Editor’s Note: Rare black & white photos of Lahore dating back to 1860s are in the last portion of this post.
Brief History of Lahore: Lahore, known as the City of Gardens and Colleges, is the capital of Punjab and the second largest city of Pakistan. It is the cultural heart of Pakistan and hosts most of the arts, festivals, film-making, music and intelligentsia of the country.
Lahore was called by different names throughout history. 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. However, historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. Hieun-tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim, has given a vivid description of Lahore which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century AD.
From 1524 to 1752, Lahore was part of the Mughal Empire. Then it was became a province of the Afghan Empire. It was then ruled by Sikhs from 1799 to 1849. Lahore came under British rule in 1849 and remained so till 1947.
Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, and the tombs of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are tourist attractions. Lahore is also home to many British colonial architecture, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Government College, University of the Punjab.
This page displays the old and rare pics of Lahore. Some very old photos of Lahore and British Raj era buildings and colonial architecture on The Mall Road Lahore also appear here.
Main Market, Gulberg, Lahore in Hailstorm
Liberty Market, Lahore
Liberty Chowk (Roundabout), Lahore
Aerial View of Liberty Chowk, Lahore
Lahore in 1946. Historic footage of Lahore city. See here Rare Videos of Pakistan
Video of Lahore City-1978. See different places of Lahore with Punjabi song ‘Lahore Di Sair’ sung by Tarannum Naz & Sain Tufail as the background music.
Virtual Tour of Lahore Museum. See Lahore Museum here: Virtual Tour of Lahore Museum
Gates of Lahore. Walled City of Lahore had 13 gates (Akbari Gate, Bhati Gate, Delhi Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Lohari Gate, Masti Gate, Mochi Gate, Mori Gate, Roshnai Gate, Shahalmi Gate, Shairanwala Gate, Taxali Gate, and Yakki Gate). Today, out of 13, only Bhati Gate, Delhi Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Lohari Gate, Roshnai Gate, and Shairanwala Gate survive, yet many are in urgent need of repairs and restoration.
Gates of Lahore; Bhati Gate. The entrance to the “Bhati Gate” is located on the western wall of the old city. Just outside of “Bhati Gate” is the Data Durbar, the mausoleum of the Sufi saint Ali Hajweri (also known as Data Sahib Ganjbaksh).
Gates of Lahore; Photo of Dehli Gate. The “Dehli Gate” was once the main and only road that led from Lahore to Dehli. The gate was built during the Mughal era. Although the gate suffered greatly in the 1947 riots, it has since been renovated and today is in its former glory.
Gates of Lahore; Kashmiri Gate. The “Kashmiri Gate” is so named because it faces the direction of Kashmir. Inside the gate, there is a shopping area called “Kashmiri Bazaar”.
Gates of Lahore; Lohari Gate, Lahore. The “Lohari Gate” is very close to “Bhati Gate.” In Urdu, loha means “iron,” and the gate is named Lohari because many lohars (blacksmiths) workshops were based just outside this gate.
Gates of Lahore; Roshnai Gate. The “Roshnai Gate,” (the “Gate of Lights”), is located between the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque. In the evenings, the gate was lit up, hence its name. It is the only gate that is in good condition and still retains its original looks.
Gates of Lahore; Shairanwala Gate. The “Shairanwala Gate, (the “Gate of the Lions”) was made by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After its completion, Singh placed two live lions (or Shers) in cages at the gate as a symbolic gesture to warn any invader.
Akbari Gate, Lahore – 1962. The “Akbari Gate”, the most beautiful gate of Lahore, was named after the great Mughal emperor Akbar, who rebuilt the town and citadel. Close to this gate the Emperor also founded a market, which is named after him, “Akbari Mandi.” (Akbari Market). Akbari Gate was demolished for repairs but never built again.
Gates of Lahore: Masti Gate Lahore in 1950s. Photo by Rao Javed Iqbal (Loh Kot Society).
