I hope this is the beginning of a number posts and articles about people's experiences and memories of heritage in Pakistan. Of course the easiest people to start off with are the people around me. The friends and family, who have either grown up in Pakistan, frequently visited or also have an interest in Pakistan for a variety of reasons. Their different opinions and experiences will hopefully give some interesting insights into the relationships people have with the past in the modern day. And in the process also introduce the true diversity and richness of our cultural heritage.
I’ll begin with the first person to respond to my queries, my younger cousin Hatim. A Pakistani Arab who was born in the UK, raised in Pakistan and is now studying Computer Science in Pakistan. In his own words he wants to be introduced as ‘Boss man 100’. Whether that is true or not can be debated elsewhere. Hatim chose to talk about one site in particular, Badshahi Masjid. A place very dear to the hearts of the people of Lahore as it is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture but is also a place of prayer and community.
“Growing up in Lahore you see tourists who come to visit for many reasons but undoubtedly the most toured spot in Lahore is Badshahi Mosque. The Badshahi Mosque or ‘Emperor’s Mosque’ was built in 1673 by the most famous Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. A whopping 320,000 sqft of beautiful red sandstone and marble, consisting of 3 Domes and 8 Minarets and is able to accommodate 100,00 people at once. Offering a beauty that can only be described as peaceful and serene.
I have visited many islamic countries over the years and visited some beautiful and magnificent mosques but the ones that intrigue me the most are the ones with history behind its walls and ‘Lahore’s Jewel’ is an excellent example of the Mughal era and its architecture and what came to follow.”