Lahore is the best city in Pakistan!

Published: October 26, 2013

Lahore has no no-go areas like Karachi. Wherever I go in Lahore, it is home to me. PHOTO: REUTERS

Every city or town in Pakistan is famous for one thing or the other. However, for us Lahoris, all arguments cease to matter before our simple motto – Lahore Lahore ae (Lahore is Lahore).

Here are a few reasons as to why I’d choose Lahore over any other city in Pakistan.

Data ki nagri

Pakistan is very fortunate that many great sufi saints lived in this part of the world and all our major cities have different shrines. But not many cities have a title like Data ki nagri. The shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri brings many to Lahore and keeps many connected to the city, spiritually.

The Data Darbar in Lahore.

The food

In Lahore, what do you when you’re happy?

You go out and eat.

What do you when the weather is nice?

You go out and eat.

What do you do when you want to hang out with friends?

You go out and eat.

What do you do when you’re bored?

You go out and eat.

Photo: Reuters

I know that Gujranwala has its tikkay and kasuri falooda, and that Karachi’s Burns Road’s nihari is famous too, along with Peshawar’s Namak Mandi and so on and so forth, but when you have it all (and so much of it) in Lahore, you wouldn’t find the same foodie happiness anywhere else.

Love food?

Come to Lahore!

The people

We all know that Lahoris are called zinda dilaan (lively) but how can you define this zinda dili? Ask a visitor and he’ll reduce it to hospitality. However, I have a different point of view on it. Here is an example.

Once, while waiting at the traffic signal at Lakshmi Chowk, I asked my brother, who was on the driving seat, if he’d like to have some laddoos. He gave me a strange look because I didn’t have any with me. I asked him to wait a minute and then began looking at the fellows having laddoos in the car beside ours. The moment he saw me looking at those laddoos with wishful eyes, he immediately offered them to me saying:

Paa ji lawwo

(Hey brother, have some)

To me, this is zinda dili, with a twinge of humour. You can crack a joke with an absolute stranger, be it a shopkeeper, a rickshaw driver, a policeman or any passerby and enjoy the company of a hearty laugh! They will never disappoint you.

People enjoying a dhol performance in Lahore. Photo: AFP

The hustle and bustle of Karachi doesn’t let people have this luxury. When I tried the same thing over there, I got a strange ‘what’s the deal with you man!’ look.

There are no no-go areas, unlike in Karachi or some parts of KPK, I’ve been warned by people to avoid using my phone in public in Karachi even during the day! But here, I can walk on the street in the middle of the night, to an ATM, whilst texting and nobody would care.

The parks

Lahore is green. I love that about Lahore. There are so many parks. You’ll always find them crowded no matter what time you go there. You’ll find families out for picnics, kids playing, uncles walking and the view of everyone peacefully going about their business compliments the scenic green beauty even more. The green around Lahore and the mountains in the north of the city provide us with unending luxuries and modes of entertainment. As we go south of Lahore, the cities become drier and drier until we reach the beaches of Karachi, the only form of entertainment there.

The heritage

Yes, Lahore has its fair share of historical places but that is not what I mean when I say heritage. The heritage of Lahore includes its way of life, its people, its poets, its artists and its streets. You can feel the aura of that rich heritage even when you sip a cup of hot chai at the Pak Tea House. Islamabad isn’t old enough to have that aura and Karachi has become too modernised to lug its own heritage along.

Pak Tea House in Lahore. Photo: Files

The climate

They say that 10 out of 12 months in Karachi are hot, while the other two are extremely hot. There might be some exaggeration there but it’s mostly humid in Karachi. Islamabad gets quite cold and its springs have too much pollen for my liking. But if you want to experience the thrill of every season, Lahore would never let you down!

A rare glimpse of Lahore covered in snow and ice. Photo: Files

In spring, Lahore’s beauty blooms along with its spring flowers; the site is stunning. In the summers, there are days we easily cross the 50 degrees Celsius mark and you can actually feel your skin cooking. This doesn’t last very though because by the time we start taking out our summer wear and enjoy trips to swimming pools, it’s time for the next season to arrive. During the monsoons, we like to load up on a lot of mangoes and jamuns while we watch the city be washed clean by the heavens. Before we can notice the colourful rainbows peeking forth from the clouds, it’s time for autumn to take over. We are really never bored, here in Lahore. Autumn has its own charm, the old architectural delights, decorated with fallen autumn leaves is an artist’s paradise. When famous poet, Nasir Kazmi, was asked by a friend as to where he was going in that afternoon, he replied that he was going to Lawrence Gardens to see the autumn leaves. The winters here have something truly magical about them! Aside for being my favourite season, they are also some of the most fun seasons we have. Bonfires and barbeques come to life and the winds carry the sound of music throughout the city.

