DARWAZAS (GATES ) OF LAHORE
GATES OF LAHORE
GATES OF THE LAHORE CITY
The word ‘Darwaza’ is used for door or gate in Urdu and Punjabi languages. Mughals brought concept of walled gardens to sub-continent indo-pak. The big cities also became walled. This was much better way of protection against invaders and aliens then the ditches and fences. The solid walls were providing more resistance against attacks so they were adopted everywhere. Some cities constructed mud walls and some built stone or brick walls. A gate or more gates were necessity. The Lahore city was having twelve regular gates. All these gates of the Lahore city became so impotent in accounts of history that no topic is complete without their description. Some very historical valued buildings are situated, inside and outside areas of these Darwaza’s or Gates. Introductory details of the gates of The Lahore city follow.
The Delhi gate is situated on eastern side of the Lahore city. It was built in mughal era. Akbar the great ordered its construction. The direction of this gate is towards Delhi, so this gate is named, Delhi gate. This gate was badly damaged during last days of mughal rule due to fights. In Sikh period this gate was built again. This time it was built in dual gates formation. But in very short duration it was again damaged due to fights among Sikhs for succession. When British came in power and the process of development started. This gate was built with new design. The construction was outsourced to ‘Main Sultan’ the Tehkaydar (government contractor). It was constructed double story, wide and modern. The offices of municipal officers and police were on second story. This last construction of British era stands till day. The influence of local architecture is prominent with mixture of western design. The famous Shahi Hamam is inside Delhi gate.
The Akbari gate is situated towards south west of Delhi gate and it is facing Rehman Galian (Ram galian) area. Akbar the great ordered to build this gate for access of traffic to grain market. This grain market was constructed on special orders of the Emperor. He wants this market successful for betterment of people. The British reconstructed this gate again according to need of time.
Till these days the grain market stands with its full strength but the gate is vanished. This market has full range of every kind of grains from the day of its start. Its trading is extended to other countries of the region.
Mochi Gate (Moti Gate)
Further moving towards west from Akbari gate, comes this gate. This gate has multi dimensional importance in history. The interesting thing is about the name. In common daily language, Mochi darwaza is pronounced. Historians has written two names, Morchi and Moti gate.
Mochi means cobbler (shoe maker or mender) and this is name commonly used. Never in history were any cobblers related to this gate. Only it can be said that the soft dialect of Lahoris turned Moti or Morchi into Mochi.
Morchi comes from Morcha. Word Morcha means a fighting place, a ditch or protection in battle field. From where arrows or bullets could be fired to opponents. Few streets inside this gate has names like, Kucha Teer Andazaan (Archers Lane), Gali Neaza Bazaan (Spear Throwers),
Moti is the third word used for this gate. Moti means pearl and in sub-continent few person are named Moti. Mostly lovely kids are called Moti as nick name.
In period of Akbar the great a military person named ‘Jamadar Moti Ram’ was appointed caretaker of this gate. All of his life, till death, he lived here and managed the affairs.
Beside all this, Mochi gate has impotence in political history. Pre and post independence period was dominated by rallies, processions and meetings of political workers of different political parties and groups. Mostly all these activities starts or ends at Mochi gate.
Many historical ‘HAVELI’S’ (Residences of Elite) are situated inside this gate. For example, ‘The Lal (Red) Haveli, Mubarik and Nisar havelis, Haveli Patheraan Wali.
The Mubarik and Nisar Havelis are owned by famous Qazilbash family of Nawabs (Lords).
Inside area of this gate is Hub for the religious activities and celebrations of Shia Muslims.
The Mochi gate is famous for traditional sweets, Kite flying material and fireworks.
Shah Alam was a mughal Emperor. He was son of famous mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. When Shahalam visited Lahore, one of his advisors told him that he should construct some land mark building like his forefathers. So Emperor Shahalam ordered his building department to construct a majestic gate between Mochi and Lohari gates. The Shahalam Gate was youngest and modern then other gates. Mostly it was used by elite class and special troops to move in and out. Outside this gate were very beautiful gardens owned by prominent elites. Inside this gate was trading houses and storages of leading businessmen. Beside burned down to ashes twice in last one hundred and fifty years. The legend to be a business area lives till now and major business markets are situated inside Shahalam gate area. This gate stood strong during last mughal and Sikh period but fire made it weak. After the riots of mid fifty, the burned areas inside Shahalam gate were cleared and new buildings were constructed for business point of view.
Originally the name this gate is ‘Lahori Darwaza’. The motion of time and dialect of
Inhabitants changed the Lahori to Lohari. Due to betrayal of local government, Mahmood of Ghazna burned the city, as punishment. Whole city was turned into ashes. Majority of citizens migrated to other places for safety. Remaining were the victims of war. For many years no human was present at this place and no building was standing. After many years Malik Ayez, a chief from court of Ghazna, came as governor of this place. Malik Ayez started the construction of city upon old grounds. First gate he constructed was called Lahori gate at that time. Malik Ayez constructed administration offices, grain and other markets inside this gate. The Lahori gate also converted as Morchi or Moti gate became Mochi. This was due to soft speaking dialect of inhabitants of the Lahore city.
