There are 21 monuments remaining in the present-day complex of the Lahore Fort. These monuments reflect the architectural characteristics of the historical periods they represent and the brilliance of the artistic excellence and workmanship of these eras. One of these buildings, known as the imperial kitchens, had lain in ruinous condition for a few decades. From 2016 to 2019, the Aga Khan Cultural Service - Pakistan and the Walled City of Lahore Authority took up the conservation of the historic imperial kitchens and its adaptive reuse under a 5 year development scheme for the Lahore Fort, which was approved by the government of Punjab.
The imperial kitchens, located in the south-western quarter of the Lahore Fort, served the needs of the royal palace during the Mughal and the Sikh periods. Its spatial connection to the royal residences was truncated in the mid-nineteenth century when the British built accesses and used this part of the Fort in general to house their sepoy barracks. As a consequence, this area of the Lahore Fort fell into increasing neglect. In the early days of British occupation it was used for storage of the garrison’s liquor, and at one time an upper floor was added above its eastern wing.
The conservation work was completed in the spring of 2019 and has resulted in the restoration of the historic structure including preserving the ruins in-situ. To make the interventions sustainable, and to give this previously neglected “heritage a function in the life of the community” in line with the World Heritage Convention, the rehabilitated historic structure is being used to provide a night-time dining facility as part of the general policy to extend the visitors’ experience of the Fort during night-time.
Immersed in breath-taking scenery something remarkable is taking place at Shigar and Khaplu. Graced by the beauty of the Karakoram Mountains and steeped in four centuries of folklore and legends, heritage and traditions are being revived and remote communities are showcasing their culture and themselves to the outside world.