Archaeologists have unearthed a shahi hammam (royal bath) from Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign in Shahi Qila.
Officials from the Lahore Walled City Authority (LWCA) discovered the ancient bath after clearing over 100,000 cubic feet of rubble, Express News reported. The bath is situated behind the area where Emperor Jahangir’s living quarters were located. The structure is largely well preserved as it was constructed using red sandstone bricks. The original water channels and chimneys to let out steam are still intact and clearly visible.
The design of the grand bath at Shahi Qila is similar to the royal bath built at Delhi Gate, with the former being relatively smaller. Open baths similar to this one had been found inside Shahi Qila before. However, they could not be restored by archaeologists owing to the intensive damage to the structures.
Sania Qureshi, the spokesperson for the Lahore Walled City Authority, said the grand bath was discovered during restoration and maintenance work at the royal fort. Documentation for the new discovery will soon be completed, she said. The spokesperson added that the grand bath was being preserved in line with UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) standards after which it would be opened for public.
The authority was preserving and restoring different parts of the palace with support from international NGOs and donor agencies. The projects included an ancient arsenal, a royal kitchen, a basement and tunnels as well as the grand picture wall, which is one of the largest royal palace walls in the world.
Most of these projects had already been completed, but work on many parts was still in process. A senior officer from the archaeology department stated that the new discovery was not a royal bath, but a bathroom that the Mughals used.