Asia > South Asia > Pakistan > Punjab (Pakistan) > Northern Punjab > Lahore
Lahore (Punjabi: لہور; Urdu: لاہور) is Pakistan's second largest city after Karachi, and the capital of the north-eastern Punjab province. It is widely considered the country's cultural capital. The heart of Lahore is the Walled or Inner City, a very densely populated area of about one square kilometre. Founded in legendary times, and a cultural centre for over a thousand years, Lahore has many attractions to keep the tourist busy. The Mughal and Sikh legacy survives in the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Gurdwara, the Mall is lined with colonial-gothic buildings from the British Raj, and the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature palatial mansions and trendy shopping districts.
Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan with a population of roughly 8.5 million. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, it had been the cultural center of Northern India extending from Peshawar to New Delhi. The origins of Lahore are shrouded in the mists of antiquity but Lahore is undoubtedly ancient.
Today, Lahore is certainly worth a visit - but don't come expecting a tranquil city overflowing with history, art and culture - these qualities do exist but are hidden under the surface of a sprawling, traffic clogged and polluted south Asian city. Forward planning is recommended if the tourist is going to get the most out of what Lahore has to offer - the time of year to visit, the choice of hotel, the restaurants to dine at, the art galleries and the shopping areas to frequent are all key to getting the most out of your stay.
Lahore is a relatively friendly and liberal city. There is an old saying, that in every Lahori, there is a Mughal prince. The city has known ages of cultural, intellectual, musical, literary and humanistic evolution, which has consequently led to the fermentation and over fermentation of this rich brew we call Lahore.
Legend has it that it was founded about 4,000 years ago by Loh, son of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Reminiscent of its hoary past are the remains of a subterranean temple attributed to Rama, in the northern part of the Royal Fort. Historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. After Islam came to South Asia, it became a center of learning, and attracted some of the region's greatest mystics, writers and artists. The people of Lahore, when they want to emphasize the uniqueness of their town say "Lahore, Lahore aye" (Lahore is Lahore). Lahore is the city of poets, artists and the center of film industry. It has the largest number of educational institutions in the country and some of the finest gardens in the continent. Apart from being the cultural and academic center of the country, Lahore is the showcase for Mughal architecture in Pakistan. For more than 200 years, beginning from about 1524 AD, Lahore was a thriving cultural center of the great Mughal Empire. Mughal Emperors beautified Lahore, with palaces, gardens and mosques.
Hieun-tasng, the famous Chinese pilgrim gave a vivid description of Lahore, which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century AD. Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes. Muslim rule began here when Qutub-ud-din Aibak was crowned in Lahore in 1206 and became the first Muslim Sultan of the Subcontinent. It waxed and waned in importance during the Sultanate.
However, it touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments, many of which are extinct today.
It was Akbar’s capital for 14 years from 1584 to 1598. He built the massive Lahore Fort on the foundations of a previous fort and enclosed the city within a red brick wall boasting 12 gates. Jahangir and Shah Jahan (who was born in Lahore) extended the fort, built palaces and tombs, and laid out gardens.
Jahangir loved the city and he and his wife Noor Jahan are buried at Shahdara. Aurangzeb (1658-1707), gave Lahore its most famous monument, the Badshahi Masjid (Royal Mosque) and the Alamgiri gateway to the fort.
During the eighteenth century, as Mughal power dwindled, there were constant invasions. Lahore was a suba, a province of the Empire, governed by provincial rulers with their own court. These governors managed as best they could though for much of the time it must have been a rather thankless task to even attempt. The 1740s were years of chaos and between 1745 and 1756 there were nine changes of governors. Invasions and chaos in local government allowed bands of warring Sikhs to gain control in some areas.
Lahore ended up being ruled by a triumvirate of Sikhs of dubious character and the population of the city invited Ranjit Singh to invade. He took the city in 1799. Holding the capital gave him enough legitimacy to proclaim himself the Emperor. Descriptions of Lahore during the early 19th century refer to it as a “melancholy picture of fallen splendor.”
The British, following their invasion of Lahore in 1849, added a great many buildings in “Mughal-Gothic” style as well as bungalows and gardens. Early on, the British tended to build workaday structures in sites like the Fort, though later they did start to make an effort to preserve some ancient buildings. The Lahore Cantonment, the British residential district of wide, tree-lined streets and white bungalows set in large, shaded gardens, is the prettiest cantonment in Pakistan. Since Independence in 1947, Lahore has expanded rapidly as the capital of Pakistani Punjab.
All this makes Lahore a truly rewarding experience. The buildings, the roads, the trees and the gardens, in fact the very air of Lahore in enough to set the mind spinning in admiration.A poet has written about this phenomenon one experiences in the environs of Lahore. When the wind whistles through the tall trees, when the twilight floods the beautiful face of the Fort, when the silent canal lights up to herald the end of another chapter in history, the Ravi is absorbed in harmony, mist fills the ancient streets, and the havelis come alive with strains of classical music, the spirit of Lahore pervades even the hardiest of souls.
Our article On the trail of Kipling's Kim, and the book Kim, both begin in Lahore. Both the author, Rudyard Kipling, and his character, Kim, grew up in Lahore.
