World Largest Picture Wall is becoming Pakistan’s biggest tourist attraction!
A pleasing ambiance and positive vibes surround you when you stride into the Lahore Fort.
The walls of fort recount the tale of rich legacy left by Mughal emperors.
I was flabbergasted and enchanted with the fact that we have the world’s largest picture wall is in the heart of Pakistan, and I don’t even need to get a ticket or travel long to get a sight of this mural wall.
So I didn’t even put it in my to do list plan, I just grabbed my phone, made a call to the Walled City Authority fellows and within an hour, I was standing in the gateway of Lahore Fort.
I always get awestruck with the charismatic spell of this mesmerizing heritage site. With every single breathe; I try to draw the entire aura and the splendor in my soul.
Pakistan is so rich in culture, art and heritage. Lahore is not the capital, but the enriching asset of the country that opens doors to a rich historical bequest to the natives and the visitors as well.
The symbol of Mughal royalty and grandeur, Lahore Fort, is worth a visit to all who are fond of emblematic art, serenity and elegance and it was named on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981.
The majestic picture wall was one of the strong reasons of this privilege.
This exquisite picture wall is mirroring not only the chronological events in Mughal epoch; but also enumerating sports, food, natural world and the lifestyle of the Mughal emperors through the murals.
Akbar, the Great Mughal Emperor built this wall, but its decoration with vibrant colors, paints and design was instigated by Jahangir in 1624-25 A.D and later consummated by his aesthetically strong heir, Shah Jahan, in 1631-32 A.D, who was famed for his love for exquisiteness and art.
The conservation of the western side of the world’s largest picture wall inside Lahore fort has been completed by Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
Preservation of the fascia was started in January 2018 when an archetype manifestation on a small panel was done.
According to Wajahat Ali, Project Head and Manager Conservation and Design, Agha Khan Cultural Service Pakistan, it was a complicated process; first of all an analysis was done, then a proposal was designed and a small area for peer review from international experts was developed, and an international workshop was held to study the methods and techniques used on the wall.
It was done for the very first time on such a large scale for a Heritage site.
Later the consolidation, preservation, reconstruction and the presentation work were done successively.
Damaged bricks, on this startling wall turned into a wreck, were replaced, cracks were rectified and tiles bulging were clogged.
The main issue in the conservation work was water seepage that needed to be resolved on priority basis; otherwise all the upkeep and maintenance would not have become fruitful.
Due to debris and shards, the existing floor level was 6 to 7 feet down.
So while renovating and conserving the great wall, the real floor is also exposed and British barracks and tunnels are astonishingly discovered and now are the part of exhibition there. The major question, that how to drain out the water from top of the wall and the lower area is also addressed.
It has become the biggest project with reference to the scale and size with figurative, tile mosaic and marble work and the unique expertise used to rejuvenate it. International connoisseurs from Germany have lent a hand to cope with the bio film and fungus growth on the different parts of wall.
For surface presentation, expertise from Italy and for fresco, Sri Lankan experts have helped. For architectural corrections and tile mosaic, French skilled professionals became part of the team.
The total length of the picture wall is 1450 feet and 50-70 feet high whereas the western side which is conserved is 350 feet long and 50 feet high with 635 decorated recessed panels composed on three levels.
This transformation story is just about the western side of this grand mural picture wall. The remaining Northern part is 80 percent of the world largest picture wall and is said to be completely conserved by 2021.
The Director General Walled City Lahore Authority Kamran Lashari says, “This project is among the best specimens of conservation in this region. This great wall of Lahore has gained a new life. We will soon be taking up the conservation of the northern side as well. The conserved picture wall be shown to the tourists in guided tours and will also be elaborated to them so that people get to know its importance and uniqueness”.
The Deputy Director Media and Marketing WCLA Tania Qureshi says, “This Picture Wall is unparalleled for the dazzling brilliancy of its gorgeous, glazed-tile mosaic ornamentation. This wall is festooned with the several scenes of battling elephants, rearing horses, angels from ancient Persian mythology, lions, leopards, camels, graceful flying birds, tigers hunting deer, spotted dragons, men playing polo, hunting lions, and leading tame antelope on leashes.”
Roaming around this great wall, I could feel myself travelling through the time in the eon of Emperors, prince and princesses, facts and their transition into the folklores. But every brick, every tile mosaic or a frieze is recounting a tale of the long gone centuries. I feel jubilant for this living wall as it is going to have so many art lovers, artists, visitors and enthusiasts around, from all over the world.
May love for art and architect bloom.
And I hope that this spectacular and breathtaking landmark will unlock fresh and better avenues for tourism in Pakistan.