The markets

Lahore’s people are beautiful and that makes its markets a pleasant shopping experience. Have you ever been to Anarkali, Bano Bazar, Rung Mahal or Liberty Market? If yes, then you know what I mean.

There is Hafeez Centre as well – the solution to every computer and mobile related problem, under one roof. A friend of mine believes that Hafeez Centre is reason enough for him to never leave Lahore.

A scene at a market place in Lahore. Photo: Files

I’ve spent my fair share of time (and not so much of money) at Landa Bazar too. I won’t mention the cool new fancy malls because Karachi has them too, and probably better.

I will, however, leave you with this beautiful verse by Nasir Kazmi that can sum up why Lahore is Lahore;

Shehr e Lahore teri ronaqien dayem aabaad

Teri galiyon ki hawa kheinch k layee mujh ko

(O City of Lahore, may your incessant fervour last forever

The winds of your streets pulled me back to you)

If you haven’t been to Lahore, then you are missing out. If you have been to Lahore and didn’t like it, let me know when you are coming next and I’ll make sure you have a good time. If you have been to Lahore and loved it, come back! There is always more, and that is why, Lahore is Lahore.

Muhammad.Aleem.Zubair

Muhammad Aleem Zubair

A chartered accountant in Lahore who loves cricket, food, poetry and music . He holds expertise in Auditing & Business Advisory, teaches and conducts corporate training every now and then. He tweets @aleemzubair (twitter.com/aleemzubair)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Was that the best you could come up with ??
    Last I went to Lahore some years ago the few historical places like the Fort, the Shalimar gardens, the Museum, Shai bazar, were sadly in a state of neglect.
    Its not always all about food and a ‘ hail-fellow-well met ‘ attitude……there’s so much more that makes a city.Recommend

  • Waqas

    Karachi Karachi hai….
    Karachi is world’s third biggest city, It has most of industrial growth in Pakistan and in South Asia, It has doubled business than in Lahore, Karachi has more Highrise buildings and there is also good infrastructure all in the way.
    You can’t judge a city for just if it get a metro bus service. I like Lahore but it is not best than Karachi. Karachi is almost bigger than world’s 70 countries.
    If you are going on Traditional color then Karachi has its own culture and history.Recommend

  • Zaid

    just that sometimes people like to burn christian homes or attack ahmadi worship places…otherwise its all cool hereRecommend

  • Siddiqui

    The caption is a non-starter. It should read Lahore – one of the best city in Pakistan. And being best is a relative term, different likes and dislikes for people.Recommend

  • Ammar

    Lahore offers much more than this…

    Mr.Pervaiz, my Q is whether did you just find a state of neglect of those places?thats all what U have?

    Well! please specify, some years?

    Its a city of wonderful people with open hearts…Lush Green Roads…modern architecture along with cultural heritage…Best educational Institutes…modern Transit systems…Big markets…and above all PEACE…:)

    hope it may have satisfied you…Recommend

  • Sara

    There
    is something called, ‘research’, which is required while writing a
    blog. Poor analogy, the author is perhaps totally unaware of Karachi
    except of the fact that there’s a beach here. This blog really lacks
    research. This is what happens when people who have no knowledge of
    journalism and writing skills, write blogs and gets them published as
    well.Recommend

  • Salman

    The author wishes to create a cold war between the people of different cities of Pakistan. Please stop this non-sense and think about Pakistan. Next article you’d come up would emphasize more on a particular area.
    Personally, karachi was chosen by Quaid e Azam and I think that Karachi is WAY better than Lahore.Recommend

  • Ali Tahir

    I simply love visiting to Lahore but after 3 days I kind of miss the peace and cleanliness of Islamabad. But nothing can take out my general love for Lahore and its awesome culture!Recommend

  • blue bird

    lahore and punjab are developed at the expense of rest of the pakistan.
    pakistan military, cricket team are example of this dominance.Recommend

  • Nash

    Just want to say… bro do some research before publishing articles like this! perhaps u have never been out of lahore!Recommend

  • FD.Sheikh

    Stay optimistic Salman. All cities are and ought to be dear to every Pakistani. :) there is nothing wrong if you come up highligiting a specific part of your country, it is renowned for. :) We also love Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar equally… and all other cities of Pak. It is our home. :) :)

