Travelling down Mall Road, Lahore, Pakistan
Mall Road in Lahore is also known as Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Asam for Mohammed Ali Jinnah, one of the founders of Pakistan and its first prime minister.
This hub is only about a part of Mall Road which is one of the longest roads in Lahore. There are many buildings of historical and cultural value. Many are from Mughal and colonial times. Most of them were built in the time of the British Raj.
Like all other parts of the city, Mall Road has something of everything. There are the huge banks and commercial buildings, shops of all shapes and sizes, tea stands set up at the side of the road, boys carrying sacks picking up rubbish to see if they find something of value that they can sell to earn a living.
Normally, Lahore is alive with people, noise, traffic and smoke from vehicles. Many drivers seem to think their engine in not working right unless they see a plume of blue. It is very unusual to see an empty street but some of the photos in this hub are silent, there is a hush in Lahore. It is a holiday and that is why there is no traffic. The shops are closed except for small stands like the one shown which make tea and serve snacks.
There are many places in the Road, including:
National College of Art
Zamzama, that is Kim's Gun, famous from Kim by Rudyard Kipling
Lahore Stock Exchange
Quite a few of these places I visited when I was in the city. One place which was very interesting is somewhere that is normally quite ordinary, but in Mall Road there is a KFC restaurant which is run entirely by deaf people. On the walls are pictures of sign language. I am glad that I had a chance to go there because it was something I have never experienced anywhere else. It was another thing that I could add to my list that is good about Pakistan.You can read about it here:
Anarkali Bazaar is a place I like too. It is named after a slave girl who was said to have been buried alive behind a wall for having an affair with the king's son. You can read more about her here on this site:
The bazaar has almost everything anyone could need. But not all shops there will bargain. At the shoe shop I bought 2 pairs of shoes for 250 rupees each and the man there said they were cheap enough and he would not reduce them. He would not have bargained and I would have left without them if I had been determined. The same shoes sell in England for at least £20 so I would have been foolish to complain at paying £2.
The Communist Party of Pakistan has a huge hammer and sickle on the roof. They are only allowed to put up a sign in Urdu but it is unmistakable.
I visited the Punjab Public Library. It was built in 1884, they have thousands of books and over one thousand old manuscripts. I especially liked the open sided reading rooms. They are built in the Mughal style which favoured such constructions because they are cool in the summer heat.
It is near to the Lahore Museum which is really the wonder house Rudyard Kipling called it in his book Kim. His father John Lockwood Kipling was one of the curators at the museum.
But no museum built in Victorian times would be complete without a statue of the Queen herself. The museum deserves a hub all its own and I plan to write one.
Tollington Market was built in 1864 to house exhibitions of arts and crafts of the Punjab. In the 1920s it was changed to a market. In 2005 when I first was in Lahore the building was being refurbished and is now a museum. Unfortunately, I did not visit it but on my next visit certainly I will.
As I have already said this is only a small portion of Mall Road, there is so much more. You can see the boy in the tree, the view from the GPO and the signs of wealth and also poverty. Even the poor people have a smile for a photographer as you can see on the faces of the boys with the sacks.
Mall Road has many faces and it would take thousands of words to describe even just this one road in the huge city of Lahore. Lahore is a place that you must experience in person. You cannot learn about it from a few words on a page. I sit and think of it and hear it in my memory. I show these few pictures so you can get a taste of it but it is not enough. You must live and breathe it. The beauty, richness of buildings and landscapes, also the dirt and poverty, the history and modern buildings and life. It makes me homesick for it. I have only been there twice but it certainly had a profound effect. That is one thing about Pakistan. People who visit either love it or hate it. If you love it you want to keep going back.