A nurtured castle: Lahore Fort gardens to blossom again

WCLA planting species of plants originally planted at the fort.


Amel Ghani July 14, 2015
WCLA planting species of plants originally planted at the fort. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE:


The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has been working on the restoration of Lahore Fort to its historical grandeur. Enhancing greenery at the fort is part of the plan, WCLA Marketing Director Asif Zaheer said on Tuesday.


“With help from historical documents, we are planting the varieties of plants and trees that were originally grown at the fort,” Zaheer told The Express Tribune.

These include mor pankh (thuja), amaltas (cassia fistula), molsari (mimusops elengi) and Dhaka grass. He said the authority had also planted raat ki rani (cestrum) for its sweet fragrance.

“We have used micronutrients, urea and Dhaka grass for the main gardens. The fort’s lawns were in a bad shape and vast area was barren,” Zaheer said. He said the wild growth of plants was a big challenge. The authority, he said, had used special sprays to prevent native plants from growing again.

At some places the removal of over-grown plants has made the floor visible, which according to Historic Research Assistant Director Samina Abid, would envisage a new study to determine their use. “The area near the canteen has become visible revealing tiles from the Mughal and British era,” she said.

WCLA Parks and Horticulture Director Ahsan Khalid said revamping the gardens had been on their agenda for a while but manpower shortage had prevented them from doing so. “We now have appointed a gardener and a deputy at every section of the fort to look after plants,” he said.

Director General Kamran Lashari said the gardens were a vital component of the fort. Calling the greenery the “soft side” of the fort, he said he would make sure that the authority took good care of the new plants. “We hope that the endeavour will help attract visitors. Restoration of greenery will give the fort a lively look,” he said.

The WCLA says that due to limited funds, it has been making only minor interventions within the fort. The authority has re-introduced characters such as chobdars from the Mughal era.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.

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