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Guards at Allama Iqbal’s Tomb (Photo: Arif Ali/White Star)

The Mausoleum of Pakistan’s national poet and philosopher, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, whose birthday will be celebrated throughout the country on November 9, is located between the Badshahi Mosque (commissioned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671) and the Hazuri Bagh (landscaped on the orders of Maharajah Ranjit
Singh in 1813).

Where the man who dreamt of Pakistan rests… The Mausoleum was designed by Nawab Zain Yar Jang Bahadur and was completed in 13 years, following the death of Allama Iqbal in 1938. Red Jodhpur stone was used for the exterior of the mausoleum, while white marble was used for the tomb. The tombstone is inscribed with Quranic verses using lapis lazuli which was a gift from the Afghanistan Government. A changing of the guards’ ceremony takes place there on November 9.

A befitting backdrop… The Badshahi Mosque provides a glorious and befitting backdrop to the Mausoleum. It was the world’s largest mosque for over three centuries and is now the fifth largest. Its design is typical of Mughal architecture, with three marble domes, four minarets as well as a central hall, courtyard and prayer chamber that can accommodate nearly 95,000 worshippers. The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, the UAE’s largest, is modelled on the Badshahi’s
grand design.

Allama Iqbal’s Tomb stands before the Alamgiri Gate at the Badhsahi Mosque (Photo: Arif Ali/White Star)

The Garden of Ranjit Singh… It is believed that the Hazuri Bagh was commissioned by Ranjit Singh to celebrate the Sikh Empire’s acquisition of the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond from Shah Shuja of Afghanistan in 1813. Fakir Azizuddin, a Muslim chief minister during the Sikh Rule, supervised the landscaping, which was done in the Mughal style.

Sikh influence… Ranjit Singh’s white-domed samadhi (built in 1848) is located on the grounds and exhibits Sikh architectural elements such as cupolas and fluted domes. The Hazuri Bagh Pavilion (popularly known as the Bara Dari) is also located there. It was constructed in 1818 as a space where the Maharajah could rest during the sweltering summer days.

In a nutshell… This historic neighbourhood attracts thousands of visitors, who not only go there to admire Mughal architectural wonders, but also to pay tribute to the poet and dreamer who worked towards the creation of Pakistan, and inspired others to do so as well.

– Maheen Hassan
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First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 4, 2012.

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