On October 25, 2014 Saqib Qayyum Choudhry, published in Dawn the list of ten photographs of famous monuments of Pakistan which have been selected by a jury to send to the prestigious ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’, the biggest photography competition in the world. This year, Wikimedia Foundation, the California-based non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia, supported ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’ in Pakistan for the first time .Globally, the 2014 version of the contests saw more than 8,750 contestants in 41 countries across the globe, who submitted more than 308,000 photographs throughout the month of September. From Pakistan, more than 700 contestants from across the country submitted over 12,000 photographs, all under a free license, which means they can now be re-used by anyone for any purpose, (even commercially), as long as the re-user attributes the photographer. However these photographs do not carry any description making it difficult for those not familiar with these icons of Pakistan’s culture to fully appreciate them. Accordingly I have written a one paragraph description, based on the material given in Wikipedia, of each photograph as a ready reference.
Tomb of Jahangir in Lahore. —Photographed by Sohaib Tahir
The Tomb of Jahangir, a mausoleum built for Emperor Jahangir (1605 to 1627) is located in Shahdara Bagh in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. After his death at Rajauri in 1627 he was buried on the banks of the River Ravi in the large walled garden of Empress Nur Jahan and this tomb was built and completed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1637 AD, at the cost of ten Lakhs Rupees.The tomb, along with the adjacent Akbari Sarai and the tomb of Asif Khan, is on the tentative list as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The interior of the mausoleum is an elevated sarcophagus of white marble, the sides of which are wrought with flowers of mosaic in the same elegant style as the tombs in the Taj Mahal at Agra, India. On two sides of the sarcophagus the ninety-nine attributes of God are inlaid in black. Carved jali screens admit light in various patterns facing toward Mecca.
Tomb of Dai Anga in Lahore. —Photographed by Muhammad Ashar
Tomb of Dai Anga along with the mosque is situated near the railway station of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Zeb Un Nisa aka Dai Anga,a wet nurse of Mughal King Shah Jehan and well respected in the royal family, built this mosque in 1635 AD, before she went to perform Hajj. Her family was closely associated with the Mughal Empire. Her husband Murad Khan served Emperor Jahangir as Magistrate of Bikaner, and her son Muhammad Rashid Khan, was the best archers in the kingdom, and died fighting in the service of Shah Jahan’s eldest son Dara Shikoh. Shah Jahan highly regarded Zeb Un Nisa. The exterior of the mosque has been embellished with fine tile work similar to that seen at the mosque of Wazir Khan in Lahore. The interior also displayed fine frescoes previously; unfortunately these have largely been replaced by cheap modern ceramic tiles.
Tomb of Bibi Jawindi in Uch Sharif. —Photographed by Shah Zaman Baloch
The Tomb of Bibi Jawindi is one of the five monuments in Uch Sharif, Punjab, Pakistan which are on the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The shrine was built in 1493 by an Iranian prince, Dilshad,for Bibi Jawindi who was the great granddaughter of Jahaniyan Jahangasht, a famous Sufi saint. The site is located in the south-west corner of Uch, a historical city founded by Alexander the Macedonian. The tomb of Bibi Jawindi is an important site for visitors and is considered one of the most ornate monuments in Uch. Both the interior and exterior of the building are richly decorated with Islamic scriptures, carved timber, and bright blue and white mosaic tiles known as faience. Over the centuries, the tomb was badly disintegrated due to environmental conditions and during torrential floods in 1817, half of the structure washed away. Today only the remaining half of the structure is still standing.