Allama Iqbal International Airport is located about 20–30 minutes from the city centre. Taxis and shuttles are available to take passengers from the city to the airport - with unmetered taxis it is advisable to set the rate beforehand. The new proposed Lahore Mass Rapid Transit System will be linked from different parts of the city to the airport.
The airport is a major hub by Pakistan standards, but not by international standards Pakistan International Airlines with daily departures to the rest of Pakistan, connecting flights into nearby hub airports Qatar, Dubai, Bangkok for onward connections to the Middle East, Europe, North America, and South-East Asia.
The main railway station is located near the city centre. There are routes from all major Pakistani cities. The Samjhauta (Friendship) Express runs twice a week between Lahore and Amritsar, across the border in India.
Apart from that, trains to southern e.g., Multan, DG Khan, Karachi etc. and northern parts e.g., Gujrat, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Peshawar etc. run from the main station. It also connects to the western part of Pakistan to Faisalabad and beyond.
Local Stations of Lahore are Shahdara Bagh, Badami Bagh, Moghalpura, Baghbanpura, Harbanspura, Jallo, and Wagah. There is mostly peak hour services operate within these local stations for commuters to Lahore.
While Pakistani traffic is generally chaotic and highly dangerous, the motorway is very comfortable and one of the few places traffic laws are enforced. Nowadays, new Traffic Police has arrived and is enforcing traffic laws on Highways too.
Taxis are possible to/from the Indian border for ~Rs 400.
From the Indian border, bus #4 runs to the Main train station for Rs 20.
Minibuses are the cheapest way to get between the larger cities, and the only way to get to some more remote destinations. They can be uncomfortably crowded, so if possible opt for a more comfortable larger bus.
Skyways, Niazi Express and a couple others operate large, comfortable buses to Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad and many other cities and towns from their own bus terminals near M2 Motorway Interchange. These services are rather affordable and convenient way of inter city travel.
Faisal Movers has its terminal on Bund Road. Its main branch is in Multan but in Lahore there is also a sub-terminal of Faisal Movers. Because of safe traveling and refreshment in bus it is very famous these days. Faisal Mover is less expensive than Daewoo but not other traveling companies. This is much comfortable and easy to go from Lahore to all famous cities of Pakistan i.e. Murree, Rawalpindi, Sahiwal, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan.
Daewoo has its own terminal away from the main bus station on Ferozpur Road near Kalma Chowk. This terminal is only minutes away from famous Liberty Market, Gaddafi Stadium & other popular shopping areas. Clean, comfortable, air-conditioned coaches run regularly between Lahore to all major cities of Punjab, KP and Sindh including Karachi plus many smaller cities and towns such as Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar. Daewoo is more expensive but much more comfortable and reliable than the competition. Between Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad they have a 'Premium Plus service' which gives you a business class style seat and more space.
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Lahore is a huge and sprawling city. In the old town walking or a tuk-tuk are your only options. You get to see a lot more on foot, just remember to wear comfortable shoes if you are going to be walking a great distance. Other than in winter, it will be too hot to walk long distances during the day. Sunday mornings are quiet and are a good time to explore.
Locals are generally helpful in providing directions to well-known spots. However, you should still ask two or three people to confirm the address, especially if you are driving. Using the GPS function on your phone can also be helpful.
Auto-rickshaws / tuk-tuks are open rickshaws with (narrow) rear-facing seats, or with two seats facing forward and two backward. They are handy for moving around in the Inner City, since it's easier to see where you're going. Tourists used to average western road etiquette might be horrified by the chaos on the roads - but it almost seems to work. Qingqi drivers have an unbelievable sense of space, speed and angles and you may well learn to trust them (or not). Rickshaws are the cheapest and, for women, the safest individual forms of public transport. Haggle thoroughly with the driver; if you do not speak Punjabi or Urdu or are clearly a foreigner, try to get a Lahori friend to ensure you don't get ripped off. Try to find a rickshaw with a well-padded seat, otherwise you will come out bruised and aching.
Taxis are a rarity on the streets of Lahore - with auto-rickshaws having cornered the market - for a taxi you need to book one by phone. Most taxi drivers and, indeed, rickshaw drivers, carry mobile phones; it may be useful to take a number down if you find someone especially reliable. Do not take taxis in the Inner City, as the streets are narrow and very crowded. Either walk or take a qingqi. Minivans are probably the most dangerous form of public transport, with very rash drivers. Women will find these especially uncomfortable, as they are very crowded. Often women must sit in an undersized cubicle or with the driver, to prevent harassment.
Buses are usually cleaner and more comfortable than minivans, and usually a have a separate seating area for women. Saami Daewoo bus service is an airconditioned bus service operating in different parts of the city.
From the airport - When you arrive at the airport you will likely be besieged with touts offering you taxis and rooms. It's wise not to book anything through them and arrange a taxi yourself to the hotel of your choice. Some of the mid-range and most top-end hotels offer a courtesy shuttle from the airport. If you do use an airport taxi then be firm, agree on a price before you sit (which includes the Rs50 to leave the airport carpark) and pay in advance. Should be around Rs600 to Gulberg, Rs800-1,000 to the old city.
Metro Bus is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system recently opened and have a separate line. They are air-conditioned, comfortable and have a special sitting for amputees. They are also very cheap and have a price of just Rs.20. There are 27 stations starting from Gajjumata Terminal to Shahdara Terminal and buses stop on terminals every 3 minutes!
