The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) will open its first tourist information centre at Delhi Gate after Eidul Fitr, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Talking to The Express Tribune, WCLA Tourism Deputy Director Waqas Satti said, “The Delhi Gate has been restored and our office there will start functioning there after Eid.”
He said the authority planned to set up such information centres at gates of the city.
“These information centres will welcome and guide tourists. We will also provide brochures, booklets and maps,” he said.
Muhammad Javed, a tourist guide at the WCLA, said many people were visiting the places of historical significance in the Walled City.
“We have a great number of tourists visiting the Walled City. The Delhi Gate centre will be a great help in attracting domestic and foreign tourists,” Javed said.
WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said the Walled City was the heart of Lahore. “The information centre will revive tourism and help people access the historical places located in the Walled City,” he said.
Asif Zaheer, the marketing and tourism director, said the WCLA had organised a two-month training course for its tourist guides. “The guides have been trained in conducting tours,” he said.
Zaheer said several private organisations had contacted the authority for participating in the tours.
Zaheer said there would be four tourist routes. “The first route will be from Delhi Gate to Fort Road. The tour will take around two to three hours. The main historical sites on the route will be the Delhi Gate, Shahi Hamam, Haveli Bejnath, Masjid Wazir Khan, Sonehri Masjid, Baoli Bagh, Pani Wala Talaab, Langa Mandi, Chowk Heera Mandi, Food Street and the Lahore Fort,” he said.
“The bazaars covered in this tour are: Delhi Gate Bazaar, Akbari Mandi, Dabbi Bazaar, Rang Mehal Chowk, Waan Market, Kasera Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Bangles Market, Moti Bazaar, Langa Mandi Bazaar, Heera Mandi Bazaar,” he said.
Zaheer said the second route would be from Mochi Gate to Fort Road and the duration of the tour would be two to four hours. “The main historical sites on this route will be Masjid Saleh Kamboh, Lal Khoo, Chowk Nawaab Sahib, Mohallah Shiaan, Mubarik Haveli, Haveli Wajid Ali Shah, Takia Sadhuaan, Haveli Mian Khan, Chohatta Mufti Baqar, Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed’s house, Sonehri Masjid, Baoli Bagh, Pani Wala Talaab, Langa Mandi, Chowk Heera Mandi, Food Street and the Lahore Fort. The bazaars the tourists will visit are: Dry Fruit Market, Mochi Gate Bazaar, Chohatta Mufti Baqar, Siriyaan Wala Bazaar, Kasera Bazaar, Waan Market, Kinari Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Bangles Market, Moti Bazaar, Langa Mandi Bazaar and Heera Mandi Bazaar,” he said. The third route will be from Lohari to Fort Road and it will cover Lohari Gate, Food Street, Chowk Bukhari, Chowk Jhanda, Mandir, Victoria School, Lal Haveli Square, Haveli Dhyan Singh, Langa Mandi and Chowk Heera Mandi.
The fourth route will be from Bhati Gate to Fort Road. The main sites will be Bhati Gate, Allama Iqbal’S house, Qamar Manzil, Faqir Khana Museum, Naqsh Art Gallery, Chowk Heera Mandi and Shekhupurian Bazaar. The tourists will also visit Bhati Gate Bazaar, Bazaar-i-Hakeeman, Tehsil Bazaar, Bazaar Judge Muhammad Latif, Tibbi Gali, Sheikhupurian Bazaar, Neecha Chaitraam, Fort Road and Food Street.
Zaheer said individual tours of gates, havelis, mosques, monuments and bazaars would also be arranged.
“The WCLA is also working on engaging private companies to organise the tours,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.