This gate is named after a tribe, called ‘BHATT’. Some people says that when Lahore was reconstructed under the patronage of Malik Ayez. He invited different tribes to came and inhabit the Lahore city. Many tribes came and settle down. One tribe called, ‘bhatt’, came and settles down on a condition. That were they are settling this area and the gate of grand wall will be named after them. They will collect entrance fee of goods entering from this gate. This was busy gate on southern side of walled city and road to Multan starts from here. So this gate was called Bhatti gate. Now days no bhatt lives here. Who were bhatts? Some says that they came from Rajistan and some says that they were from Kashmir. Few famous Masjids and Havelis are inside Bhatti gate. Outside Bhatti gate are shrine of Hezrat Data Gunj Buksh and Imam Bargah of Karbala Gamey Shah. Legendary Bazaar Hakimah and Fakirkhana museum are also in this area. Since centuries this area is birth place of leading personalities from every walk of life.
On the western side of city, there is only one gate. This gate called Texhalli Darwaza (gate). The mint was inside in this gate. In local language mint is called texhall. Coins of Mughal period were minted in this mint. Avery beautiful Masjid was built on the northern side of mint. Now mint is vanished but Masjid is still there. Inside this gate are bazaar shiekupuriyan and shahi mohallah. Outside is Lahore’s first Christian graveyard known as ‘Gorah Qaberastan’. Outside this gate is Mohni road which is home of world famous Phelwan (wrestler) family. Two major hospitals are in this area.
This gate was originally a gate of royal fort. On the south side of Hazuri Bagh. In those days Hazuri bagh was part of fort. The name Roshnai gate was due to lighting, which was done every night by the order of Emperor. In fact this gate was a link between walled city and fort. It was double gate. Now day’s only one side is available and this side is facing city. Roshnai gate is still better condition.
This gate is on the northern side of walled city. Masti gate was renovated by the orders of Emperor Akbar the great. After renovation emperor appointed on of special servants, named Masti Khan Baloch. He was brave and loyal to his master. He served many years as caretaker and defender of this gate. When he was an elderly person at that time Emperor rewarded him. Masti Baloch appointed as caretaker of this gate for life time and gate was named after his name, the ‘Masti Gate’. In British period this gate was dismantled due its bad condition and a small gate was installed at this place.
Kashmiri gate is also like Bhatti Gate because inside area of this gate was inhibited by Kashmiri tribes. Secondly like Delhi gate which faces Delhi city. The Kashmiri gate faces towards, Kashmir. This gate was less damaged in wars but due to effect of ageing, its condition was worst at the arrival of British rule. In British era old structure was dismantled and new building was constructed on the style of Bhatti gate.
Khiziri Gate / Sheranwala Gate
Hezrat Khizir was prophet of Allah. The sailors of Muslim world believe that Hezrat Khizir is their spiritual leader and seek blessings of Allah by his medium. This gate was on the banks of river Ravi and boats were available around the clock for every purpose. The sailors keep sitting or resting near their boats, which were kept, anchored or tied along poles. This was first reason of naming this gate after the name of Hezrat Khizir, the Khiziri darwaza (Gate). During Sikh period, by the orders of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, two tigers were kept in iron cages at the entrance of gate. In local language tiger is called ‘SHER’. So Khiziri gate was called Sheranwala darwaza at the same time. Near the end of Sikh period, the river Ravi changed its path and start following few miles in north of walled city. This geological change became cause of making new name popular. All the sailors along their boats shifted to new locations.
Zaki Gate / Yaki Gate
This gate is twelfth of legendary twelve gates (Darwaza’s) of the Lahore city. The Zaki gate is named after a Sufi elder, named ‘Peer Zaki’. He was appointed caretaker of this gate by mughal rulers. He was kind hearted person and true solider by profession. He performed his duties with great loyalty. Due to his good behavior, he respected by everyone. When he became old, in those days. The city came under siege. Heavily armed groups of brutal plunderers were attacking gates to get inside city for looting. Peer Zaki bravely defended his gate. But the gate was old and number of defenders was short. The plunderers soon make entrance through gate. Peer Zaki stood in center of gate and fought bravely. In this fight he was beheaded but instead of falling down his body keeps fighting without head. Some time passed, the head less body of Peer Zaki keep on fighting up till further few hundred yards inside the gate. Now there are two graves one outside the gate, where head is buried and one grave is inside the gate where body is buried. The people use to visit both graves and offer prayers. The same old story is about the other name, Yaki. This is due to soft assent of Lahoris, they converted ‘Z’ to ‘Y’.
These were the details about the legendary and historical twelve gates of the Lahore city. More details alone illustrations will be coming soon in relevant accounts.
There is one more gate of old walled city of Lahore, named “MORI GATE”. Majority of historian write about twelve gates only. But few include this gate in details of walled city. In fact this was a very narrow opening in the city wall to carry out the garbage. Its location is between, Lohari and Bhatti gates. Now days a grain market by the name ‘Chowk Jandah’ is situated inside this area.
During the glorious times of the Lahore city, the wall was surrounded by a trench, filled with water. The gates were built double with moving bridges, which were pulled in evening and placed again on trench in the morning.