    RegardsRecommend

  • Nouman

    Karachi has also lush green roads(go to gulshan)…modern architecture(go to clifton)…cultural heritage(go to saddar)…best educational institutes(KGS,IBA,NED etc)…Big Markets(empress market, defence sunday bazar)
    As far as peace is concerned,media exaggerates the things. Law and order is not as much bad as it is shown in media. Akhir kar 2 crore log bhi tou reh hi rha henRecommend

  • Sal

    You can see kundas hanging from the electricity wires in the picture above. Is that the best shot you could get??Recommend

  • ADNAN RAUF

    so biased article creating hatred among contrymen. it seems ha has got tunnel vision which can see lahore only… why has he compared lahore with karachi? true karachi is facing problems for quite some time but still we love karachi infact whole PakistanRecommend

  • jin

    yeah right all Karachi has is blood stained roads and paan spatted walls. eww. I fear even thinking about that damned city. I wonder how all celebrities manage to live in such a horrifying city. Move the drama/tv industry to Lahore cuz Lahore is just love <3Recommend

  • jin

    so does this mean u can ignore the recent efforts taken by Lahore development authority’s multi million program to restore the old walled city? Granted some places were neglected but not anymore, look at Lahore fort then and now and soon rest of the places u have complainted about will be completely transformed under Lahore development authority corruption free passionate efforts to make Lahore even more beautiful. Just give it some time or better, why dont u contribute with them instead of expecting others to do the work for u.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Yet another attempt to instigate racism, which is clearly seen from the comments below, like the india pakistan hatred, it seems its the same with lahore and karachi. May Allah fill our hearts with love for each other.Recommend

  • Karachi Bhai

    perhaps this is also symbolic, portrays mindset of Lahoris. Unfortunately most of the people in Punjab of in Pakistan or Lahore are all there all the time to steal or cheat somebody.Recommend

  • Unknown

    yup lahore is good but by eating all the money of saraiki area. Similarly karachi is good because it eat up all the money that other wise would have helped sindh to improve.
    In USA, smaller cities use to be more beautiful than large cities.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Don’t get upset and don’t get me wrong. I have been going to Lahore over the years the first time must have been in late 1950’s as a child and possibly the last wast was some 3 odd years ago and I love going to Lahore especially because of the open, friendly, big hearted response one gets. My concern, because Lahore is in fact more than what the author has portrayed, is that sites of culture and beauty have decayed due to neglect , no harm in admitting that . Simple small example the water system in the Shalimar Gardens functioned on the principle of gravity and I have seen the gardens in its full glory. The last time I went it resembled a garbage dump and even the pumps installed were out of order let alone there being no water to pump.Recommend

  • Yousaf

    I am from lahore but really very city has positive and negative qualities. So Mr Muhammad Aleem Zubair stop being enemy of Pakistan by prefering one city over another. Love Pakistan no in fact entire Globe.Recommend

  • Umair A. Khan

    Haters gonna hate and potatoes gonna potate.
    Though I completely agree with Siddiqui’s comment, I just want to say that well done author and keep it up.Recommend

  • Gaurav

    Lahore was ancient Lavapuri founded by Luv, son of Raja Ram Chandra, so should be good.Recommend

  • Dante

    This is a blog to pen down your personal thoughts. It’s not the type of blog that necessitates holy sermons on journalism and research.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Author:

    I have never visited any Pakistani city, so have no opinion about the Laore Karachi rivalry. But i found this article as a nice window into Lahore thought the eyes of a Lahori. Good stuff.

    I think that if you had titled it as ‘why I love Lahore’ rather than ‘Lahore is the best city in Pakistan’, perhaps you would not have faced such strong reaction. But perhaps you were not the one that chose the tile?

    @Parvez, surprising comment from you. Very unlike you to dismiss a city in the 2 lines that you did. What gives?Recommend

  • Meeru

    Karachi has everything and much more, even though Lahore is absolutely beautiful. I thought about listing down at least two dozen places, (mostly historical) but then I realized- why would do I even need to prove something to someone who has a CLEAR bias towards Karachi.

    I’m completely disappointed in Express Tribune to allow an article CLEARLY, and EXPLICITLY highlighting a discriminatory comparison between two major cities of Pakistan. The author is only creating divide between an already divided nation.