Lahore Transport Company buses are also a cheaper means of traveling within the several areas in Lahore. They are also a clean and cheap option. A detailed route map can be found here
The Walled city of Lahore is one of the oldest cities in the world and comprises the following places for sightseeing.
- 1 Lahore Fort (شاہی قلعہ, Shahi Qila). A huge mass of a structure where the Mughals built their imperial quarters, followed by the Sikhs. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is a small museum dedicated to the Sikh period of the 18th century. A friendly museum caretaker might agree to take you into the summer rooms underground. The tomb of Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh, is also located in Lahore. Entrance fee for non-Pakistanis is Rs 200..
- 2 Badshahi Mosque. Built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and was long the largest mosque in the world. Entrance is free, but you will be asked to pay about Rs 10 (Nov 2006) to the shoe keeper upon exit. Try going late at night, when there are few people there. Since mosques are holy places, do not wear shorts to this or any mosque; women are advised to wear long or half-sleeved clothing, and to carry a shawl so they can cover their head. Remove shoes before entering.
- Right in front of the Fort and Badshahi Mosque is a park with Minar-e-Pakistan or the Eiffel Tower of Pakistan. It was built on the site where in 1940 the creation of a separate state for Muslims was recognized.
- The Inner City is full of little shrines and palaces, of which the most impressive are the Imperial Baths and the Asif Jah Haveli (recently restored).
- 3 Wazir Khan Mosque. An exquisite tiled mosque located near Delhi Gate.
Gates of Inner City
In the Mughal days, the Old City was surrounded by a 9 meter high brick wall and had a rampart running around it which served as a protection for the city. A circular road around the rampart gave access to the city through thirteen Lahore Gates. Some of the imposing structures of these gates are still preserved.
- The Raushnai Gate, or the "Gate of Light" is between the royal mosque and the citadels. There is a very famous gali (row or narrow street) commonly known as the Shahi Mahala. The name Shahi has been given after the Shahi Qila. People living here are simple. There are various food shops located around the gate.
- The Kashmiri Gate is so called because it faces the direction of Kashmir.
- The Masti Gate.
- The Khizri or the Sheranwala Gate. The river in former times flowed by the city walls, and the crossing was near this spot. The gate was named after the name of Khizr Elias.
- The Yakki Gate. The original name was "Zaki," which was derived from the name of a martyr saint, who, according to legendary tradition, fell fighting against Mongol invaders.
- The Dehli Gate is so called because it faces the direction of Delhi.
- The Akbari Gate is named after Muhammad Jala-ud-din Akbar, who rebuilt the town and citadel.
- The Mochi Gate might be called after the name of Moti Ram, an officer of Akbar, who resided here at that time.
- The Shah 'Almi Gate is named after Muhammad Mo'azzam Shah 'Alam Bahadur Shah (the son and successor of Aurangzeb). He was a mild and generous emperor, who died in Lahore on the 28th February 1712.
- The Lahori Gate also known as the Lohari gate has been named after the city of Lahore.
- The Mori Gate is the smallest of the gateways and, as its name implies, was in old times used as an outlet for the refuse and sweepings of the city.
- The Bhatti Gate was named after the Bhatis, an ancient Rajput tribe who inhabited these quarters in old times.
- The Taxali Gate was named after the Taxal or royal mint, that used to be in its neighborhood in earlier times.
- Lahore Museum (which displays the Fasting Buddha of Gandhara)
- Toolinton market, now converted into a museum
- Lahore Art Gallery. The Croweaters Gallery
- 'General Post Office
- Lahore High Court Lahore'
- University of Punjab (Old Campus)
- National College of Arts of which Rudyard Kipling's father was the principal, and offers a thesis show every winter.
- Kim's Gun is outside the NCA
- Lahore ZooLocated in the heart of the town and set in modern style is the Lahore zoo founded in 1872. It is one of the oldest Zoos in the sub continent. The material used in some of the construction even bears the marks of 1853. The Lahore zoo attracts a large crowd throughout the year. Driving along the Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, just ahead of the charring cross and opposite to the WAPDA House is the main gate of the Zoo
- Lawrence Gardens & Library, also known as the Bagh-e-Jinnah, It is opposite to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is among the biggest gardens of Lahore.
- Chamman Ice Cream. A famous ice-cream parlour offers 20 different flavours. They also offer milk-shake of various kinds.
- WAPDA house building the WAPDA House building is, an example of a modern office block, with a glass dome and a roof garden.
- Summit Memorium is in the locale more commonly known as Charing Cross. Few know the presence of a library / museum below the Charing Cross roundabout that is all about the OIC and Islamic Summit and is a treat to visit.
- Punjab Provincial Assembly Building
- Shahdin Manzil
- Free Mason Hall
- Al Hamra Arts council
- Lahore Fortress the Fortress Stadium is an attempt to combine the architecture of a fort like Rohtas with a sports stadium. Many exhibitions held here. The Stadium is the site of the famous Horse and Cattle Show in March. Joyland amusement park is also located here.
- Ferozsons Book Center
- Lovers park
- Saman Abad
- Masterpieces of Mughal architecture are scattered throughout the city, even in neighborhoods that today seem a little dilapidated. Buildings and sites include Shalimar Gardens (a three-tiered formal garden built in the 1600s, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located along the GT Road towards Wagah. Entrance Rs200 for foreigners), Chauburji Gate at Chauburji Chowk, and many tomb and mausoleums such as the ones of Jahangir and Nur Jahan in the suburb of Shahdara.
