Hiran Minar (The Deer Tower) – Sheikapurra Lahore
The Hiran Minar is an amazing location, north of Sheikapurra, about 40 km outside of Lahore. Although the drive was a daunting one, going via the old city and a ‘quiet’ Sunday on the roads, the Aussie in Lahore family survived the trip by following our trusted local friends along the way without getting lost!
This is a monument from the reign of Emperor Salim (1605-1627) and was a royal hunting ground.
The story goes he had a favorite deer, which he kept, and one day allowed it to go free. Some time later when hunting with friends he saw a deer and killed it, but un be known to him, he had in fact killed his deer.
The emperor becomes so sad that he ordered to bury deer in the ground where it died and build a tower called Hiran Minar. This was a very rare example of love towards a pet, a gesture of love towards wildlife in a time when the western world was even not familiar with such intentions.
As it stands today, after the collapse of its canopy on the top, the tower is 110 feet in height.
There are 108 steps on a spiral staircase lead to the summit of the minaret where rest the remains of Mansraj. (Now the door of stairs is closed, so this couldn’t be verified!) The top of minaret would provide an amazing view of the surrounds. In 1634, when Emperor Shahjahan stayed at his father’s favorite hunting site for three days, he ordered the construction of a Baradari surrounded by a water enclosed area. At the centre of each side of enclosure, a brick ramp slopes down to the water, providing access for royal animals and wild game. The Baradari is standing in the middle of the enclosed water area, and the entire structure was made waterproof, which stood so, for centuries until this day.
A unique feature of this particular complex is the antelope’s grave and the distinctive water collection system. At each corner of the tank (approximately 750 by 895 feet in size), are a small square building and a subsurface water collection system, which supplied the water enclosure.
This is a tranquil place, and well worth the drive and today it is seemingly used for picnics amongst local families and has waterboats which take visitors for rides upon the waterway.
A dense tree like jungle surrounds the side of the pool, with footpaths zigzagging their way over the mounds. On the opposite side the pool a tree-lined garden, with a canteen and some children’s play equipment awaits picnickers. The area is undergoing a major re-development at the time of our visit, and the grounds are not too ‘user friendly’ currently.
This is another of Pakistan’s ‘hidden gems’ and one which we have been fortunate to have visited, as we embrace the people and culture…
Aussie in Lahore…