Historic Sites

Haran Minar

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Pakistan
 

About 25miles North-west of Emperor Jehangir's mausoleum in Lahore stands Haran Minar (Deer Tower), monument to an antelope that he loved dearly. In beauty and grandeur, it surpasses the tomb of his beloved queen Noor Jehan. Ironical though it may seem, it is not surprising, for Jehangir had no hand in building Noor Jehan's tomb.

Emperor Jehangir, known as Prince Salim before he ascended the throne, was affectionately called "Sheikhu" by his father, the Great Mongol, Akbar. He was great lover of beauty and his romantic disposition gave birth to many legends like that of his love for Anarkali and Noo Jehan. But Haran Minar perpetuates yet another legend, his love for animals.

From the 130 feet high, brick-built monument, one could have panoramic view of the era, which was once fertile jungle across River Ravi, favorite hunting ground of Jehangir.

Artificial lake, covering 648000 Sq. ft, reflects the image of the tower, its three-tiered octagonal "Baradari" and four small pavilions at the corners of the lake.

Haran Minar is another testimony of Mongol genius for construction. Unique in design, pattern and setting, Haran Minar adds to the glorious chapter of Mongol's love for building, edifices of great strength and grandeur, of noble simplicity and elegance. Sometimes they reflected their gracious way of life or their journey to the other world. On other occasions they were erected as an apotheosis of masculine chivalry or feminine grace.

The spacious Baradari stands in the center of artificial lake. A causeway supported by 20 arches lead to Baradari built on platform emerging from the deep blue waters. It is artfully designed to beat off the heat and humidity outside. Unfortunately, much of its interior decoration was damaged during Sikh occupation. The surviving floral arabesque stand out for their skillful design and glitter in their original polish.

According to popular legend, Emperor Jehangir had ordered the construction of these buildings to commemorate the death of his pet antelope, Mansraj. The antelope had no equal in fighting with tame as well as wild antelopes, and also served as an excellent bait for hunting wild animals.

On Northern side of Minar's base, there is small octagonal brick building, which is believed to be the grave of Mansraj.

Emperor Jehangir, however, recorded in his Tuzuk, "On my return from Kashmir in 1620 AD, royal standards alighted at Jehangirpura (Sheikhupura). During my prince hood, I loved this spot and it was my favorite hunting ground. Upon my orders, a building has been constructed and a village set up. Sikander Mubeen was given this pargana as a 'jageer' and made responsible for the upkeep of these buildings. After his death, this jageer was given to Iradat Khan, who completed these buildings. These buildings have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 150,000. The place is now worthy of kings."

It is believed that in the old days Haran Minar served as an excellent watch-tower to spot and shoot game and a lot of shooting takes place there.

 

 

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