- Check this website Lahore, Pakistan: Traditional and Historical Architecture (free access) for information, plans, and photo galleries of many monuments.
- Following the canal side road to the east of the city is Jallo Park. It is a large drive-in park with drive in zoo and a man made lake. Spread over an area of 450 acres it has expanses of lawns, a forest research center, a children's park, a small museum and a gift shop. Sozo Water Park is another attraction in this park. Also see Sindbad, Joy Land and Sky Land. The Park is 28 km from Lahore. It can be visited by road and by rail. A rail car leaves for Jallo Railway Station every half hour.
- Race Course Park Situated on Jail Road, Race Course Park deservedly attracts not only town dwellers but visitors as well. It is a huge park featuring vast lush grounds as well as a lake for boat riding. The park hosts special flower shows during the spring season. Another salient feature of the park is its well maitained jogging track.
- Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Allama Iqbal Town
- Hiran Minar is set in peaceful environs near Lahore. Hiran means deer. It used to be favorite hunting sport of all Muslim kings, especially of Moghals. Jehangir erected this minaret to commemorate the death of his pet deer (Maans Raaj). It served a double purpose as from it top the hunters could locate the habitations of deers. It is a beautiful picnic as well as a historic spot. A high Bara Dari Ghat is constructed right in middle of a Talab. A man made big lake, boating facility is also available. A good garden lay out is surrounding the place.
- Chhanga Manga is a man-made forest 68 km from Lahore. There is a lake, and a miniature railway, which winds its way through its forest. Chhanga Manga has 12,510 acres of plantations. It is a popular picnic spot spread over 50 acres with a lake and rowboats, motorboats, children's park, swimming pool, cafeteria, canteen and rest houses
- The Daata Darbar is the shrine to Lahore's patron saint, Hazrat Daata Ganj Bakhsh. This vast modern structure is always filled with people praying, collecting or bestowing alms, or eating at the huge charity 'langar' or soup kitchen.
- Gawal mandi food street
- Old Anarkali food street
- Trafalgar Square A replica of the famous Trafalgar Square in London is located inside Bahria Town Lahore. Mini Egypt and a Zoo also worth a visit.
- Wagah Border The border between Pakistan and India is also an attraction for tourists. There is a ceremony at the border everyday and is a must see for all. For foreigners, crossing the Wagah border and visiting the Golden Temple is a lifetime experience.
- 4 Lahore Museum. Established during the British Raj in 1864. It displays a complete cross-section of the culture and history of the region with a fine collection of Buddhist art from the Gandhara Period, Islamic artifacts, calligraphy, old manuscripts, arms, costumes and jewelry. John Kipling, father of the writer Rudyard Kipling, was curator in the 19th century.
- 5 Shakir Ali Museum. This museum was actually Shakir's House at 93, Tipu Block, New Garder Town, Lahore, which he made for himself. After his death it was bought by Idara-I-Saqafat-e-Pakistan and formally turned into a museum on April 3, 1976. The idea behind it was not only to preserve the great artist's paintings and other masterpieces under one roof but also to open this combination of modern and traditional archietecture to the public.
- Fakir Khana Museum. A very large and interesting private Museum known as Faqirkhana lies inside the Bhatti Gate and is worth visiting. The museum houses a variety of old paintings, including some by great masters, original manuscripts in different languages and artifacts from South East Asia and the Indo-Pak subcontinent.
- Mughal Museum situated at Poonch house, Multan Road, Lahore it was established in 1950. This is an Industrial and commercial Museum, which is meant to depict country's economic resources both in the form of raw products and worked objects. Its collection is arranged in one gallery and one large hall of the building. The main hall displays a range of variety of material such as well plated musical instruments, table lamps of camel skin from Multan and Bhawalpur, cotton, silken-woolen and embroidered textiles from all important cites of Pakistan.
- Toolinton Market Museum at Mall Road.
- Museum of Cricket is located inside Lahore Gymkhana, Mall road.
- PIA Planetarium
- National Science Museum at UET G.T. Road Lahore.
- Allama Iqbal Museum (Javed Manzil) at Allama Iqbal Road Lahore.
- On Thursdays there is a regular Sufi gathering at the shrine of Shah Jamal. The renowned drummer Pappoo Saein and his disciples perform on the huge two-sided dhol, and devotees of the saint enter trances and dance wildly as hundreds of people watch. There is a separate seating area for women and foreigners; this is very comfortable and has the best view in the enclosure.
- Catch a movie at Sozo World in fortress stadium. Fortress Stadium is also a shopping area if you are a die hard fan of inexpensive linens, clothes etc., and has the only Joyland (amusement park) within the city as well as Sindbad Amusement center. Another amusement park is a part of Sozo Water Park.
You can also watch movies at the DHA Cinema located in R Block DHA near Defence Public School for Boys. Another good option is the newly renovated Cinestar in Township or the Cinegold in Bahria Town.The Plaza Cinema on Queen's Road is also a good choice.
- Cricket - Pakistanis, like their Indian neighbours, love cricket passionately. The Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore often hosts international matches and is relatively comfortable. If you're brave enough try some of the colorful and appetizing snacks brought into the stands by a myriad of sellers of all ages.
