Shahi Hammam ( royal bath) is discovered in the Lahore fort which is said to be aged back to Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign. It was not seen before because it was buried under 100,000 cubic meter of debris. The section was neglected behind the Jahangiri Quadrangle and near the fort’s Akbari Gate.
According to the expert of Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) the structure is a mark of the earliest settlement inside the fort during Akbar’s era and it was revealed after removing almost 100,000 cubic feet of debris.
According to resources the Shahi Hammam was the part of Akbari Palace initially and later it was rebuild with the additional extensions by Mughal emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb other sides.
“Previously, the area was neglected and had been turned into a junkyard where piles of debris and garbage could be seen,” sources said.
Walled City Lahore Authority blamed Department of Archeology for neglecting the different parts of the fort and so important places like the Barood Khana [British-era arsenal] and Royal Kitchens were also buried under debris and wild plantation. “New structures are being revealed since after WCLA took up the task to clean the fort.”
The Lahore Fort has a lot of hidden scientific and architectural mysteries yet to be studied that could help us understand our royal history of advance technology and social systems.
“The fort had been lying abandoned and only the main monuments that include Deewane Aam, Sheesh Mahal, Jahangir’s Quadrangle and Shah Jahan’s Quadrangle were open for tourists. As WCLA took the control of the fort, it started cleaning the no-go zones. Previously, the fort was in a pitiable condition but now prominent change can be seen,” sources said.
While talking to the media the WCLA Conservation and Planning Director Najam Saquib told media about this discovery he said,
“It is evident from the plan of the fort that this structure was a part of the Akbari Palace and is among the earliest constructions there.”
He said that red sandstone, kankar lime plaster and layout of the royal bath is similar to the one in Delhi Gate area of the Walled City. “There are proper water and steam channels inside the bath and the décor is also simple. The chimneys can also be seen.”
Saquib added that the area was among the neglected parts of the fort, however, now that it has been discovered, the authority will take up its conservation and restoration as soon as the documentation process is completed.
It is such a misfortune situation since years that the Fort is only open from few sides for the tourists. Last year some progress was seen when Summer Palace was opened for the first to conduct Lahore biennale.
A lot of work has been done for the purpose of restoration in the old buildings of Lahore under Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA). Up till now the work on the restoration and preservation of Masjid Wazir Khan, Shahi Hammam and Picture Wall of Lahore Fort is under progress. While this process is going on a lot if historical facts have been discovered. Preservation of these buildings will not only help to preserve the architectural asset of nation but also aids in preserving the craftsmanship of inner city.