5 Reasons Why Lahore Should Be Top of Your Bucket List

India might well be on the bucket list of every millennial traveller, but what about its neighbour Pakistan? This varied country land verdant hills and awe-inspiring mountains, and perhaps most impressively is the world’s sixth most populous country, with more than a whopping 200 million people living there. Droves of people flock to the cities each year, and one has caught our attention more than most: read on to find out why exactly you should visit the diverse, vibrant streets of Lahore.

Because It Has Inspired Some Incredible Literature

 

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If you’re a fan of reading stories about your destination before you get there, you’re spoilt for choice in Lahore. Moisin Hamid’s famous The Reluctant Fundamentalist caught the attention of many, and for good reason. Both this and his equally brilliant Moth Smoke focus on the lives of ordinary people in Lahore, and create a vivid world brilliant for getting you in the mood for discovery! If you’re more in the mood for humour, reach for Bapsi Sidhwa’s The Crow Eaters, which chronicles the adventures of Freddy Junglewalla as he moves his family – complete with irate mother in law – to Lahore.

Because It’s Full To Bursting With Culture

 

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Often referred to as the cultural heart of Pakistan, Lahore boasts a clash of lively festivals, boisterous music and delicious food. Its history is full of different peoples, and there are plenty of impressive buildings around to prove it. Lahore Museum is one of these, its red stone contrasting with the bright blue sky. Nowadays, it’s renowned for its impressive collection of Buddhist art, as well as the Mughal and Pahari paintings. Pop in to escape the heat and explore the exhibits – it’s well worth a poke around! If museums just aren’t your thing, talk your way into a haveli, gorgeous historic houses scattered through the old city. If you don’t fancy brushing up on your Urdu for the talk, try Haveli Nau Nihal Singh, which is now a school and welcomes visitors in the late afternoon after classes. If you’re looking for something really unusual though, seek out  the Lahore Fort Elephant Path. Just as the name suggests, these steps were built to accommodate elephants with royals mounted on their backs, in order for the royals to have to walk as little as possible. Close your eyes and imagine the elephants, clad in vibrant silks and jewels, heading up the passageway – it’s an impressive image!

Because There Are Green Spaces, Too

 

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In case you’re one to feel claustrophobic, or you just fancy getting out to enjoy the sunshine, head over to Shalimar Gardens. Built during the Mughal era, this maze of waterways is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts, when properly maintained, three terraces complete with waterfalls and ornamental ponds. Alternatively, honour a furry pal by heading over to Hiran Minar, an erstwhile hunting complex which features a tower that was built in honour of an Emperor’s pet antelope. And if you want to stay within the metropolis whilst seeing nature, check out Phool Mandi, the flower market. You might not be able to treat yourself to a bouquet, but the vibrant colours alone make for an incredible picture, and the energy is infectious. We recommend heading over in the morning, before the crowds really hit!

Because You Can See Something Peculiarly Eccentric

 

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Because of Lahore’s position close to the border with India, you’ll have the chance to pop along and experience a performance both fun and a tiny bit outlandish: the Wagah-Attari border ceremony. The border itself is about 17  miles from Lahore – 18 miles from Amritsar on the Indian side – and takes place every day before sunset. Ostensibly, the ceremony is to close the gates and lower the flags of both countries, but what you’ll find when you get there is a lot more entertaining. Law enforcement agents from both countries parade along the road, performing a few impressive moves while they’re there – Monty Python would be proud. There seems to be quite some competition over which side can kick their legs higher – and trust us when we say that these guys are way more flexible than we are! The crowds will cheer and sing, so get ready to get swept up in a proud euphoria. Bear in mind that women and men are separated for the seating, and that foreign tourists get the second best seats (behind the VIPs), so bring your passport along if you’d like to claim that. You’re allowed to bring in cameras, but no bags – it is a border after all!

Because The Food Is To Die For

 

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Last but certainly not least: the food. We could wax lyrical about all sorts of cuisines from around the world – dealcheckers pride ourselves on it! – but Pakistani delicacies are definitely up there. Expect rich, decadent dishes reminiscent of northern Indian cuisines, though you’re likely to find more meat in the meals in Pakistan. It’s even likely to be in your breakfasts: nihari is a popular morning dish, and consists of tender strips of meat in a rich spice and ghee broth. We reckon it could soon be your favourite food – though those who are more squeamish might want to avoid nalli nihari, which incorporates brains… Don’t worry if you fancy sticking to cornflakes, though – there are plenty of other opportunities to try out Pakistani cuisine! How about going for the iconic karahi, a tomato, onion and meat curry, which also comes with a dollop or two of ghee. Veggie? Indulge in haleem, a Middle East-inspired chickpea and barley masala dish. Mouthwatering! 

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About Felicia
Felicia

When she's not writing for dealchecker, you can generally find Felicia reading on a beach, or paddleboarding down a quiet river trying not to think about crocodiles. She has plans to live all over the world, and misses the food in Thailand very, very much.

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