- You can always shop in the old "anarkali" bazaar or the newer "liberty market". Both of these places are famous for women's clothes and accessories.
- You can also head for the museum on lower mall road.
- Medical tourism is a growing industry in Lahore due to its high quality and low cost, especially in sectors like Dental treatment, Hair transplant, Cosmetic surgery and Open heart surgery.
- Lahore has long been a bastion for sport. An excursion to a Polo game would be a memorable experience. Pakistan is one of only 8 nations to play Polo professionally, and fields some 26 professional clubs. Lahore's most famous club is Lahore Polo Club, where emperors, kings and other notables have been playing for centuries. Foreign teams often play here in friendly games, and facilities are first rate.
- Go to bazaars and look around, you can buy amazing jewelery, crockery, souvenirs and of course clothes! One baazar is Anarkali and Ichra.
- Go karting or playing paintball in one of the several amusement parks in town.
- On Saturdays there is a regular "Movie night" organized by Lahore Film and Literary Club at South Asian Media Centre. The projector featuring full HD/Blu-ray 108op resolution, ensures you get the best of picture quality and sound followed by discussions after the films, available as part of the LFLC evenings. You can also interact with friends over a cup of coffee at the cafe which also serves as a perfect place to initiate debate or simply share an idea. The club offers other facilities with its literary club offering literary seminars, poetry readings and a library.
- Enjoy street food and local special treats in the aptly named Food Streets in Gawalmandi and Anarkali districts.
- Ferozsons book shop is the oldest book shop in Lahore.
- Readings bookshop in main boulevard Gulberg and variety books in liberty market are a must see.Last word in Gilbert at 32-A, Mian Mehmood Ali Kasoori Road.
- The traditional bazaars of the inner city are roughly divided according to what is produced and/or sold there. Bargaining is de rigueur.
- The Anarkali bazaar, named after a courtesan who was buried alive for loving a prince, is one of the chief shopping areas.Anarkali Bazaar is a treasure-trove, selling virtually everything from handicraft to transistor radios, tin saucepans to refrigerators. It is a maze of lanes and alleys which stretch northwards from the Mall to the Central Museum's end. The bazaars in the old city are the ones people romanticize in literature and films. They consist of tiny alleys, some of which will admit a rickshaw, a string of donkeys or carts- and pedestrians have to leap into doorways to give room. Some alleys are only possible single file.
- Ichra Bazaar has the best quality of unstitched silk, cotton and printed material of all sorts. On the other hand Mozang Bazaar sells some particularly interesting hand-block printed cloth, tablecloth and bedspread
- Panorama, located on Mall Road, an ideal place to buy informal clothes. It houses over 1000 shops so you have a large variety of clothes to choose from and that is too at a competitive price.
- Trendy types congregate in the Gulberg and Defence suburbs. Liberty Market is a large circular market with hundreds of shops selling clothing, electronics, and so on. A basement shop in Liberty (tell the rickshaw driver it's near H Karim Bakhsh) has good handicrafts, and can be bargained with.
- link road Model town is also very important shopping district with MC Donalds and pace shopping mall.
- MM Alam Road is the hippest part of town, with all the most expensive designer shops, including fine furniture and clothing, both Western and Pakistani, and the best restaurants.
- Raja Centre in Gulberg has a good selection of handloom 'khadi' fabric, both stitched and unstitched. Higher end khadi can be bought at the Khaadi shop in Mini Market.
- Hafeez Centre is the one of the famous mobile and computer market of the province Punjab, with inexpensive software (pirated), and hardware that can be bargained for.
- Fortress Stadium has a huge variety of very inexpensive DVDs.
- Ehsan chappal house has amazing shoes for ladies, also check out Stylo shoes for stylish shoes and clutches/purses
- Moon Market, one of the premier places of Lahore is less than 100 metres away and one can find things ranging from jewellery market, banks, clothes market (mostly for women and children) to restaurants.For men's (of all the ages) casual and formal wear, there is Kareem Block Market around 2 km away, which is arguably hub of the men's wear.
- Liberty Market
- PACE, the ultimate shopping mall, you will everything, food,clothes, electronics, movies in one amazing package!
- Mall of Lahore in cantonment is a very prestigious shopping mall with a super market named green valley mall.
- Joray Pull, its a new developing area near airport and Rangers HQ its safe and you do a lot of eating activity here along with shopping.
- Xinhua Mall, a place where one loves to be especially shopaholic. It has all the brands including international and local, such as Nike, The Body shop, Levis, Cross Roads, Next, Minni Minors and from the local brands we have Ammar Bilal, Nomi Ansari, Out Fitters and Saira Ahsan. Recently Aik Hunar Aik Nagar - AHAN opened its flagship outlet at Xinhua Mall which offers best quality traditional handmade products developed by rural clusters, artisans and craft persons. It features all the world's leading brands under one roof.
Lahoris are famed for their food and for their consumption thereof. This is reflected in the array of restaurants in town.
Every Lahori food item has an expert attached to it.
- For nihari, go to Haji Nihari on Jail Road or inside Lohari Gate ; for chicken paratha rolls go to Karachi Silver Spoon in Liberty Market, and so on.
