lahore Road.

The Pakistan Railways headquarters is located in Lahore. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of transportation for commuters and connects distant parts of the country with Lahore for business, sight-seeing, pilgrimage, and education. The Lahore Central Railway Station, built during the British colonial era, is located in the heart of the city.

Lahore Railway Station
To accommodate increased air travel, the government built a new city airport in 2003.It was named Allama Iqbal International Airportmarker after the national poet of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and is served by international airlines as well as the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The previous airport now operates as the Hajj Terminal to facilitate the great influx of pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabiamarker to perform the hajj every year. Lahore also has a general aviation airport known as Walton Airportmarker.

Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) System is a project envisioned to provide mass transit facilities to Pakistan's second largest city Lahore. The project is expected to complete in 2020. In the first phase, two light rail lines will be constructed. The first Green Line between Shahdra and Hamza Town (Ferozpur Road) will be completed by 2011 and cost 2.4 billion dollars. The second Orange Line between Pakistan Mint and Sabzazar will cost US $1.9 billion and will be completed by 2015. In the second phase, Blue and Purple lines will be constructed.The Lahore Ring Road Project was launched on December 22, 2004 at a ground-breaking ceremony attended by President General Pervez Musharaf.

The Lahore Ring Road (LRR) Project is mega road sector projects being developed by the Punjab Government. The development of this project will ensure efficient & speedy movement of freight and passengers, removal of traffic conflicts and boosting up of industrial development potential. The construction of this project includes six lane divided carriage way, interchanges, RCC bridges, reinforced earth abutments/walls, overhead pedestrian bridges, culverts, sub-ways, underpasses, flyovers and allied works at a total project value of over Rs.20 billion and Rs.13 billion respectively

Demography

Regal Church
According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was nearly 6.8 million. Mid-2006 government estimates put the population at somewhere around 10 million, which makes it the second largest city in Pakistan, after Karachimarker. It is considered to be one of the 30 largest cities of the world. Also according to the 1998 census, 86.2%, or 6,896,000 of the population are Punjabis and 10.2% or 816,000 are Urdu speaker. Finally, 3% Pashto and the Seraikis at 0.4% number about 32,000. Figures are unavailable for the many Afghan refugees and migrants from Iranmarker who have permanently settled in Lahore but were not included in the census.

The main languages spoken in Lahore are Urdu and Punjabi. According to the 1998 census, 94% of Lahore's population is Shia and Sunni Muslim, up from 60% in 1941. Other religions include Christians 5.80% (higher in rural areas where they form around 9.0% of the rural population as well as Ahmadi Muslims at 0.20% and a small number of Bahá'ís, Hindus, Parsis, and Sikhs. Due to Lahore diverse culture, there are many mosques, shrines, synagogues, Hindu and Jain temples,Sikh Gurudwaras, and churches across the city. Some of the most famous mosques include, Badshahi Masjidmarker, Dai Anga Mosquemarker, Data Durbar Complex, Shia Masjid, Suneri Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque, Moti Masjid, Masjid-e-Shuhda (Martyr's Mosque) and Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum. Some of the famous shrines include, Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal, Bibi Pak Daman, Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, Tomb of Shah Jamal, Tomb of Lal Hussain, Tomb of Anārkalī, Tomb of Jahangir, Tomb of Empress Nur Jehan and Tomb of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan. Some of the well-known churches include, Regal Church, Hall Road Church, Convent of Jesus & Mary and Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Culture

One of the horses on display at the annual horse and cattle show
Lahore's culture is unique. Known as the cultural capital or Heart of Pakistan, the city has been the seat of the Mughal Empire and the Sikh Empire as well as the capital of Punjab in Mahmud Ghaznavi's 11th century empire and in the British Empire.

Lahore played an important role in Pakistani history, as it was in this city where the independence declaration for Pakistan was made. Along with Karachimarker, the city was the only known major city of the British Empire that would come into the new Muslims state. It was the largest city in the newly formed Pakistan at the time of independence and provided the easiest access to India, with its porous border near the Indian city of Amritsarmarker only to the east. Large numbers of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims lived closely in Lahore before independence of Pakistanmarkerand the city suffered many revolts, demonstrations and bloodshed at the time of independence due to the enmity between Muslims and Hindus at the time and the uncertainty which loomed over the fate of Lahore even after India and Pakistan gained independece. Lahore's culture, its history, institutions, food, clothing, films, music, fashion, and liberal community lifestyle attract people from all over the country.
Badshahi Mosque at night
Lahore is an extremely festive city. This city is the most happening city of Pakistan. The people of Lahore celebrate many festivals and events throughout the year, blending Mughal, Western, and current trends. Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are celebrated. Many people decorate their houses and light candles to illuminate the streets and houses; roads and businesses are lit for days during these public holidays. In Lahore is located the mausoleum of Ali Hujwiri also known as also known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (Persian/Urdu: ) or Data Sahib and an annual Urs is held every year as a big festival.