Badshahi Masjid at Night
Aerial View of Badshahi Mosque & Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore
Badshahi Masjid, Lahore
Badshahi Mosque, Lahore
Minar-e-Pakistan at Iqbal Park. Minar-e-Pakistan is a tall monumental minaret (Height: 92 metres) in Iqbal Park Lahore, built in commemoration of the Lahore Resolution. The minaret reflects a blend of Mughal and modern architecture, and is constructed on the site where on March 23, 1940, the Muslim League passed the Pakistan Resolution (Qarardad-e-Pakistan), demanding the creation of Pakistan.
The tower was designed and supervised free of cost by Nasreddin Murat Khan,an architect/engineer hailing from Daghestan. Structural design was given by a civil engineer Abdur Rahman Khan Niazi from Lahore, who was working with Murat Khan. The foundation stone was laid on March 23, 1960 and was completed on 31 October 1968.
Kalma Chowk Flyover, Lahore. Kalma Chowk flyover at Ferozepur Road, Lahore.
View of Nawaz Sharif Park and Children Hospital, Ferozepur Road, Lahore. Photo taken from Afra Software Technology Park.
Lahore’s Canal in Summer
Sozo Water Park
New Food Street, Lahore. Photo by Sarosh Farooque,27 February 2012.
Allama Iqbal Airport, Lahore
Shalimar Garden, Lahore
Another view of Shalamar Garden, Lahore
Zamzama Gun, The Mall Road, Lahore
Zamzama Gun, 1946. (Photo Courtesy Life Magazine). The Zamzama Gun is a large bore cannon. It is also known as Kim’s Gun or Bhangianwali Taop. It was cast in 1757 in Lahore. At that time Lahore was a part of the Durrani Empire. The gun was used by Ahmed Shah in the battle of Panipat in 1761. In 1802, Ranjit Singh got hold of the gun and used it in the battles of Daska, Kasur, Sujanpur, Wazirabad and Multan. In the siege of Multan, the gun was badly damaged. It is currently on display in front of the Lahore Museum at The Mall Road, Lahore.
Government College Lahore (Now Government College University). Government College Lahore was opened on 1 January 1864 in a portion of the Palace of Raja Dhyan Singh Haveli. The institution was affiliated with the University of Calcutta for examination. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner (professor of Arabic and Islamic Law at King’s College in London) was nominated as principal of college. He later was instrumental in the foundation of Punjab University, Lahore in 1882. In April 1871, the college moved to its present site. In 1996, it received autonomous status; on 9 September 2002, it became a university.
Rare Photo of Government College Lahore-1880s
Fantastic Aerial View of Government College Lahore
Forman Christian College (FC College). Forman Christian College was founded in 1864 by Dr Charles W Forman, a Presbyterian missionary from the USA. Initially known as the Lahore Mission College, the name was changed to Forman Christian College in 1894 in honor of the founder.
King Edward Medical University. King Edward Medical University was established in 1860 as the Lahore Medical School. It is the second oldest medical school in South Asia, after Medical College Kolkata (1835). On December 21, 1911, it was renamed as King Edward Medical College, and elevated to the status of an independent, degree-granting university on May 12, 2005, when it became King Edward Medical University. Mayo Hospital is attached as teaching hospital with this University.
Old Campus Punjab University, Lahore
Islamia College, Railway Road, Lahore. Islamia College, Railway Road, was established in 1892 by Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam.
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is a world class academic institution. The idea of establishing the university took root in the mind of Syed Babar Ali, Pro Chancellor, LUMS. With the support of ten of the leading public and private sector corporations of Pakistan, the National Management Foundation (NMF), the sponsoring body of the University, was incorporated on November 7, 1984. The NMF was granted a charter by the Government of Pakistan for establishing the University on March 8, 1985. The LUMS Business School, now known as the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) admitted the first batch of MBA students in 1986 who graduated in 1988. Later, BSc Honours, MSc and PhD programmes were also added. Photo by Prextexman.
Bradlaugh Hall, Rattigan Road, Lahore. Bradlaugh Hall is situated on the Rettigan Road, near the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. Charles Bradlaugh, an English Parliamentarian, advocate of Indian freedom from the British yoke, was a famous atheist who refused to take the oath on Bible when elected in the Parliament. He came to India and got some Railway contracts. He bought a piece of land at Rattigan Road. Because of his sympathy with the native Indians, he was forced to leave India. The Hall was built after his departure and inaugurated in 1900.
