Connected to Lahore’s city centre via Ring Road, Shahdara – or the Royal Pathway – is a suburban neighbourhood located on the northern banks of River Ravi. During the Mughal rule, it served as the entrance to Lahore.
The resting place of the royals… Historical landmarks continue to stand tall in Shahdara, the most well-known of which is Emperor Jehangir’s Tomb. Its exterior is adorned with mosaic, red sandstone and decorative marble. You can enter it through impressive stone gateways that are embellished with frescoes and ghalib kari , which lead into a square enclosure, the iconic Akbari Serai (Palace of Akbar). To its west is the red sandstone mausoleum of Empress Nur Jehan with a cenotaph of Ladli Begum, her daughter. The tomb of Asif Khan, Noor Jehan’s brother, is also located there; it is an octagonal brick structure layered with and blue tiles.
Even more attractions… In addition to the aforementioned structures, Shahdara is also home to Kamran ki Baradari, a summer pavilion built by Kamran Mirza, son of Emperor Babur; it has two-storeys and 12 columns with arched balconies. Remember, a sight-seeing trip to Shahdara is never quite complete without partaking signature Mughlai dishes such as malai tikkas, murgh cholas, pulao and haleem at one of the many eateries there.
A touch of modernity… Over the years, modern utilities and amenities have made life convenient for residents. These include quality educational institutes, healthcare facilities, shopping malls, sports complexes and plenty of green spaces. Furthermore, the construction of two railway stations – Shahdara Bagh and Shahdara Town – ensures improved connectivity to the rest of Punjab.
The real estate take… Primarily a residential area, property options in Shahdara are limited to small houses, constructed decades ago. Commercial property options include standalone shops and makeshift pavement stalls. Due to its distance from the main city, demand and prices of property have remained relatively stable over the years.
In a nutshell… Despite the hints of modernity in the form of well-developed road networks and infrastructural developments, Shahdara remains one of the most prominent reminders of Pakistan’s regal, historic past. n
– Moneeza Burney
First published in the DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 14, 2016.