Shah Burj Complex

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in partnership with the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has completed the conservation of the Shah Burj, Waterproofing of Sheesh Mahal Attic Roof, Naulakha Pavilion and the Drainage Improvement in Shah Burj Section in the Lahore Fort.
The conservation of Shah Burj was started in 2017 and completed in 202. The Shah Burj refers to a block of monuments located in the north-western corner of the Lahore Fort, which includes circa 635 ft segment of the Picture Wall as the apron wall, famous Naulaka Pavilion, Shah Burj Gate and the Sheesh Mahal Attic Roof and quadrangle at the upper level with serious water drainage related issues.
Under this project the Picture wall was also conserved. The conservation of the Picture wall western side was completed in 2019 and was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan. Similarly work on NW section of Picture Wall carried out from April 2019 to December 2020. The process of conservation included the stabilization and consolidation of the Picture Wall’s structure, as well as its decorative elements, and warranted the expertise of both heritage crafts as well as conservators. It also included excavation in order to expose the Mughal era floor level which is 7 feet below the present ground level and linking that with water disposal system. The total surface area of Picture Wall is 97,442 sq ft and 50% is completed with restoration 48,283 sq ft of façade area in Shah Burj section.
Similarly, the Shah Burj Gate, which forms part of the famous Picture Wall in the Lahore Fort, is the principal entrance to the Fort complex. The gate was constructed during the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631-32. The Conservation of the Shah Burj Gate was carried out from June 2019 to March 2020.
Naulakha Pavilion is a 17th century white marble monument from the era of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan (1932 AD). It has also been conserved under the Shah Burj Project components in June 2021. Consolidation of the entire pavilion was carried out by dismantling the damaged area in piecemeal and fixing the cracked marble pieces using thick epoxy and replacing the iron clamps with stainless steel clamps. For the decorative work a detailed grouting process was carried out using lime-based mortar in varying consistency filling the gaps behind the panels and ensuring reattachment with the brickwork.
In the same project the waterproofing of Sheesh Mahal Attic Roof was also done which was in a dilapidated condition. It was constructed under the reign of emperor Shah Jahan in 1631-32. Attic Rooms adjacent to Sheesh Mahal main area was in state of disrepair and need immediate conservation. Through this project, all decayed wooden elements of 6,335 sq ft roof, structural consolidation, conservation of decorative elements along with water rerouting is completed by January 2021.
Lahore Fort’s stormwater drainage system no longer functions properly due to successive transformations that have affected the drains. Through this project, detailed study related to the hydrology of the fort was completed and physical work on the lower drainage in the Shah Burj section is fully completed by December 2020.

Conservation of Shah Burj: The Shah Burj project was aimed at the conservation of some of the prime monuments of Outstanding Universal Value within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lahore Fort. The Shah Burj refers to a block of monuments located in the north-western corner of the Lahore Fort, which includes circa 635 ft segment of the Picture Wall as the apron wall, famous Naulaka Pavilion, Shah Burj Gate and the Sheesh Mahal Attic Roof and quadrangle at the upper level with serious water drainage related issues.
Project timeline: July 2017- January 2021
Donors: Royal Norwegian Embassy-Islamabad, German Embassy, Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and Aga Khan Trust of Culture (AKTC).

Components completed:

1.Picture Wall: The Picture Wall is one of the principal features of the Lahore Fort UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is 1,560 feet long with an average height of 50 feet and forms the west and north façade of the Lahore Fort. Built approximately 400 years ago during the Mughal era, it is one of the largest murals in the world embellished in cut glazed tile mosaic work, filigree work, fresco, painted lime plaster and cut brickwork. The western section of Picture Wall façade and related drainage work was completed in year 2019 that was inaugurated by PM Imran Khan on 4th May 2019. Similarly work on NW section of Picture Wall carried out from April 2019 to December 2020. The process of conservation included the stabilization and consolidation of the Picture Wall’s structure, as well as its decorative elements, and warranted the expertise of both heritage crafts as well as conservators. It also included excavation in order to expose the Mughal era floor level which is 7 feet below the present ground level and linking that with water disposal system. The total surface area of Picture Wall is 97,442 sq ft and 50% is completed with restoration 48,283 sq ft of façade area in Shah Burj section.

2.Shah Burj Gate: The Shah Burj Gate, which forms part of the famous Picture Wall in the Lahore Fort, is the principal entrance to the Fort complex. The gate was constructed during the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631-32. The Conservation of the Shah Burj Gate was carried out from June 2019 to March 2020.

2.Shah Burj Gate: The Shah Burj Gate, which forms part of the famous Picture Wall in the Lahore Fort, is the principal entrance to the Fort complex. The gate was constructed during the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631-32. The Conservation of the Shah Burj Gate was carried out from June 2019 to March 2020.

3. Naulakha Pavilion: Naulakha Pavilion is a 17th century white marble monument from the era of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan (1932 AD). Initial condition assessment showed deterioration of the historic marble mainly located on the west façade. Due to the missing chajja, rainwater had deteriorated the brickwork, remaining marble cladding and the mosaic tile work below. Consolidation of the entire pavilion was carried out by dismantling the damaged area in piecemeal and fixing the cracked marble pieces using thick epoxy and replacing the iron clamps with stainless steel clamps. For the decorative work a detailed grouting process was carried out using lime-based mortar in varying consistency filling the gaps behind the panels and ensuring reattachment with the brickwork. All restoration work including reconstruction of missing wall cladding and cantilevered chajja over the west façade is fully completed in June 2021

4. Waterproofing of Sheesh Mahal Attic Roof: The Sheesh Mahal is located within the Shah Burj Quadrangle. It was constructed under the reign of emperor Shah Jahan in 1631-32. Attic Rooms adjacent to Sheesh Mahal main area was in state of disrepair and need immediate conservation. Through this project all decayed wooden elements of 6,335 sq ft roof, structural consolidation, conservation of decorative elements along with water rerouting is completed by January 2021.

5. Drainage Improvement in Shah Burj Section: Lahore Fort’s storm water drainage system no longer functions properly due to successive transformations that have affected the drains. Through this project detailed study related to the hydrology of the fort was completed and physical work on the lower drainage in the Shah Burj section is fully completed by December 2020. Five interconnected Soakage wells (12 ft dia) with a depth of circa 75 feet are executed to collect and soak rainwater. To expose the original Mughal era floor, excavation of seven feet depth has been achieved along with the fixing of pipes, manholes grating, brick flooring etc. for the whole length of Shah Burj, where almost 400 rft pipe has been laid to connect the sunken area with soakage well and upper areas of Sheesh Mahal roof and quadrangle.