Shahi Hammam, Delhi Gate, Walled City, Lahore

Shahi Hammam, Delhi Gate, Walled City, Lahore
SCAFFOLDING poles cover a portion of the Shahi Hammam, located near the Delhi Gate in the walled city, Lahore. It is currently undergoing restoration work by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

WAZIR Khan, a physician, built the Shahi Hammam for Emperor Jehangir’s wife. But why? “She had a blister on her foot and wanted someone to cure it without any physical contact. Wazir Khan asked her to walk on sand where her feet left imprints. He identified the area of the blister, placed a piece of mirror there on the sand and told her to walk again on her own footprints. When she did this, the mirror burst the blister and the injury was healed. She rewarded him for this and he reciprocated by building her the Royal Bath.”

Farhan Shah narrated this story to me avidly, clearly reflecting his affiliation with old Lahore. His family moved to the walled city in the mid-1700s. Shah’s company, Old Lahore Walkabouts, takes people on tours to the walled city, which for him is a monument in itself. I was fascinated but also curious whether the story he had told me was a myth or actual history. But for Shah, the stories behind the structure are just as important as the tangible restoration. “I don’t see a story as true or false and don’t concoct any on my own,” he tells me. “Restoring myths is important for us. I want people to experience the ethos of that time when they come here. These stories have existed for hundreds of years. They are reflective of the thought process of the people of the subcontinent.”


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Author: ismailimail

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