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Himalaya

Day 26: Lahore

Lahore, Pakistan 
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Lahore Fort. Steps built wide and shallow enough for visitors arriving by elephant.
Michael Palin - HimalayaIt was in one of these, so the story goes, that Emperor Akbar noticed his son Jahangir exchange flirtatious glances with the Emperor's favourite courtesan, Anarkarli, aka Pomegranate Blossom. As a punishment Akbar ordered her to be walled-up, alive. When Jahangir became Emperor he built a grand tomb at the place where she died, on which were written the words:

'Ah, could I behold the face of my beloved once again, I would give thanks until the day of resurrection.'

The curator sniffs and sighs. Not because he's moved by the story, but because he says it never happened. True or false, Anarkali has become a folk hero for many Lahoreans and the main market of the city is named after her.

Another gem, the Naulaka Pavilion, has less gruesome romantic attachments. Its canopied roof, an exquisitely carved blanket of marble, said to be modelled on a Bengali hut, covers walls and pillars intricately decorated with tiny carved panels filled with stones of agate, lapis lazuli, gold, jade and cornelian. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz, of whom he must have been pretty fond. When she died he built the Taj Mahal for her.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 26: Lahore
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Lahore
  • Book page no: 55

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