Morning Walk in Shahi Mohalla, Lahore

Shahi Mohalla also known as Heera Mandi is a red-light district and a bazaar located in between Taxali Gate and Roshnai Gate, Lahore, Pakistan. The market was originally the center of city’s tawaif culture in the Mughal era. However, under the British colonial period it became a hub of prostitution. Within the market, women and hijras (transsexuals) offer traditional and classical dances. From the British colonial period till today, it remained a center of prostitution in Lahore under the veil of dances.
During the day the place is much like other Pakistani bazaars and is known for its good food.
Shahi mohalla of Lahore is located in the very pious location of Lahore surrounded by Badshahi mosque, Data Darbar and Imam Bargah Gam e Shah. One has to appreciate Lahore for its extremely tolerant nature.

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The famous Shahi Mohalla of Lahore now has changed a lot. The Havelis opposite Roshnai gate now serve as Food Street where the house owners have converted portions of their houses to restaurants which serve the best and the most expensive local food in Lahore because of the location and the view of Badshahi mosque Lahore.
One of the restaurants is cukoos den which is owned by the retired Professor and very famous painter Sir Iqbal Hussain  who belongs to the family of Shahi Mohalla and is famous for painting scenes from everyday life is this area.
Before government turned this into Food Street this whole area used to be inhabited by drug addicts who used to live next to wall of the fort and Badshahi Mosque. In the past 10-15 years this whole place was cleared and gardens restored and the facades of the houses renovated and converted to restaurants to bring in tourists and lahori people who had always loved this place for food.
In the night the area of Food Street is a delight to visit, with ghazals, live music, old Indian movie songs and traditional Lahori food with the view of mosque and fort to top it all up.

Inside areas of the Shahi Mohalla are still the sex markets.
In the morning while walking from Roshnai Gate towards the famous Phajja Paye wala the area is busy with food stalls selling all sorts of Lahori breakfast including paye and halwa puris and garam jalebis. In the morning one rarely sees any women. All men are outside in the streets or sitting in the balconies/ kothas. We see children playing in the alleys. People are friendly they don’t harass and are very cooperative if asked for being photographed. Life in the mornings is very much like any other mohalla in Lahore.

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view of mosque from Fort Road
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View of mosque from Fort Road
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renovated portions of pre partition havelis converted to restaurants
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well maintained gardens which once were inhabited by drug addicts
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peacock resting on a Mughal era well in the garden

 

Roshnai Gate

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Renovated havelis outside Roshnai Gate serving as restaurants

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Food Street

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Street Food

Famous Phajja paye wala

 

crispy jalebis in the making

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Takatak Brain Msala

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Prepartition Peerzada Mansion

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details of peerzada mansion

 

Street Cinema

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street dhaba with a movie house

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Roshnai Gate Church Lahore

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Madari

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Man making bead necklaces

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making necklaces

 

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wasted his life waiting for his love

Man with pure white hair and beard

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Horse Stable for horses that dance on weddings

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Children in the morning

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eating breakfast

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Kothas/ Balconies in the morning

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balconies/ kothas in the morning

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Janoo House

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Few details of Pre Partition houses

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Inside and on the roof of one house

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Streets of Shahi Mohalla

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Remains of Demolished Tarranum Cinema

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men enjoying snooker

 

Shrine of Sabz Peer

From the thickness of walls of this shrine and architectural style and details it seems this shrine was built in late Mughal era.

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Few ducks outside the shrine

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Some more houses from the outside

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7 thoughts on “Morning Walk in Shahi Mohalla, Lahore

  1. This reminds me my childhood when we as kids used to go undroon city at my khala’s house and used to rent VCR and watched movies all night and than early morning walked to manar-e-pakistan. We passed by phaja pie wala and all that. Awesome memories. Photography is great.

    Liked by 1 person

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