Makatib Khana, other spaces illuminated in Lahore Fort for the first time

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LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has completed the illumination of Makatib Khana, adjacent gardens, haveli Rani Jinda and Moti Masjid Façade whereas a cost of Rs1.5 million has incurred on the project which was completed in one month’s time while these monuments in Lahore fort have been illuminated for the first time, Pakistan Today has learnt.

It was further learnt the almost 300 lights have been used to illuminate all these places whereas the technicalities of placing the lights have been made as per international standards of illuminating a monument.

According to the Deputy Director Media and Marketing WCLA Tania Qureshi, these places were among the important monuments of Lahore Fort. “As you enter Lahore Fort you will come across a building on your left in the garden areas which is the Makatib Khana. The word Makatib Khana means a clerk’s room or a secretariat.  According to historical references, this was a place where clerks (muharirs) recorded entry into the fort. The place was built under the orders of the emperor Jahangir in the year A.H. 1027 (1617) under the superintendence of the architect Ma’mur Khan. Along with the Makatib Khana is the Moti Masjid which was built in 1645 by the Mughal Shah Jahan. As per historical accounts, it is stated that the Mosque might have been built along with Dolat Khana Khaas-o-Aam of Shah Jahan. It is one of those two mosques built in chaste marble by Shah Jahan.”

Telling about the Haveli of Rani Jinda she said, “Maharani Jind Kaur was the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the mother of the last Sikh maharaja, Maharaja Duleep Singh. In 1845 she became Regent of Punjab for Duleep Singh. Her Haveli is situated in the Jahangiri Quadrangle and is turned into Princess Bamba’s collection, a Sikh Museum”.

“These monuments inside the fort have been illuminated for the first time in the history of Pakistan and after Ramzan, these will be made a part of the History by Night Tours of Lahore Fort. It is interesting to see these places illuminated at night and I am sure the tourists will like them too,” Tania Qureshi added.

A tourist in Lahore Fort Qadir Malik said, “I am waiting to see these places illuminated as I have been in the history by night tour and I have felt a very different and magical aura of the fort at night. Moti Masjid has already stories associated with it of the spirits and jins and I am thinking of the fantastic experience of such a place at night.”

WCLA Director Conservation Najam Saquib said that after the Huzoori Bagh, Alamgiri Gate, Badshahi Mosque, Samadhi, Picture wall and Sheesh Mahal the team had taken up the illumination project of the Makatib Khana and allied places. “It is for the first time that we have illuminated the Lahore Fort and opened it up for the tourists at night. These buildings are important monuments in the fort and I am sure that tourists will like to visit these in the night tours. We have spent almost Rs. 1.5 million for the illumination of Makatib Khana, gardens, Moti Masjid and haveli of Maharani Jindan,” he said.

The WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said, “It is on the credit of WCLA that Lahore fort has been illuminated for the first time and above all open for the tourists as well. We are the pioneers in starting night tourism in Pakistan and I am sure we will very soon illuminate the remaining parts of the fort.”