Royal Kitchens of Lahore Fort
Royal Kitchens, which might sound new to you, are located inside Lahore Fort behind the stately Alamgiri Gate. The site was a scene of wilderness till the Walled City of Lahore Authority planned to restore it to its original condition. The waist high shrubs were removed, and the area was excavated for the conservation. A proper documentation of the building was carried out by experienced architects and conservationists from WCLA, Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Archeology Department of Punjab.
The conservation of the Kitchens is now complete and will be turned into a night café for the tourists. The place will also be illuminated, and special dishes and ambiance will be provided to attract the tourists and visitors. A stage and open area has also been created there for cultural and musical evenings.
Historians quote that the Royal Kitchens were constructed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. It was where the food was prepared along with a wide variety of drinks and sweets. The helpers would carry the food from there to the private chambers of the king, queen, princes, princesses and other courtiers. When the Sikh took over the Lahore Fort, the Royal Kitchens were damaged like many other buildings inside the Fort. The kitchen was converted into a food store room and at the same time it was used as a stable for horses and other animals. The British in 1849 converted it into interrogation cells and jails. During that time the open verandas were closed with bricks and new structures like iron doors and beams were added along with the construction of an upper storey. The upper storey served as offices for policemen. The electricity supply lines, sewage system and water drains were laid during the British period. During the British Rule, another storey was added in the building. Some historians and architects claim that the structure we see today is the upper most storey of the building and the original kitchens are buried below. It is said that the Police Department used it as interrogation cells until late 1980’s, when they were handed over to the Archaeology Department. After partition the building of Royal Kitchen was agonized more than ever. The beams, wooden doors, windows were taken away. Maybe those were pulled down during the riots. The building was extremely dilapidated and later some of the dilapidated parts were demolished and the offices of Archeology Department were constructed there. The building that we see today is the remaining part of the huge kitchen complex. Much of the parts are demolished and many collided with the passage of time.