The Royal Trail from Delhi Gate to Masti Gate is 1.6 km long route, which was used by the Mughals to reach Lahore from Delhi. This route possesses many landmark monuments like Shahi Hammam, Chitta Gate, Wazir Khan Mosque, Dina Nath Haveli and Well, Sonehri Mosque, Waan Market, Kasera Bazaar, Rang Mehal, Baoli Bagh, Kashmiri Bazaar, Dabbi Bazaar, Mariam Zamani Mosque and the Lahore Fort. The route holds a rich history and heritage significance
In 2012, The Walled City of Lahore Authority embarked on the Shahi Guzargah – The Royal Trail Project or the Shahi Guzargah from Delhi Gate to Masti Gate.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority has restored 1.6 km long Royal Trail (starting from Delhi Gate up to Lahore Fort passing through different streets and bazaars). this restoration of the trail includes two main components:
- Façade rehabilitation of the properties and ancient houses
- Infrastructure improvement of the entire area
During the work on Royal Trail, almost 1200 properties were restored. The ugly hanging wires and huge electricity transformers were taken underground. New sewerage and stormwater pipes were laid down and the open drainage system was covered for the first time.
Moreover, the telecommunication and Sui Gas services were also re-laid. This project was designed to improve the living standards of the local residents of the area. The project was designed to be completed in phases and till now phase 1 (Delhi Gate to Chowk Kotwali) and 2 (Chowk Kotwali to Masti Gate) are completed and work is in progress on phase 4 (Chowk Kotwali to Sonehri Masjid Chowk Rang Mahal).
Walled City of Lahore was a place that once gave birth to the stories of many writers, a view for the painters and a kingdom for the rulers. After numerous years of commotion, turmoil and tranquillity Lahore became a dream city in 1500s when the Mughal Empire made it one of its capitals. That was the time when the zenith of the city, majestic buildings in galore and monuments surged and the city started getting a new look.
The Lahore city was given a shape by the Mughal emperor Akbar, who built a thirty feet high fortified wall around the city with twelve gates and a Mori. The Mori was given the status of a gate later. Thus, Lahore became an alluring city of thirteen gates.
After 1947 the beauty of the city could not be kept unscathed and countless alterations and additions endangered the magnificence subconsciously. The utmost threat to the city’s heritage was the extent of continuous commercialization. The buildings and monuments were falling apart and no one was there to pay heed to the vanishing heritage.
Shahi Guzargah or the Royal Trail was also a forgotten part of the city which was inside Delhi Gate, one of the thirteen gates of Lahore. The trail having magnificent monuments was lost under the dust of times and Delhi Gate was damaged due to negligence and ageing, Shahi Hammam
was encroached upon by almost fifty-two shops and was breathing its last while the Havelis were crumbling and Wazir Khan Mosque was all encroached upon by almost seventy-eight shops and lost behind them.
The locals had started moving out of the walled city and the Havelis and the monuments were desolated. At the same time, the heritage lovers and historians were also fearing that this place might lose its pure identity.
In 2012, the government of Punjab realised the severity of the matter and established Walled City of Lahore Authority to take up the restoration and maintenance of the entire walled city. as per the functions of the Authority, WCLA took up the restoration of the Royal Trail and now more than half of the Royal Trail is rehabilitated and package – 4 (as mentioned above) is being restored.
It is good to see that the residents of this part of the city are now happy and getting all the modern infrastructure services but in a concealed manner. To clean up space a solid waste management plan was also implemented and now you will not see any waste or garbage lying in the streets or the main trail.
With the restoration of the trail, tourists started coming to see this part of the city and thus for the first time the walled city of Lahore was made a brand and marketed before the public. Tourists came and visited all parts of the city and for the first time street tourism picked up.
This was a new life given to the dying heritage and very soon other parts of the city will also be restored on the same lines.