Destination Pakistan Guide

Destination Pakistan Guide

Hiran Minar

Unveiling the Splendor of Hiran Minar: A Testament to Jahangir’s Love for Wildlife

In the heart of Sheikhupura – a city brimming with history, stands the magnificent Hiran Minar. It’s a towering masterpiece that soars 30 meters into the sky. Its origins trace back to the year 1606 when it was commissioned to honor the memory of Mansraj, a cherished pet deer of the illustrious 4th Mughal emperor, Jahangir, also known as Prince Saleem. During Jahangir’s reign from 1605 to 1627, Sheikhupura held the prestigious status of a royal hunting ground. In fact, the Mughal rulers had an ardent passion for the art of hunting. Remarkably, Hiran Minar still stands today in splendid condition, continuing to captivate the hearts of tourists from around the world.

The Birthplace of Hiran Minar

Formerly known as Jahangirabad, Sheikhupura derived its name from “Sheikhu,” the affectionate nickname of Emperor Jahangir himself. Positioned approximately 40 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Lahore, Pakistan, modern-day Sheikhupura boasts a rich historical legacy. Hiran Minar, nestled about 9 kilometers west of Sheikhupura, graces the cityscape with its majestic presence.

Unraveling the Hiran Minar Complex

Hiran Minar encompasses not only the monumental tower but also an eastward-facing octagonal two-story structure crowned with an open pavilion. The very structure is known as Daulat Khana or Bara-Dari (of twelve doors). This structure sits at the very heart of a rectangular water tank. Notably, both Daulat Khana and the tank were additions made in 1607 and 1620, respectively. It’s worth mentioning that the term “Baradari” might be somewhat misleading, as it typically refers to a structure with twelve openings. Whereas, Daulat Khana is an octagonal building that features only one entrance on each side.

Daulat Khana served as a cherished royal retreat for the emperor, accessible via a bridge extending westward from the tower. The ground floor of Daulat Khana grants entry from the four main directions, leading to smaller square rooms, which in turn, provide access to the king’s chamber. This central chamber, surrounded by eight subordinate rooms, forms the heart of Daulat Khana. Among these eight rooms, four are square and of smaller dimensions, while the remaining four are octagonal, boasting a more spacious layout. Every room offers pathways to the central king’s chamber as well as connections with one another.

The Enigmatic Water Tank

The water tank encircling Daulat Khana features charming pavilions adorned with pyramidal roofs and entrances on all four sides. Notably, each side of the tank is equipped with shallow brick ramps. The ramps provide easy access to the resident wildlife of the hunting park, allowing them to quench their thirst. The water level within the tank was meticulously maintained through a network of channels and catchment basins.

A Monument Born from Love

The tale that led Emperor Jahangir to order the construction of the tower and a grave for his beloved deer is both poignant and remarkable. Tragically, the emperor accidentally put to death Mansraj while attempting to hunt another deer in the very area where Hiran Minar now stands. Overwhelmed by grief, Jahangir made the heartfelt decision to inter Mansraj at the very spot where he had met his untimely end. In memory of his cherished pet, the emperor commanded the construction of Hiran Minar. Subsequently, the once-royal hunting ground was transformed into a protected sanctuary, and the practice of hunting was strictly prohibited.

This extraordinary tale stands as a rare testament to the profound bond between man and wildlife. It’s a symbol of reverence for animals in an era when such sentiments were virtually unknown elsewhere in the world. Hiran Minar not only graces the landscape of Sheikhupura but also stands as a testament to Jahangir’s enduring love for his favorite deer, Mansraj, and his commitment to preserving the natural world.

Intriguing, historically significant, and a true marvel of architecture, Hiran Minar remains an enchanting destination for travelers seeking a glimpse into the past and a profound connection to the natural world.

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