Derawar Fort in Bahawalpur. —Photographed by Ali Mir
Derawar Fort is a large square fortress in Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan,was built by Hindu Rajput, Bhati of Jaisalmer and remained in the hands of the royal family of Jaisalmer until captured by the Nawabs of Bahawalpur in 1733 The forty bastions of Derawar are visible for many miles in Cholistan Desert. The walls have a circumference of 1500 metres and stand up to thirty metres high. The nearby mosque was modelled after that in the Red Fort of Delhi. There is also a royal necropolis of the Abbasi family, which still owns the stronghold. The area is rich in archaeological artifacts associated with Ganweriwala, a vast but as-yet-unexcavated city of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. —Photographed by Ali Mujtaba
The Faisal Mosque, the second largest mosque in Pakistan, is located in the national capital city of Islamabad. Completed in 1986, it was designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, who won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the project. The Faisal Mosque was conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan and named after the late King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who supported and financed the project. The largest mosque in South Asia, the Faisal Mosque was the largest mosque in the world from 1986 until 1993 when it was relegated to fourth place in terms of size. The mosque’s architecture is modern and unique, lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques around the world. The mosque’s unusual design is a departure from the long history of South Asian Islamic architecture, fusing contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin’s tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. However, unlike traditional masjid design, it lacks a dome. The minarets borrow their design from Turkish tradition and are thin and pencil like. The shape of the Faisal Mosque is an eight-sided concrete shell inspired by a desert Beduoin’s tent and the cubic Kaaba in Mecca, flanked by four unusual minarets inspired by Turkish architecture
Lahore Fort in Lahore. —Photographed by Rohaan Bhatti
The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila (Emperor’s Fort) is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. Spread over 20 hectares, its origins go as far back as antiquity; however, the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal, Sikh and British rulers. The fort manifests the rich traditions of Mughal architecture. The origins of Lahore Fort are obscure and are traditionally based on various myths. Lahore Fort and the city from (1799–1849) remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-e-Panjab, and his sons, grandsons and wives, until the fall of the last Sikh empire or the Lahore Darbar in 1849.
Pakistan Monument in Islamabad. —Photographed by Abdul Baqi
The Pakistan Monument, located at the west viewpoint of the Shakarparian Hills in Islamabad, (Pakistan) was designed by Arif Masood and is a national monument .While the blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan’s progress as a rapidly developing country, the four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces (Baluchistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh).The three smaller petals represent the three territories (Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas). Designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country and depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement, the monument has been dedicated to those who sacrificed themselves for future generations. From air the monument looks like a star (center) and a crescent moon (formed by walls forming the petals); these represent the star and crescent on Pakistan’s flag.
Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. —Photographed by Shagufta Karim
The Wazir Khan Mosque, described as ‘a mole on the cheek of Lahore’ is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and a governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan, a popular title bestowed upon him (the word Wazir means ‘minister’ in Urdu and Persian).Within the inner courtyard of the mosque lies the subterranean tomb of Syed Muhammad Ishaq, known as Miran Badshah, a divine who settled in Lahore during the time of the Tughluq dynasty. The tomb, therefore, predates the mosque. A movie “Khuda Ke Liye (For God Sake)” based on what Islam allows and what people think what Islam allows, was filmed in this very Mosque.
Noor Mahal in Bahawalpur. —Photographed by Muhammad Ashar
The Noor Mahal is a palace in Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. Built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines, it belonged to the Nawab of Bahawalpur princely state, during British Raj. Mr. Heennan, an Englishman who was the state engineer, designed the building. It has 32 rooms including 14 in the basement, 6 verandas and 5 domes. The design encompasses features of Corinthian and Islamic styles of architecture with a tinge of sub continental style.
There are various stories regarding its construction. According to one legend, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV, who was also known as the Shan Jahan of Bahawalpur for his passion of constructing beautiful buildings, had the palace made for his wife; however, she was only there for one night, as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there, and so it remained unused during his reign..
The building was declared a “protected monument” in September 2001 by the Government of Pakistan’s Department of Archeology, and it is now open for general public.
Shah Jahan Mosque in Thatta. —Photographed by Ovais Waraich
The Shah Jahan Mosque, located in Thatta, Sindh province, (Pakistan) was built during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who presented it as a gift to the people of Sindh for their hospitality. It has been on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list since 1993.The mosque is built with red bricks with blue coloured glaze tiles probably imported from the town of Haala, Sindh. It has a total of 93 domes. It was built keeping acoustics in mind. A person speaking on one end of the dome can be heard from the other end when the speech exceeds 100 decibels.