- The 'Food Street' of Gowal Mandi is a must-visit for dinner - you'll find a street full of shops selling fine Lahori fare, and the setting, amidst traditional jharoka architecture, is lovely. If you make it to Food Street, go by auto rickshaw (30rupees) or walk to Mochi Gate and try Rasheeds kebabs or Saiyns kebabs. Mochi Gate is also home to Fazal Sweets and Rafique Sweet House.Bhaiya kabab in Model Town is foremost name in Kabab Street, where you will enjoy bar-b-que with fresh soda. A 200/300 meter long street with historically preserved 2/3 storey old houses on both side which are ligthen up in a very special way giving a very historical and magnificent look. The envoirnment is a real creatio nof culutre of Lahore, the mughla era. You will find around a hundred restaurants in this street which mouth watering menus. Do try Chappal Kababas, Saag with Makai ki roti, Golas of Ice, Sardar ki Machli and anything you like because a lot of variety is present.
- Phajjay Ke Paye at Red Light Area - Heera Mandi Lahore, is Very famous and highly energetic. For those having physical weakness must try this dish.
- Chaman Ice Cream, Beaden Road adjacent to Hall Road, Aside Mall Road, Lahore - Serves a vast variety of various flavours of cie creams, ice cream shakes, juices ans stuff. Don't miss it ! Its worth it.
- Basheer-dar-ul-Mahi at Mazang Chok Lahore - Fried Fish is served in 2/3 forms. You will see people queued up in lines to get their order here. Don't go if you don't have much time. But this fish is worth waiting this much. Parathas and Lassi at Mazang Lahore - Near the Baheer-dal-ul-Mahi is this very cheap and small scale restaurant. Serves paraths of potatoes, minced chicken, egg and others with Tea or delicious Lassi. Don't miss this at breakfast or anytime you want to have something energetic.
- Gourmet foods is very famous and it has over 100 outlets in Lahore.
- Student Biryani. Fortress Stadium. Popular Pakistani food chain that is best known for selling its biryani dish. Having beaches all over the city as well in Karachi, Dubai and Sharjah.
- Cakes and bakes is a very good bakery. On the same range: Kashmir bakery, Bon vivant cafe, Massoms cafe.
- Bakers Boutique at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Quaid-e Azam Rd.
- Copper ketel bakery: Phase 2 DHA.
- Jalal Sons: 12 E main market,Gulberg.
- Kitchen Cuisine: in Allama Iqbal town, DHA, Defence, Gulberg, Johar Town, Model Town.
- Rinnas Kitchenette: Xblock, DHA, Lahore.
- Ice berg Parlour
- Iceland in Fortress Stadium.
- Gelato affair: 11 commercial, phase 2 DHA.
- Khan jee dry fruit and home made ice cream: Comercial area phase 1, DHA.
- Malees cafe: PSO filling station opposite Apwa college.
- Marble stones ice creamery: Gulberg, M.M Alam road.
- The Hot spot: Defence: 19 T block, DHA Phase 2.
Lahore has seen the birth of several mid-range cafes recently. Notably Masoom's for cakes, desserts and coffee, and sandwiches at Coffee, Tea and Company nearby. In Defence, Hot Fuzon is another good cafe and a Masoom's franchise.
- Mexican cafes: Chalupa in Samnabad which has many tasty Mexican dishes like taco. There is also a bar with night time disco.
- Gun smoke is another Mexican cafe in MM Alam Road with a very good atmosphere and sitting.
- Latin, a recently opened Central American-styled cafe with a sheesha bar.
- Lebanese restaurants: Cock and Bull with three branches in Lahore serving shawarmas.
- Kim's snack bar in Samnabad. Lahore second best shawarma.
Chinese food is also very popular in Lahore, but be warned that it is very strongly altered to local tastes. One notable example is Hsin Kuang which sits in a pagoda-like structure near Mini Market and is very popular, but the quality varies. It is renowned for its strong-flavoured soup.
- Mini Golf (National Bank Park near Kalma Chowk). Don't miss this place for great open air atmosphere where you can also get sheesha.
- Mirchi, MM Alam Rd. Perhaps the best Lahori food in the city, and is of good hygienic quality. Try the tamatar paneer and the sheesh taouk (charcoal-grileld chicken skewers).
- Pepperica. This restaurant run by famous Artist Rana Shujaat serves various dishes to suit the tastes of various types of customers. The chicken Jalferazi is the most popular and highly demanded by the customers.
- Chatkhara. Serves snack food like samosas, chaat and dahi bhallay
- Balouchi Sajji, Fortress Stadium. One of the best restaurant in Lahore. Best traditionally grilled lamb and chicken in town and after the meal one must have the traditional kawa (green tea) 3-10 $.
- Liberty Market. Offers good standard Pakistani food. The mutton karahi at Rs510 is a popular dish and easily serves two people, while most dishes are half that price. They also offer salads, but see the Stay Healthy section below.
- Cafe Aylanto, 2-C 9th Commercial Ln, ☏ . Has the best non-Pakistani food in town. Try the shrimp and avocado salad. You can also take your own wine to the restaurant and they'll be happy to serve you; just make sure to inform them on the door, if you have an alcoholic drink with you.
- Zouk, MM Alam Rd, ☏ . One of Lahore's institutions, despite the distressing decor. It serves a mix of Continental and Thai food. It is highly popular among elites.