Basant is a Punjabi festival marking the coming of spring. Basant celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore, and people from all over the country as well as abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite-flying competitions traditionally take place on city rooftops during Basant. Courts have banned the kite-flying because of casualties and power installation losses. The ban was lifted for two days in 2007, then immediately reimposed when 11 people were killed by celebratory gunfire, sharpened kite-strings, electrocution, and falls related to the competition.

The Festival of Lamps, or Mela Chiraghan, is an important and popular event in Lahore. This is celebrated at the same time as Basant, every spring on the last Friday of March, outside the Shalimar Gardens.

Cooco's cafe, A famous restaurant in the Old city of Lahore


The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals, held in spring in the Fortress Stadium. The week-long activities include a livestock display, horse and camel dances, tent pegging, colourful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays, and tattoo shows in the evenings.On August 14, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from the British Raj. There are lots of celebrations in Lahore, the streets are full of people singing and dancing. Parades of the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force are held early in the morning. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers.


The World Performing Arts Festival is held every autumn (usually in November) at the Alhambra cultural complex, a large venue consisting of several theatres and amphitheatres. This ten-day festival consists of musicals, theatre, concerts, dance, solo, mime, and puppetry shows. The festival has an international character with nearly 80 percent of the shows performed by international performers. On average 15–20 different shows are performed every day of the festival.

A food street in Lahore, centre of traditional Pakistani food.


Lahoris are known for their love of food and eating. While Lahore has a great many traditional and modern restaurants, in recent years Western fast food chains, such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Subway Sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts, Nando's and Kentucky Fried Chicken have appeared all over the city. Recently the food street in the historic locales of Lahore (Gawalmandimarker, Anarkali, and Badshahi) have attracted tourists. Food streets have undergone restorations and are cordoned off in the evenings for pedestrian traffic only; numerous cafés serve local delicacies under the lights and balconies of restored havelis (traditional residential dwellings). Some of the trendiest restaurants in Lahore are concentrated on the M M Alam Road in Gulberg. Here, dozens of high-class culinary outlets, ranging from Western franchises to traditional, ethnic, or theme restaurants, attract all classes of Lahore's citizens. New restaurants are constantly opening, and the business is extremely competitive. Many boisterous restaurants of Lahore are open late into the night. One of Lahore's unique café restaurants is "Coocoo's Den", located in the old city just behind the Badshahi Mosquemarker and Lahore Fortmarker at the edge of Lahore's red light district. The restaurant is housed in a 300-year-old Kothi-stylemarker dwelling of a famous artist and was once a brothel. At different times in the life of this property, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim families have owned it. Another famous Lahore landmark is the Pak Tea House in Anarkali, long a favoured haunt of intellectuals and artists.

The Singh Building on Mall Road, built during British rule houses many shops and markets


For traditional shopping, the Anarkalimarker and Ichhra bazaars are the most popular of many in the city. The alleys and lanes of these bazaars are full of traditional wares like leather articles, embroidered garments, glass bangles, beaten gold and silver jewelry, and creations in silk. Anarkali is named after the famous courtesan of Akbar’s time, Anarkali (Pomegranate Blossom). The grave of Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak, who died falling off his horse while playing polo, is located in Anarkali on Aibak Road. Mahmud Ghaznavi's general, Malik Ayaz, lies buried in the commercial area of Rang Mahal. . Rang Mahal is part of old Lahore and today's houses a largest wholesale and retail cloth markets in Punjab. Lahore's technology markets include the Hall Road Pakistan's largest Electronics market adjacent to the Mall Road and the Hafeez Centre Asia's largest Computer Market located on the Gulberg Main Boulevard. Pace, a shopping centre, is also located on the Main Boulevard beside the Hafeez Centre. Other well-known and popular shopping areas are the Liberty Market in Gulberg and at the Fortress Stadiummarker, as well as malls in Gulberg, Model Town, MM Alam Road, and Cantonment. Apart from these, shopping areas are being developed in many of Lahore's new suburbs such as Bahria, Lake City, and Cantonment.

