In the historic city of Lahore, on the road that led southwards to Multan, the Chauburji gateway remains of an extensive garden known to have existed in Mughal times. The establishment of this garden is attributed to Mughal Princess Zeb-un-Nissa, 1646 A.D., which appears in one of the inscriptions on the gateway. Zeb-un-Nissa was Emperor Aurangzeb’s eldest daughter: patron of the arts, poet, and a keeper of several lovers, according to rumours. Born in 1638 to Dilras Bano of the Persian Safavid dynasty, she was Aurangzeb’s close companion for several years. Loved by Aurangzeb, she was named carefully to reflect his station.
Plaque at the Maryam Zamani or more popularly known Begum Shahi mosque. The year is 1313 Hijri more than a hundred years ago and all the proud protectors of faith the calligraphist, the financier and the Khateeb have left their names for posterity to remember.
The stamp on the girder of the small railway underpass at ‘Workshop Chowk ‘ crossing in Gulberg gives its date as 1908 and the name of the bridge builders from Howrah. The railway line came much earlier but this opening must have been made later or replaced? in 1908.
Present day Gulberg was laid out in the 1950’s but the earlier settlements the two villages of Guru Mangat and Theh Pind continue to live in the footprint of their narrow winding layout within the grid iron layout of planned Gulberg. Perhaps the underpass was created for express service for movement to the cantonment from the villages or the cremation ground which was across the railway line.
Villages of Guru Mangat and Theh Pind from 1927 map of Lahore. Rifle range on right is just off the present day Jinnah flyover.