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Akbari Sarai

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September 30, 1637
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Mirza Firuz Shah
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Architectural and Building
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Humayun 1530–1556

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DESCRIPTION

The Akbari Sarai (Urdu: اکبری سرائے‎) is a large caravan inn ("sarai"), located in Shahdara Bagh in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Dating from 1637, the sarai was originally built for travelers, as well as for caretakers of the Tomb of Jahangir. The sarai is most notable for being the best-preserved example in Pakistan, as well as for its large gateway that is richly embellished with pietra dura that serves as a portal to the tomb of Jahangir.


History


Despite the name of the structure, Akbari Sarai was begun during the reign of Islam Shah Suri in the mid 1550s, and not during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The mosque at the sarai dates from the Suri period, though the cells which line the complex, and its gateways, date from the Shah Jahan period in the mid 1600s. The sarai served as both a station for wayfarers, and also a mail station known as a dāk chowkī. The sarai was administered by an official known as a Shāhnā with several assistant caretakers. The 180 cells around the courtyard were used as living areas and storage spaces for luggage, weapons, and other gear carried by visitors to the tombs. Fodder for animals, hot and cold water, and bed steads were provided free of charge. The sarai also had a physician, as well as a resident baker, and a water well located outside of the walls of the sarai. As with many sarais, a small bazaar may have run between each gate. Maharajah Ranjit Singh converted the complex into a cantonment of one of his foreign generals, Musa Farangi, who used to live here with his platoon. The site was severely damaged during the British era, when it was used as a rail depot following the construction of the nearby rail line.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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