Before Babur won the battle of Panipat in 1526 he had invaded Lahore at least four times on one pretext or another. The battle of Panipat was his fifth attempt to defeat an Indian ruler and it was after this victory that he decided to stay for good in India, thus laying the foundations of Mughal rule in India. Before this battle, a historians puts it, “the followers of Babur contemplated with dismay the prospect of a prolonged stay in the inhospitable regions of India.

The first town of importance that benefited by the establishment of the Mughal empire in the Punjab was naturally Lahore. Indeed, the early period of the Mughals can doubtless by regarded as the golden age of the history of Lahore. Once again it became the seat of a royal residence. The Mughals proved to be the most enlightened patrons of literature and fine arts and Lahore became a seat of learning under them. From the imperial courts of Bukhara and Samarqand learned men, poets, authors, orators, and men versed in science and technology gathered at Lahore. Fine gardens were laid out, canals were dug, spacious mosques were built, caravansarais were constructed and palaces, domes and minarets were erected.

Naseer al-Din Humayun, son of Babur, three days after the death of Babur, ascended the throne in the city of Agra on December 29th 1530 A.D. His brother at that time held Kabul and Qandahar. In order to seize power he rushed to Lahore and after political manoeuvering entered the city with a strong force and took possession of the whole of the Punjab. Humayun was person of mild disposition; he confirmed the rule of his brother in the Punjab beside Kabul and Qandahar. Kamran laid a beautiful garden and constructed a baradari (summer house) on the right bank of the river Ravi outside Lahore. The garden has disappeared but the rebuilt baradari survives partially in mid stream.

Lahore was a place of great importance in Akbar’s time. Abu’l-Fadl speaking of Lahore writes, “Lahore is a large city. In size and population it is among the first. During the present reign the fortifications and citadel have been strengthened with brick masonry and many splendid buildings have been erected.” Akbar founded a royal mint, as well as a carpet manufactory. Skilful gardeners from Persia were invited to lay out gardens at Lahore.

Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar constructed two buildings outside Lahore for feeding poor Hindus and Muslims. One of them was called Dharampura and the other Khairpura. As a large number of jogis (saints) also flocked to these houses a third house was built and was called Jogipura.

Akbar built the Lahore fort anew; a number of buildings were added within it and the whole complex was provided with a high bastioned wall. The architecture of Akbar which survives in this fort is very similar to the architecture of Agra fort. No reference to this fort would be complete without attention being drawn to the remarkable display of tile decoration which is so overwhelmingly displayed over the wall facing west. It extends from the present main entrance to the extreme north. The tile decoration and mosaic work cover and approximate area of 432x 15.30m. Masti Gate, which was during his time the main gate of the fort was also built by Akbar. His wife, the Queen of India built a mosque opposite this for her son Jahangir. This mosque still survives. It is called Begum Shahi Mosque. It is decorated with beautiful frescos.

Nur al-Din Muhammad Jahangir, son of Akbar, was fond of Lahore and on his way to Kabul and Kashmir held his court at Lahore. Under Jahangir Kalij Khan was the first governor of Lahore. In the fifth year of his reign he was replaced by Murtada Khan. Murtada Khan built a muhallah (colony) at Lahore bearing his name, as well as a large bath and a chauk (square). The garden of Dilawiz across the river Ravi and the garden of Mirza Kamran were in high favour with the king who passed many festive days there in company of his harem and umara’.

During his rule a new block was built in the palace of Lahore (Lahore Fort). This construction was carried out under the supervision of Ma’mur Khan. Jahangir writes in his memoirs that these buildings were finished handsomely by the exertions of Ma’mur Khan, “without exaggeration, charming residences and soul exciting sitting places had been erected in great beauty and delicacy”. Yamin al-Daulah (Asif khan) was the ablest of the governors of Lahore appointed by Jahangir. He added Pearl Mosque in the Fort. The Great mural wall is also ascribed to him and also a part of the Musamman Burj. One time his beloved Anarkali also died at Lahore. Jahangir also built her tomb. The building stands inside the Civil Secretariat today. World renowned Chain of Justice or Adl-i Jahangir was also associated with Lahore Fort.

Shahjahan was born in Lahore Fort, Lahore in 1000/1592. He received the title of Shahjahan (King of the World) from his father in 1616 when he was nominated successor. Shahjahan was particularly attached to Lahore because it was his birthplace. The Padshahnama by Abd al-Hamid Lahauri gives a very detailed account of the Emperor’s court at Lahore. He also refers to Wazir Khan as the viceroy of the Panjab who built the famous Wazir Khan mosque at Lahore and a Hammam inside Delhi Gate. As the building of the Daulat Khana (“fort” or “royal residence”) had been neglected for a long time, the Emperor ordered the reconstruction of various parts of it, such as the ghusal khana (bath room) and Khwabgah (sleeping chambers). The restoration work was planned and carried out under the supervision of skilful engineers. The Shahburj (the royal tower) had been built by Jahangir; this failed to impress Shahjahan and he ordered its demolition. A new tower was raised in its placed under the supervision of Yamin al-Daulah Asif Khan who had already displayed much tact and judgment in the embellishment of imperial buildings. After the completion of the block the emperor stayed in it for three days. Shahburj is famous for the Shish Mahal and the Naulakha pavilion. Both these buildings have exquisite examples of finest pietra-dura work.

At Hiran Minar (Shaikhupura), too, the Emperor did not think the buildings constructed by Jahangir sufficiently impressive. A new building was therefore ordered. Following the pattern set by the emperor many of the high officials decorated the city with beautiful edifices. Muhammad Salih Lahauri in his excellent work Amal-i Salih mentions among others the names of Wazir Khan and Allami Afdal Khan who each constructed spacious edifices at Lahore.

In 1631 Ali Mardan Khan was made viceroy of Lahore. He was famous as a great canal engineer. He planned and dug a canal from the river Ravi to the famous Shalimar garden, and this supplied water to the garden for all its needs. The Shalimar Garden was laid in 1634. Fruit trees for this garden were brought from Kabul and Qandahar.

In the same year (1634) Yamin al-Daulah Asif Khan, brother of Nurjahan and father-in-law of the emperor, died. By the order of Shahjahan his remains were interred in the land west of the mausoleum of Jahangir. A grand dome was ordered to be built over the grave. In the following year (1635) Nurjahan also died. She was buried in a mausoleum which she had herself built close to the tomb of her brother Asif Khan. Shahjahan demolished many structures of red sandstone built by his predecessors and in their place built marble palaces.

Aurangzib in the year 1662 he ordered a protective embankment to be built to save Lahore form deluges. This was about 6.5km in length. Flights of steps were made at intervals for people to bathe.

The Badshahi Mosque, a far more ambitious project, was completed in the year 1637. It is a magnificent structure and the finest architectural achievement of Aurangzib. He also added the main gate of Lahore Fort: this is still called Alamgiri Darwaza after him. In fact the Badshahi Mosque of Lahore is the only monument which reaches the highest standards of Mughal architecture. It was called Lal Masjid by the British because of the red sand-stone of which it was wholly built except the bulbous marble domes.

hore. Chauburji was one of its gateways. Some historian say the garden was built by one of the daughter of Shahjahan. A small tomb in the Nawankot area is considered as the tomb of Zib al-Nisa’ but it is not correct.

Lahore was the first city in Pakistan to receive the attention of the sons of Timur and it was also the first to fall into decay. Practically no monument of imperial quality of status was added to this city after Auranzeb.