On my first day in Lahore, I had walked around the outside walls of Badshahi Mosque, seen its typical onion-shaped domes and minarets from various angles, but moved on to explore the walled city of Lahore instead. I saw the outside several more times, but today, we are in Hazuri Bagh after a visit of Lahore Fort, and are walking towards the entrance of Badshahi Mosque which is linked to Lahore Fort by these very gardens. Actually, Alamgiri Gate, the impressive western entrance gate to Lahore Fort, was built at the same time as Badshahi Mosque by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb; Alamgir being his regnal title. Construction of the mosque started in 1671 and lasted two years. Even now, it is the second largest mosque in Pakistan. Financing the mosque weakened the Mughal Empire.
After leaving our shoes at the entrance, we step through the red sandstone gate, and enter the massive courtyard. On the far west side, Badshahi Mosque rises towards the grey clouds in the sky. The building is red sandstone, while the white domes are marble. We walk across the courtyard towards the mosque. After entering through the high gate, where we see marble decorations in the red sandstone wall, we come to the prayer hall, and walk around to marvel at the intricately decorated walls and ceilings. The mosque looks in pretty good shape, considering it has been around for more than four hundred years, and was used as a stable for horses by the Sikhs who conquered Lahore at the end of the 18th century, and as a garrison for British soldiers after the defeat of the Sikhs. Protests of muslims eventually made them re-install the place as a mosque in the mid-19th century.
We walk through a corridor on the side of the courtyard, which offers views of Iqbal Park on the north, with the modern Minar-e-Pakistan in the distance, while we can look back to the mosque from the side through the arched openings. When we are back at the other side of the square, we visit a small museum with korans on cloth, and enter the courtyard again. It is large enough to accommodate 100.000 people at the same time. Before getting our shoes, I turn around and have last look at the massive structure, with its octagonal minarets, white domes, and enormous entrance gate. Above the mosque, the clouds are getting always darker, and after weeks of perfectly blue skies, it is clear that we are in for rain. Indeed, within half an hour, we are stuck in torrential downpour, bringing much of the city to a halt. Our visit to Badshahi Mosque was just in time.
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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Badshahi Mosque (Pakistan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Badshahi Mosque. Read more about this site.