Lala Lajpat Rai (who established Gulab Devi Hospital), as part of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, founded the National College inside this Hall to impart quality education to Indians, who did not want to join British institutions. In 1928 when the Nationalists boycotted the Simon Commission there were speeches organized here hosted by Lala Lajpat Rai, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, and Syed Atta ullah Shah Bukhari. Bhagat Singh also studied in this college from 1922-26 and his political bearings were marked by his stay here. Inder Kumar Gujral a freedom fighter and former Prime Minister of India started his political journey from here by forming their first Student Union. They heard the revolutionary speeches of Jawaharlal Nehru and poetry of Josh Miliabadi here for the first time. They also heard here Haran Mukherjee, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Mian Ifthikharuddin and Dr. Saifuddin Kachlo.
After 1947 this Hall was used to store food stuff for a short duration, then till 1980s, it served as a steel mill. It reopened as a technical education centre, the Milli Technical Education Institute. Later it was rented out to private academies. Finally the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) took possession of the Hall and since 2009 it has been closed.
Photo by Jahane Rumi.
Gulab Devi Chest Hospital, Ferozpur Road, Lahore. Lala Lajpat Rai was a well known figure in the political and social circles of pre- Independence India. His mother, Gulab Devi, died of TB in Lahore. In her mother’s memory, he established a Trust in 1927 to build and run a TB Hospital. Construction work was started in 1931 and the Hospital was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on 17 July in 1934. It was initially for female patients but later treatment of male TB patients was also allowed.
Marble Plaque at Gulab Devi Chest Hospital, Lahore
Lahore During Rain. Photo by Umar Hassan Cheema, 23 Apr 2012.
Aerial View of Cathedral Church and School, The Mall, Lahore. Photo by Jawad Zakariya.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Lahore
The Mall Road, Lahore–1970
Old Photo of Regal Square (Chowk), Lahore. Pre-partition photo of Regal Chowk, Lahore.
Mall Road, Lahore
Another Old Photo of The Mall, Lahore
Masjid-e-Shuhda, Regal Chowk, The Mall, Lahore
Governor House, Lahore
Nedous Hotel, The Mall, Lahore. This magnificent hotel was built at the turn of the last century by Harry Nedous, an Austro-Swiss hotelier. Now Avari Hotel, next to WAPDA House is built on this site.
GPO (General Post Office), The Mall, Lahore
Yaadgar-e-Shuhada, Garrison Golf Club, Lahore Cantt
Mian Mir Cantonment (Lahore Cantonment). When the British occupied Lahore in 1846, the British and ‘Native’ troops encamped outside of the walled city in the area known as Anarkali. It was an unhealthy area and there was a high rate of deaths from gastro intestinal diseases in the six years that the troops stayed here. Finally a decision was taken to construct a new cantonment away from the city. There are a few stories related to how Sir Charles Napier, the Army’s Commander In Chief selected the site for a new cantonment one of them being that he fell off his horse near the shrine of the Mian Mir and selected the site.
‘Oasis & Aqua Resort’. An artificial beach 42 km from Lahore on Multan Road.
A Gate Between India and Pakistan, Wagah Border, Lahore
Baab-e Azaadi, Wagah Border, Lahore
Railway Mess, Mayo Gardens, Lahore. Photo by Hassan Nazir Malhi.
Birthplace (Janam Asthan) of Sikh Guru Ram Das Ji. Located in interior Delhi Gate, Lahore.
Rare Photo of Lahore Railway Station in 1947
GPO Chowk, The Mall, Lahore, 1940s
Steam Engine at Lahore Railway Station in 1930s
Horse Mounted Troops Marching Out through the Gate of Lahore Governor House, 1936
The Troops are Ready to March on New Year’s Day Parade at Lahore,1936
The Royal Scots on New Year Day Parade at Lahore,1936
6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers on New Year Day Parade at Lahore,1936
4th and 14th Punjabis Marching on New Year’s Day Parade at Lahore,1936
Guns of 5th Battalion Field Brigade on New Year’s Day Parade at Lahore, 1936
Light Tanks on New Year’s Day Parade at Lahore, 1936
Air Show on New Year’s Day Parade at Lahore,1936
Governor’s Cup at the Race Course at Lahore, January 1936
Southern Gate of Lahore Fort, 1936. Now this car parking near Southern Gate of Lahore Fort has been converted into a Park. In the background, one can see the “Heera Mandi”, the famous red light area of Lahore.
