Lahore History Tour – Installment #5

Before entering the Lahore Fort through the Alamgiri Gate, if one looks exactly across from the gate towards the garden located between the Fort and the majestic Badshahi Mosque, here lies another important historical building of Lahore, known as Ranjit Singh’s Baradari or Hazuri Bagh Baradari.

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Hazuri Bagh (garden) is the original serai built by Aurangzeb at the time when Badshahi Mosque was constructed. However, this Mughalized attractive marble baradari adorning the garden, is a Sikh building, which was put together on the orders of Ranjit Singh. Its Mughal character is a reminder of the material removed from Mughal monuments and reused here.

According to historian Latif, various elements were “ruthlessly torn away from the mausoleum of Zebinda Begam, in Nawankot, the tomb of Shah Sharaff, outside the Taxali Gate, and other Mughal structures.”

The pavillion was constructed in 1818 and originally consisted of a basement and two stories above ground. Today you have to judge the building on the basis of its ground floor, for the upper storey collapsed in July 1932 due to heavy rainstrom and lightning. Because of paucity of funds, the top storey was never restored; however, the first floor marble fretwork balustrade, which had also been severely damaged, was restored three years later.

Elegant carved marble pillars support the baradari’s delicate cusped arches. The central area, where Ranjit Singh held court, has a mirrored ceiling. The baradari was the focus of regal displays during the Sikh rule. Although the throne was at the Lahore Fort, Ranjit Singh used the baradari for conducting functions of state.

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