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Honking, monuments, greenery...Dilliwala at home in Lahore

Friday April 15, 2011 05:39:50 PM, Shilpa Raina, IANS

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Lahore: There's something about Lahore that sets any Dilliwala pondering over the similarities between the two cities. Right from the Mughal architecture, the imposing colonial buildings to the strong Punjabi accent, the resemblance is too strong to miss.

As you walk down the streets of Lahore, the lush greenery, over-bridges, flyovers and the wide roads will make you believe that this city and the Indian capital are identical twins separated a long time ago.

The Urdu signboards and advertisements bring you back to the reality of walking around in a Pakistani city and not Delhi.

But a visit to the old city, and there are more reasons to indulge in some kinship. What is popularly called 'shehr' is a replica of Old Delhi, and is also known as the 'walled city of Lahore'. There is an old world charm to the place, which is always full of activities and a lot of hustle and bustle.

Donkey carts, truck-art embedded autos, roadside eateries, innumerable congested lanes -- this part of the city is always alive with eateries serving well past the wee hours.

The place also boasts of Mughal era architecture. The most prominent of all is the Badshahi mosque which has a striking resemblance to the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. Built in 1673 by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, it is the second biggest mosque in Pakistan with a capacity of accommodating as many as 55,000 worshippers in one go.

Unlike other Mughal buildings, the intricate work on the walls and the roof has been rightfully preserved.

Then there is the Lahore fort, very similar to the Red Fort, but in rather bad shape. It's a Unesco World Heritage Site, and restoration work is going on to preserve the beautiful 'Sheesh Mahal' inside. The fort gives interesting insights into how various rulers used a particular building as per their convenience.

But the real experience of watching these breathtaking sites for a visiting IANS correspondent is from Cucoo's Cafe or Andaaz restaurant off Fort Road, and that too at night, which gives a rare view of the extraordinary architectural marvel frozen in time.

With the gentle breeze, delightful food and a great view, Lahore is quite the place to be.

Coming to life in the city, to someone from Delhi or even from Karachi, it could seem a bit conservative. You won't come across many girls clad in jeans and kurtas - though in high-end society, girls in short dresses or jeans are not a rare sight.

Lahore has a lot to offer in terms of recreational activities as well -- parks, markets, cafes and high-end fashion boutiques can be easily sighted.

And just like Dilliwallas, people here too believe in showing off their best outfits. So you won't miss men clad in Gucci suits and women carrying Jimmy Choo bags at parties.

Coming over to traffic, again we have something in common. The honking, the impatience is just so Delhi-like. And getting stuck in a traffic jam at peak hours is a routine people here have got used to.

Located a little over 400 km of each other, Delhi and Lahore have a lot more in common than just a shared history.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at






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