- Veranda Bistro, 6L Gulberg II. lunch & dinner. Extravagantly elegant restaurant with an inventive menu of generally superb food. One of Pakistan's best. Rs2,000+ per head for a nice meal.
- Freddy's, 12C MM Alam Rd, ☏ . Family-oriented restaurant which has a safe, vaguely continental menu. Freddy's offers an afternoon high tea buffet, which offers a full variety foods and some drinks.
- Village, 103-B-2 MM Alam Rd, ☏ . A vast mud structure which has an all-you-can-eat Pakistani buffet. It's a popular joint to take visiting tourists, as it combines a variety of local foods with good hygiene.
- Salt n Pepper Grill. Owned by the same company as Village, with a fine à la carte menu. Try their sweet lassi.
- Ziafat, 21-C-I MM Alam Rd, ☏ . Authentic Pakistani food in a buffet style. Their menu is not as grand as Village, but the ambiance is a little more laid-back.
- Dera. Right by the Gaddafi Stadium, sitting on your maniji and gulping lassi, you'll experience a unique truck driver atmosphere here. The food is excellent, but the prices are on the higher end. Favourite among the locals are the assorted naans, chicken mugalahi and mutton chops.
- Fujiyama, 87 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam (inside the Avari Hotel), ☏ . It's the only real Japanese restaurant in town, and is considered to be the most expensive. 2500.
- Nandos, Plot No. 100-B/II, M. M. Alam Road, Gulberg III (Near Pizza Hut MM Alam Road), ☏ . A globally famous restaurant chain.
- Costa Nostra. Authentic Italian food, overseen by Pak-Italian owners. Started as a reservation-only, high-end gourmet experience with a rather well put together table d'hote, it now has a basement pizzeria where you can't go wrong if want a pizza pie that resembles something from Rome and not Chicago.
Alcohol is illegal for Muslim Pakistanis. Clubbing is quite popular but not easy to find, majority of the clubs being private and invite only.
- Parties at Farmhouse
- Caviar Lounge, a bar/club in Royal Palm.
- Club Bhurban, in Pearl Continental hotel
- Uptown LA in Defence R block.. the club opens after 11PM at night till 4AM in the morning
- 1 Peeru's Cafe, Green Acres Main Rd. Situated about an hour outside of Lahore. Peeru's, a cafe with an artistic flair. Saturday night is always Jazz Night, Peeru's cafe is really the only place which has live jazz music. Tuesday is Sufi night. Sitting inside, it even feels like some cafe in Venice.
- Chalupa club.*disco beat in Muslim town.Bon vivant cafe.*panini Italian Cafe.
- AK lounge:First floor shop4 and 5 in Xinhua mall in Gulberg 3.
- Cafe rock:56 b3 Gulberg 3 Lahore.
- Cafe forest:57 T Gulberg,Lahore.
- Chez Nur bistro:39 C1 Gulberg 3,Lahore.Tel:(92)35759835.
- Gulberg: 2B 3 Gulberg 3,Lahore,Pakistan.
- Defence:181/Y Block,phase three DHA,Lahore.
- Cinamoon Coffee lounge and Bakery:Sharah e Quaid e azam,Avari Hotel, Lahore,Pakistan.
- Coffee tea and company:3B3 Gulberg,Lahore,Pakistan.
- Espresso:Chez Casa,Gulberg three,Lahore,Pakistan.
- Gloria Jeans Coffee:
- Gulberg:25/2B,Kasuri road,Lahore.
- Lahore Grand:Zafar ali road,Lahore,Pakistan.
- Lums:DHA,Lahore Cantt,Lahore,Pakistan.
- Mall of Lahore:172 tufail road,Lahore Cantt,Lahore.
- Hobnob Cafe:DHA phase 2, Lahore.
- Jamin Java Cafe:Has three branches in lahore mainly in Defence,Gulberg and johar town.
- Luciano at ammar belal:Kasuri road,Gulberg,lahore.
- Malees cafe:At Jail road and inGulberg three at MM.Alam road.
- White dining lounge:At MM.Alam road,Gulberg,Lahore.
- World Fashion cafe':Kasuri road, Gaulberg,Lahore.
- Roasters:Gulberg 3, Lahore.
- Nadia cafe:pearl continental hotel,sharah e Quaid e azam.
- Mrs field and tcby cafe:At MM.Alam road,Gulberg,Lahore.
For the visitor there are three broad options of areas in which to stay
- 1) In or near the old town - has the advantage of having all the historical sights on your doorstep - however you are then limited for evening entertainment unless you want a long tuktuk ride. However the two 'rooftop' restaurants overlooking the mosque are nearby.
- 2) Along Mall Road probably in one of the big and expensive chain hotels - you will be equidistant from the old town and the nightlife
- 3) In Gulberg or Defense - where you will having the nice restaurants and shopping on your doorstep, and are nearer the airport.
These tradeoffs are important because of Lahore's awful traffic, and you want to minimise the amount of (daytime especially) travel in the city. Sunday mornings are very quiet however and this is a good time to visit Mall Road / the old town.
Hotels and guesthouses are the two main options in the city. Hotels are a bit more expensive but usually have western-style toilets and are cleaner.
There are scores of options for travelers. If you feel like staying on budget there are some fairly crowded and over-priced options near the train station, which is in an overwhelmingly busy and chaotic part of the city - not for the faint-hearted. Westerners will often need to bargain if they wish to receive a fair price.