Lahore offers a variety of activities for night-time enjoyment. There are popular shisha bars (these places offer flavoured tobacco pipes commonly found in middle eastern nations), attractive food outlets and musical concerts and shows. Alcohol is available to foreigners who request it at certain hotels, but generally not sold in public.

Lahoris are known for their exquisite taste in food, so the market has produced some of the most versatile, classy and inviting restaurants in the world. The blend of food and music at some uniquely expressive locales is truly exceptional. There are many shopping areas which remain open late into the night offering an atmosphere of lively hustle and bustle (not to mention a bargain at every corner).

There are scenic parks built with a goal to promote relaxation and enjoyment of nature which are frequently visited by joggers, couples, children, students and seniors. Bagh-e-Jinah (also known as Laurence Garden) is one such place; it has a large variety of gorgeous plants, trees, long and varied pathways and creative light effects.

Younger crowd is generally more attracted to shops and restaurants near Qaddafi stadium, Fortress stadium and Gulberg. Most of the food chains are also here.

Parks and gardens



Lahore is known as the City of Gardens. There were many gardens in Lahore during the Mughal era, and although some have since been destroyed, many have still survived. The Shalimar Gardens were laid out during the reign of Shah Jahan and were designed to mimic the Islamic paradise of the afterlife described in the Quran. The gardens follow the familiar charbagh model (four squares) with three descending terraces. The Lawrence Gardensmarker were established in 1862 and were originally named after Sir John Lawrence, late 19th century British Viceroy to India. The gardens were organized in an area covering . The many other gardens and parks in the city include Hazuri Bagh, Iqbal Parkmarker, Mochi Bagh, Gulshan Iqbal Park, Model Town Park, Race Course Park, Nasir Bagh Lahore, Jallo Park, Wild Life Park, and Changa Mangamarker, an artificial forest near Lahore in the Kasurmarker district. One examples includes the Bagh-e-Jinnahmarker which is a botanical garden situated on 141 acres (0.57 km2) and it houses entertainment and sports facilities as well as a library.The Lahore Zoomarker is the second oldest zoo in the South Asia after Calcuttamarker and has been a source of amusement and recreation for families for more than a 100 years. In December 2004, Pakistanmarker and Chinamarker signed a $110 million contract for the construction of a housing project on Multan Road in Lahore. The Sukh Chayn Gardens was a result of this, which is one of the beautiful housing society of Lahore full of lush green parks and gardens.Lahore also has a Safari park spreading over more than 200 acres.The park has safaris for different animals,The safaris having tigers, lions, rhinos, elephants, bear, apes, African and Indus plane animals would cover an area of 80 acres.A bird aviary covering 80,000 square. It has a net-fence at the top to keep birds in the aviary. It is Pakistan’s largest walkthrough aviary. The aviary has all kinds of birds like pheasants, waterfowls and peacocks. Birds are kept in their natural habitat instead of being caged.There are about more than thosand species of animals in the park.Lahore,s biggest lake also resides here for boating and fishing.

Education

Government Collage of Lahore
Punjab University Old Campus also known as Allama Iqbal Campus
Quaid-e-Azam Library


Lahore is known as the education capital of Pakistan, with more colleges and universities than any other city in the country. A true Science & Technology hub of Pakistan. The present Government of Punjab has allocated huge amount in 2009–2010 Budget for the establishment of knowledge city near Lahore, Government has also plan to transform Lahore into a High-tech City of Pakistan as well as an important hub of High-tech in the world. Lahore is Pakistan’s largest producer of quality professionals in the field of Science & Technology as well as in High Tech such as IT, Engineering, Medical, Nuclear Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Telecommunication, Bio- Technology and Microelectronics etc. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities. The current literacy rate of Lahore is 64%.

Lahore hosts the four oldest degree awarding institutes (Government College Lahore, estd. 1864 and Forman Christian College, estd. 1864 & universities (University of the Punjab, estd. 1882,(Kinnaird College Lahore, estd. 1913 and University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, estd. 1921. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is the most renowned Business and Computer Science school in Pakistan. National University Of Computer and Emerging Sciences previously known as [Foundation of Advancement of Science and Technology] FAST-ICS has been in Lahore for a long time and producing quality graduates in Computer Science. Recently, they also introduced programs in Management, Telecommunication and Computer Engineering. The University of the Punjab is the oldest institute of higher learning in the country. It was established in 1882. The National College of Arts, is the oldest and most renowned arts college of Pakistan. The oldest institution of Pakistan, Government College Lahore (now Government College University), established in 1864, is also situated in Lahore. Forman Christian College (a chartered university) Lahore is also one of the oldest educational institute of Pakistan. It was established in 1864. The college has launched one of the best 4-year BS program and MBA. A regional campus of National University Of Modern Languages (NUML)is also situated in Lahore.

