Walled city or Androon-e-Shehar is the old city of Lahore which reflects the past glory of this city. It is surrounded by famous 13 gates which were built for the defense purposes at the time of Mughal Emperors. It is a densely populated area and the streets in the city are narrow, and at some places, even it because difficult for two persons to walk in the street side by side. To see the life of Lahore in true spirit and the culture of the city, one must visit to this area. However, you cannot go through the old city in car. The best way to have true feel of the walled city is to walk around the streets. However, motor bike can be a good alternate for those who cannot walk. Hiring a horse cart can also be a good mode of entertainment in some areas.
Most of the gates were built at the time of Mughal emperor, Akbar in the period of 1584-1598. The gates existed till 1849 when the British came to sub-continent. At the time of Ranjit Singh the walls of the city were repaired which was fallen by some destruction. Expect the Roshni Gate all the Gates were demolished when Britishers conquer this city. Amongst those 13 Gates only 6 of them are present these days that’s includes Roshnai gate, Dehli Gate, Shairanwala Gate, Bhati Gate, Khasmiri and Lahori Gate.
These gates were built for the safety of the city from the enemies. There were 13 huge gates made up of wood and iron along with 9 meter high brick wall which surrounded the Old city.
It is located at the south of the city. According to some historians the name of this gate derives from a Urdu word “Moti” which means pearl and some its derives from “Morchi” which means a Trench Soldier. There are famous streets which still exist here like Mohalla Teer-garan( arrowcraftmen) and Mohalla karam-garan.
This gate is situated in the south of the city and was named after the city Lahore. During the time of Hindu Raj “Ichra” a place in Lahore supposed to be actual Lahore so the Gate faces towards it that’s why it’s called Lahori gate. Other historians believed that name of the gate derived from an urdu word “Loha” which means Iron.
This gate was named after Mughal Emperor Aurangzaib’s son Shah alam 1 before that it was called Bherwala Gate. Today it is located towards one of the busiest market of Lahore.
This gate is situated towards the north of the Old city and faces towards Kashmir valley so it was called Kashmiri gate. There is huge market in this gate called Kashmiri Bazaar and also leads toward Asia’s number one cloth market, Azam Cloth market consisting of about 16000 shops of clothes.
Delhi Gate situated on east side of walled city and faces towards the capital of Mughal dynasty at that time. This was called the busiest gate of Lahore at that time. On the left side of this gate, there was a famous building “Shahi haram” built by hakim Ilmuddin, which was the Royal washroom at that time. There are various historical building including the famous Wazir Khan Mosque, tomb of HazratMeran Badshah etc.
It was named after the Mughal Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din- Muhammad Akhbar located on the eastern side of Old City. At that time Akbar established a market known as “Akbari mandi” which is still the biggest wholesale market of Lahore.
Bhatti gate is located on the west side of Walled City and was named after an ancient Rajput tribe known as “Bhat” (Bhatti). There are various historical buildings and markets located inside this gate including an old museum, Onchi Masjid, bazaar-e-Hakiman and the study hall of Allama Iqbal.
This gate is located on the eastern side of Old City. According to historians the name of this gate was based on mosque of MariumMakhani, the mother of Emperor Akbar, which is located beside the gate. Some says there was a guard Mastibaloch who was appointed at this gate. Today the area inside this gate is filled with various shoe venders.
Yakki or Zakki Gate
Zakki Gate is located on the eastern side Old City and was named after a great martyr saint, Zakki who died in a famous war against Tataraies. Today there are various ancient Havelis and Hindu temples located in and around this gate.
This gate is located between Lahori Gate and Bhati Gate and is the smallest gates of the walled city. The purpose of this gate was to remove the waste and disposal material from the city that’s why it does not got very much importance like other gates. The meaning of the word Mori in Urdu is a small hole. It is said that it was the only passage to access to the walled city when other twelve gates closed in evening.
This gate is located on the west side of walled city and also known as Taxal (Royal Mint). This gate is also famous for the food market, musical market and shoe market. There are historical and sacred palces of Sikhism followers, Paniwala Talab and Gurdwara Khoh located near this gate.
Roshnai Gate is also called the Gate of Light because it is the only gates that is still in its original condition and remained save from all the destruction and wars. Location of this gate is on the south of walled city lies between famous Shahi Qila and Badshahi Mosque. It was named “RaushnaiDarwaza” because it lit up in the evening. Next to this gate is a famous garden, Hazuri Bagh.
This gate was also called “The Gate of Lions” made by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh places two lions both sides of the gate as a symbolic gesture to warn any invader. It was also called Khizri Gate after a great saint HazratKhwaja Khizr Elias, who used to live at this place.