- Lahore Backpackers Hotel (Amin Building), Near UBL SD. Vault, 65 The Mall (Regale Chowk, above Subway Sandwich), ☏ , . Newly opened backpackers hostel. They arrange many trips to local cultural events and offer extremely clean accommodation at very reasonable rates. They can organize parking. Rs500 dorms, Rs1000 doubles (Nov 2015).
- Regale Internet Inn, Surriaya Mansion 65, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The owner, Malik, is a former journalist who can show you some amazing off-the-wall stuff in the city, including weekly trips to Shah Jamal on Thursday nights. It's slightly expensive for what it is, but pretty much the best option in town and worth it for the security and to meet other travelers.It is down an alley and upstairs, behind H. Karim Busch & Sons supermarket. They are pretty good at responding online bookings and often update their blog posts. Rs200 (dorms), Rs450 (doubles).
- Alpine Hotel, 38-M-Block (in Model Town Extension), ☏ .
- Ambassador Hotel, 7 Davis Rd, ☏ .
- Kashmir Palace Hotel, 14 Empress Rd, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Mirage Hotel Lahore, 21 Lake Rd, ☏ +92 42 7238126 or 27 , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Internet/Wi-Fi and Airport pickup and drop-off. US $45+ tax.
- Royal Chelet Guest House Lahore-Pakistan, House No 167-G/3 Johar Town (Near Doctor Hospital Lahore-Pakistan), ☏ , email@example.com.
- Shalimar Hotel, 36 Liberty Market, ☏ .
- Signature Inn, 16-C-3 Gulberg-3 (in a quiet back road just south of Noor Jehan Road / Liberty Market - google map 'Signature Inn Lahore'), ☏ . This place is a bit rough around the edges, and not recommended for a single female, but the rooms are clean, large, en suite, air conditioned and the rate includes a simple breakfast. around Rs3,000 per night, you'll need to haggle.
- Windmills Hotel, 89-A, B-II, Husain Chowk, Gulberg-III, ☏ .
- Hospitality Inn, 25-26 Egerton Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. formerly known as Holiday Inn US$ 90-US$200.
Street crimes in Lahore are not common but special precautions must be taken by visitors.
- Demonstrations aren't uncommon and should be avoided at all cost. In early 2006, the Prophet Muhammad cartoon protests quickly got out of hand, and several businesses were torched along with scores of cars. If a large demonstration or protest is underway, foreigners should try to remain at their hotels until the dust settles.
- In general, visitors will find the locals very curious, very eager to help. Being friendly and smiling at people goes a long way. If you're a woman, though, it's best to be sparing with smiles lest people get too friendly; though this is mostly in areas like bazaars, not the actual city.
- If you enter a mosque, women should wear a dupatta, which is a scarf used by local females to cover their heads. Men & women should also remove their shoes while entering in a mosque.
- Avoid traveling to unlit areas at night, especially alone. Use common sense when hanging out with friends, and definitely avoid being intoxicated in public as it is an Islamic country.
- Beware of pickpockets when you are in crowded areas like Liberty market, the airport, bus stands, the railway station, Anarkali, Ichra shopping centre, or Mall road.
In an emergency you can call police help line 15 or call Rescue Services at 1122.
Lahore abounds with excellent street food, but unless you've been on the road for some time and developed an iron stomach, it's always wise to exercise some caution. Look for busier street stalls, especially those in Gowal Mandi (food street), and stick to food that's hot and has just been cooked. Salads can also cause problems - if you must, one of the fancier restaurants in Gulberg is probably a safer bet than eating a salad at a dhaba or street stall.
Bottled water is highly recommended. Some budget places offer free filtered water, but even that is suspect in Lahore.
Medical care is excellent for those who can afford it and, if you can, avoid public hospitals. The Fátima Memorial Hospital is usually a fair bet, with decent rates, good hygiene, and good care.
Doctors hospital on Canal and National Hospital in Defence Housing Authority offers excellent services but at a higher cost.
Farooq Hospital (West Wood Branch) near Thokar Niazbeg offer better Health services and is not very expensive.
- Greece, 71-A, Main Gulberg, ☏ , fax: .
- Visit Amritsar in India from the Wagah border; and see the amazing Golden Temple and other attractions. However, for this you will need an Indian visa. If coming from Wagah (a tourist attraction itself) at the Pakistani border, take a cycle-rickshaw (Rs 15, 3 km) to the Attari station, where you can catch a local bus to Amritsar (Rs 15, 25 km). Taxis also use this route and charge around Rs 200(800 from the raja sansi airport) for the entire vehicle. Amritsar is about 32 km (20 mi) from Lahore.
- Changa Manga - A human-made plantation about 70 km from Lahore, which is worth visiting for all wildlife and nature lovers.
- Across the Ravi River is the town of Shahdara, where you'll find the tomb of the emperor Jahangir and his charismatic wife Nurjehan.
- About 35 km from Sheikhupura, is the shrine of Hiran Minar, which is a pavilion-like monument to a pet antelope of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The site was built on his former hunting grounds.
- The ancient city of Harappa was one of the first Indus Valley excavation sites; a must see if you're into archaeology. Harappa lies about 300 km southwest of Lahore