Travel Journal Overview: I have been in, and lived in many Islamic countries, and have seen many mosques. To me their unique architectural outlines and structures are very unique in the world. Badshahi Mosque in Lahore was a lot more. The sheer scale of the courtyard alone was incredible, but it offered a beauty I can only describe as peaceful and serene. Not to mention the fact that the on site museum house a few special things too.
I headed to Badshahi Mosque in the morning. The courtyard was even more crowded than it was the other night. It seemed like school outings were all the rage. Rather than leave my shoes with the shoe minder at the Mosque entrance I packed them into my bag and headed in.
The mosque was built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. It was completed in 1673 after only two years. It’s said to house over 100,000 people which judging by the sheer size of the it, or rather its main courtyard is quite impressive. The surrounding bright terracotta walls contrast the slightly lighter tiles and the mosques three bright domes at the far end.
Inside, the mosque is not all that impressive, or big. But the black & white chequer flooring is quite nice and it made for some great photographs. I met some students who showed me how sound reverberates through out the mosque, and how whispering in one corner can be heard in a distant corner. Also a nice old man sat with me in corridor and began to chant. All in all I think they were trying to tell me the place sounded as good as it looked.
I decided to pay 5 rupees and visit the mosques museum where allegedly some artifacts of Prophet Mohammad are on display. I headed in and joined the long queue of people viewing various artifacts from the Mosques past. All kept behind rather grubby glass displays. Just ahead of me a young school girl group were staring in at a particular exhibit. When it was my turn I could see why they were staring. Or rather what they trying to stare at. On display was a hair from Prophet Mohammed, allegedly. I say this because the glass was so dirty it was next to impossible to see anything beside his hat, and staff. Where his single hair on display should have been, was a stand. And nothing much more.
I moved on, only to find the group of girls pointing and muttering between themselves at the next display. This time on full display, complete with stains, was Prophet Mohammed’s underwear. It was hard not to frown. The news media was in full swing about an English teacher in the Sudan who was going to be sentenced to prison for letting her children name a Teddy Bear Mohamed. And here in Pakistan I was looking at Prophet Mohammed’s Underwear on full display. . .
Hmm. I tried to take a photo but a broad smiling soldier type shook his head as he saw me rise my camera up. If only I had my phone out…
It made my day.
I wanted to come back to the mosque. It was a very beautiful place. I certain highlight of my trip. I toured around once again. The tourist guides were used to me shaking my head, and I enjoyed watching people coming and going here. It had a certain peaceful and friendly ambiance to it.
I went to the Forts high top restaurant for lunch and enjoyed a stunning view on the Mosque from the top. A snake charmer peddled his craft far down below as a crowd gathered. I think I paid more for the view than the food. So to aid digestion I took the Regal Inn’s advice and headed back through the old city. I should have learned that the Regal advice was not to my taste. And sure enough I was caught up in 2 hours worth of throat clenching traffic and people.
I wanted to spend more time in Lahore, there was plenty more to see, but with only 10 days for India it was time to move on. I grabbed a Beef Subway, the last of beef for a while I thought and headed back for my last night.
Some related links from this website that you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Pakistan)
Stories: The Pakistani Truck Painters
Stories: The Last Khyber Pass Journey
Video: The Wagah Border Ceremony
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