University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET Lahore), the oldest technical degree awarding institute and the very first university in the area of engineering and technology in Pakistan is situated in Lahore. Established as Mughalpura Technical College in 1921, it was upgraded to University in 1962 when it became Pakistan's first university focusing engineering and technology. UET Lahore is Pakistan's largest public sector engineering university which offers bachelors degrees in 29 specialties and MSc degrees in 55 specialties. Lahore School of Economics is another famous business school in the city. University of Management and Technology and the University of Lahore are also located in lahore which are one of the best business universities in Pakistan. FAST-NU is another big institution providing the world with great minds particularly in Software Engineering. PUCIT [Punjab University College of Information Technology] is a highly reputed IT institute in Pakistan and produces quality Computer Science and IT professionals. NUST National University of Sciences and Technology is one of the best institutions in Engineering along with GIKI. Cathedral School Lahore is one of the oldest and most famous schools in Lahore it is present there since 1850's and has a great ranked faculity and administration staff.

Lahore also boasts three finest and most renowned high schools in Asia, Aitchison College,St. Anthony's High School and Lahore Grammar School, which feed students to all the leading universities across the globe. Aitchison College and St. Anthony's High School are also responsible for producing renowned political leaders and sportsmen for Pakistan. The University of Lahore is a new private sector university in Lahore. It is emerging very quickly as a university with strength in the areas of Engineering Sciences & Technology, Business & Administrative Sciences and Biotechnology.

Lollywood



Lahore is the core of Pakistan's media and Arts scene. Pakistan's most prestigious Art college, National College of Arts, is located here. Every year, it hosts the 'World performing Arts festival' in which artists from dozens of countries show off their talents'. This festival is managed by the Peerzada group, which is also the largest puppetry theater company in the Pakistan. Lahore is also home to the country's developing fashion industry supported by numerous designer outlets and the country's most prestigious Fashion school, the Pakistan school of Fashion and Design which has some of the best photo studios and photographers in the country.

Lahore has also been home to Pakistan's old classical music, ghazals and Qawalis, with big names such as Noor jehan, arif lohar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi hassan, Ghulam Ali etc all residing in the city. In recent years Lahore has given out Pakistan's largest pop singer such as Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar, while the city is recognized as the birthplace of modern rock scene in south Asia by bands such as Jal, Call the band, Roxenmarker, Noori and Entityparadigm, which were hugely popular and lead many in the Indian film industry to import their songs.

Pakistan's film industry is also based in the city and is called Lollywood. Many films are filmed in Lahore and the city has some of the oldest film studios in the country. Many actors and directors are based in Lahore which brings many artists together to launch films. Cinema is on the incline again in recent years and IMAX is also building outlets in the city. Several FM radio stations have set up their operations here and some TV channels also work from this city. Lahore is also home to Geo TV's Infotainment Division and the headquarters of Pakistan's first Kids television channel Wikid and the first community Channel of Pakistan for [DHA].

Sports



Gaddafi Stadiummarker is a Test cricket ground in Lahore. Designed by Pakistani architect Nayyar Ali Dada, it was completed in 1959 and is one of the biggest cricket stadiums in Asia. After its renovation for the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the stadium now boasts a capacity of over 60,000. Nearby is an athletics stadium, a basketball pitch, the Al Hamra, open-air hall similar in design to the coliseum, and the world's largest field hockey stadium, Another Cricket Ground and Headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board, all based in the city's Sports complex. In the same vicinity lie headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation, as well as the multi-sport Punjab Stadiummarker.



Lahore is home to Pakistan Premier League giants WAPDA FC, alongside Pakistan Railways FC, PEL FC, and Wohaib FC.The other game of the punjab well known as KABBADI in Asia is famous in Lahore.Many citizens play kabbadi after their work.The Lahore Marathon is part of an annual package of six international marathons being sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Lahore race carries prize money of approximately US$100,000. More than 20,000 athletes from Pakistan and all over the world participate in this event. It was first held on January 30, 2005, and again on January 29, 2006. More than 22,000 people participated in the 2006 race. The third marathon was held on January 14, 2007.

Plans exist to build Pakistan's first sports city in Lahore, on the bank of the river Ravi.

Famous People

Gallery

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Lahore is twinned with:




See also



References

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External links




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