UNDERGROUND TUNNELS OF LAHORE – NOT MYTHICAL BUT A REALITY!

UNDERGROUND TUNNELS OF LAHORE
NOT MYTHICAL BUT A REALITY

NO ONE INTERESTED IN OUR LEGACY

You heard about them again and again in our myths, about the underground tunnels of Lahore. The oldest reality is that when a Fort was besieged, there was always an underground tunnel for the King or the Commander to escape into under ground chambers and out in the open country. Even the Governor House Lahore has a British period escape route. The myths point to long distance tunnels, between cities. It is famous to Lahore to this day that a tunnel connected it to Delhi itself. Tunnels under Sheikhupura Fort, under Nur Jahan’s mausoleum, and what not? In fact even Father Sebastian Manrique was taken through one of these tunnels from the Palace of Nawab Asif Khan to the city of Lahore in 1644. The tunnel from Attock Fort, built by Emperor Akbar, across the river Kabul is famous to this day. And yet modern writers doubt the engineering skill of the Mughals to have undertaken such a task, and reject these ideas a mere ‘hogwash’. The interesting part is that it is hogwash to reject anything without research. One conjecture is being replaced with another conjecture. To reject engineering possibilities of the Mughals is not looking at the various water systems associated with monuments, and the way the bridges were built in those days, which still stand without having moved an inch in four hundred years. There is a record in manuscripts of ‘Insha Harkiran’ of a Ravadari, or a passport given to Ustad Ahmad Mimar (architect of the Taj Mahal), giving him permission to cross the river Attock, as he was on official duty there of  Emperor Akbar (then at capital of Lahore). But what about those who have seen the tunnels actually?

boats bridge near attock fort

boats bridge near attock fort

Dr Abdullah Chaghatai talked of the tunnel unearthed outside Mochi Darwaza, where a man could easily walk in it, as well as taking a horse in it. The tunnel linking the Shahi Mosque of Maryiam Zamani with Lahore Fort has been seen by many. The tunnel going under the Sheikhupura Fort towards Hearn Minar is there to this day. Many years back the Police unearthed a tunnel linking a village near MUREEDKAY to Indian territory. It seemed that regular smuggling of alcohol was going in these tunnels from the Indian to the Pakistan side. It was part of the ring of famous Chaudhry smuggler, Dilawar of the area. Even the entrance to the tunnel near Attock Fort towards Kabul river is known to this day (completed or not is unknown).

Rough caves unlike Mughals

Rough caves unlike Mughals

Lahore is slowly being bought completely by the Pathans. Already they own a great percentage of the old city of Lahore. Each one of them with a shop on ground level,  has at times, not one, not two, but even three to four basements down the ground. And these underground basements are linked together by underground lanes. Yes, lanes under lanes in Lahore. Containers of smuggled goods come in Lahore and go underground in broad daylight with the connivance of all those concerned and disregard of all consequences. A labour force is in operation and this labour force has tales to tell.

Caves of terrorists

Caves of terrorists

I have interviewed many labourers who do this at night time. The way it is done is remarkable in itself and most dangerous in all cases. A floor is taken and a iron and cement covering is given to it. Then a corner is dug, and  a trench dug from one corner to the other. Say ten feet deep. On this trench a wall is made which falls under the cement iron roof. This is repeated on all four sides. Then with the uses of donkeys, the earth in this enclosed room is taken out. Once that is done, cement is laid on all four sides, and a entrance made on the roof, with stairs down to the lower floor, which is made now. This is repeated three or four times. At some places the digging goes to 30 feet, at other places even more. After that sand comes under the surface, speaking of the ancient Noah’s flood in Lahore.

I have got samples of the ten layers of earth unearthed under Lahore. Yes, ten different layers, ten different times. Remarkable for any historian or archaeologist, but here, nobody is bothered at all. Materialism has replaced love for culture.

I interviewed a labourer namely MR S, as he doe not want his identity revealed to anyone. And he told me the strangest thing possible. Yes, he said here is a tunnel under Lahore, going towards Delhi,and he said that at regular intervals, there were niches in the wall, for lamps. And not only that, there were regular inscriptions on the wall too. I could only cry at this neglect of our heritage. Inscriptions in underground tunnel could tell us what no history book can. But who cares? I do, but what does it matter!

Bridge on river Bara built by Lutufullah Muhandis

Bridge on river Bara built by Lutufullah Muhandis

9 thoughts on “UNDERGROUND TUNNELS OF LAHORE – NOT MYTHICAL BUT A REALITY!

  1. .

    Pathaans are everywhere, in every city and qasba in Punjab. While in rural areas they are a class who is considered hard working on low wages, but in cities they have established themselves through mostly illegal means. They’ve got ground support from their lower class as a community. Its not happening, it has already happened around the ISB-RWP twin cities, and the same happening around Lahore. The worst thing is Afghan intruders who are now officially Pakistani with all kinds of lawlessness in their roots.. Our law enforcement has rotten and failed already 2 decades back !
    .

    Tunnels ? ……….. we ll keep losing our heritage unless until our culrural and heritage ministries’ bureaucratic structure is replaced by conservationists !

    .

  2. .

    سوچنے والوں کی دنیا ، دنیا والوں کی سوچ سے الگ ھے ۔ واصف علی واصف

    I know I’ll sound contradictory to you, but in my humble view a conservationist is also a sufi of its kind !

    .

    1. We have ourselves saved so much that nobody will believe but we are not Sufis, we are the microbe of infinite passionate mind

  3. Hi!

    I am an MA art student. I have to do a research paper..I would be very glad if u would like to share more information about this topic.

    Reagards,
    Minaa Haroon

  4. Hi!

    I am an MA art student. I have to do a research paper..I would be very glad if u would like to share more information about this topic. anything picures if u have or can guide me about this topic

    Reagards,
    Minaa Haroon

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