Rare Aerial View of Lahore in 1933. GPO and State Bank of India can be seen in the foreground. King Edward Medical College is visible at the top.
An Old Aerial Photo of Lahore,1930
Smith & Campbell’s Pharmacy and Ghuam Rassol Building, Lahore- Photo taken in 1922. Smith & Campbell’s Pharmacy premises are seen at the left-hand corner of the building. ‘Ghulam Rasool Building’ is on the right. Ghulam Rasool Building was completed in 1916. Famous Ferozsons Book Store is located in this building. It is adjacent to Al-Falah Building near Charing Cross on The Mall.
Hazoori Bagh Pavillion and Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort, 1920s
A Rare Photo of Lahore Canal, 1915
The Chief’s College, Lahore, 1910
Approaching Lahore from the West, 1908
Ranjit Singh Tomb and Roshnai Gate of Lahore Fort, 1900s
Lawrence Hall and Montgomery Hall, Lahore
Montgomery Hall (Now Quaid-e-Azam Library), The Mall, Lahore, 1890s
A Rare Photo of Anarkali Bazar, Lahore
Lahori Gate, Lahore. Photo taken in 1900
The Anglican Cathedral Church, The Mall, Lahore , Late 19th Century. The Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection is an Anglican cathedral in the heart of Lahore, across the Lahore High Court on The Mall Road. It was built in 1887, however, the two towers were added in 1898.
Rare Photo of Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, 1880s
Masjid Sardar Jahan, Lahore, 1880s
Dining Room of Government House, Lahore, 1870s. Government House is now Governor House.
An Old Bungalow in Lahore, 1870. In the background of the photograph one can see the cupolas of the Punjab Public Library.
Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s Tomb at Shahdara, Lahore (Photo; 1870s)
Lahore Rare Pictures: A Platform of Lahore Railway Station in 1886
Rare Photo of Lahore Railway Station, 1886
Lahore Railway Station, 1880
Chauburji Gateway (the Gateway of Four Minarets)- Photo; 1880s. Chauburji (Four Minarets) Gateway was once the entrance of an old garden. Photo taken by an unknown photographer. This photo is from Bellow Collection of Architectural Views.
Lahore High Court, The Mall, Photo taken during 1880s
Tomb of Anarkali, 1870s. Anarkali (pomegranate blossom) was a legendary slave girl from Lahore. She was supposedly ordered to be buried alive between two walls by Mughal emperor Akbar for having an illicit relationship with the Crown-Prince Salim, later to become Emperor Jahangir. Due to the lack of evidence and sources, the story of Anarkali is widely accepted to be either false or heavily embellished. This story was originally written by Indian writer Abdul Halim Sharar and on the first page of that book he had clearly mentioned it to be a work of fiction. Nevertheless, her story is cherished by many and has been adapted into literature, art and cinema.
Dai Angah’s Tomb, Lahore – 1884. Photo by H H Cole. Dai Angah was wife of a magistrate in Bikaner in Rajisthan. She was wet nurse to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Her tomb was constructed in 671.
Recent Photo of Dai Angah’s Tomb, Lahore
Samadhi (Tomb) of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lahore – Photo; 1880s
Punjab Public Library, Photo; 1870s. Actually it was a Baradari built by the renowned Subedar of Lahore alias Wazeer Khan. It had all around a huge garden. In Sikha Shahi, it was allotted to the son of Ranjeet Sigh viz Kharak Singh. Then it was converted into Taar Ghar and lastly housed the Punjab Public Library.
Rare Photo of Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, 1870
Rare Photo of Lahore Fort, 1860s
A Rare Photo of Tomb of Ranjit Singh, Lahore – 1863. A high minaret of Badshahi Mosque is also visible on the left side.
A View near Lahore, Photo Taken Between 1860s to 1880s
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