    For the author;

    تم دودھ مانگو گے تو ہم کھیر دینگے ، لیکن تم کراچی مانگو گے تو ہم چیڑ دیں گے

    (Tum doodh maango gey toe hum kheer deingey, leykin tum Karachi maango gey toe hum cheer deingey)Recommend

  • Truth

    And Mumbai’s GDP is almost equal to a Nuclear Power Country “Pakistan”Recommend

  • Dj Voltameter

    Fail to understand why trainful of people migrating everyday to Karachi from “the great Lahore” including TV And film artists. Author enlighten us pleaseRecommend

  • Parvez

    Hey jin, I’m a Karachi guy and have no inhibitions in admitting that Karachi has serious issues, way more than Lahore has.
    One hears that good work is being done in Lahore…….good for you.
    Lets hope you’ll also do something about the tamasha ( very poor taste ) at the border and bring it back to the dignified ceremony that would be in keeping with the venue.
    ……and yes, the nan khatai, pateesa, hareesa ( on the foot path on plastic chairs and folding tables ) and the list goes on…….is out of this world.Recommend

  • Fact

    Dharavi (Hindi and Marathi: धारावी; also spelled Daravi, Darravy, Dorrovy) is a slum in Mumbai, India. It is the largest slums in the worldRecommend

  • islooboy

    stupid indianRecommend

  • islooboy

    but one thing (namaloom afraad) is a real deal breakerRecommend

  • islooboy

    though i am kashmiri from father side but youre comment is irrational after 18 th amendmentRecommend

  • islooboy

    thats an indian comment rip offRecommend

  • fze

    Lahor, lahor ey! No other city can be compared to it. It is a city of gardens, city of food, city of culture, city of universities (education) and off course it has its own feel.i.e laid back attitude. People carry a laid back attitude, ” ho jaiga bhaa ji, fikir ee na karo.” I LOVE Lahore!Recommend

  • fahad zia

    Talk about food, you cannot get a decent biryani in lahore, makhni handi has a peice of butter on top of handi.. people really need to redefine what food is..Recommend

  • Pro Truth

    Not a very complete review of Lahore as a city i must say! It certainly didnt do any justice to great city of Lahore. Having visited several US and European cities, Lahore is not any less than any of these, though its poorly managed! I have lived in Lahore for 25 years from school to University time, so have emotional attachment to this city! Every Pakistani city has its own charms and unique character to offer, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Multan, Quetta and many more. All these cities compliment whole Pakistan and its diversity of cultures that we should embrace. Saying Lahore is a great city doesnt mean Karachi is not great, these both cities are great cities of the world!Recommend

  • Syedpk

    Why are Lahoris obsessed with Karachi ??? you could have praised Lahore without bringing Karachi on to the picture. Low self-esteem ??Recommend

  • Arif

    Your’e amazingly uninformed! sectarianism is a problem everywhere in Pakistan… If that’s what you hold against Lahore sureeeee its all cool here… there are no Bhatta khors, deadbodies in ‘Borees’ dicovered every now and then, target killing, pakhtoon-muhajir riots… Shall I go on?Recommend

  • Vanguard

    So ? what r u doing in Karachi bro? surely u haven’t come to see the lights ?Recommend

  • @Truth

    yes……
    In next couple of years Mumbai and Delhi will leave Whole Pakistan far behind in terms of GDP.Recommend

  • Karachi is the best

    Lohore is safe because unlike karachi, lahore’s politician asked TTP to spare them because lahoris and ttps believe in the same thing. coward.Recommend

  • Alann

    how is that ‘racism’? Anyway, I’m pretty sure he did not make this article to demean Karachi, even though couple of his comparisons between the two cities were indeed in a bit of a bad taste.Recommend

  • Karachite

    Thank you for telling repeatedly that Lahore is Lahore. Or else I would have thought that I was Bangalore.Recommend

  • Mr Mustafa

    Wow! I’m from Karachi…and a staunch Karachiite. But Lahore has its own beauty. Its green parks, cool autumn breezes, friendly chill people, peaceful traffic, amazing food, beautiful city I must say. I agree Lahore is Lahore. However, saying it’s the best city of Pakistan is taking it rather too far! I would say the best city in Pakistan in relative terms is Islamabad. In terms of being a modern mega metropolitan city, Lahore is no where near Karachi. However, I take no sides, as Lahore or Karachi or pind dadin khan, all are Pakistan, and we all are Pakistanis at the end of the day!Recommend

  • Mystic

    It seems the writer has not traveled beyond Sheikhupura.

    I was born in Lahore and grew up there but I find the title of this blog disturbing. Ah well, reflects how much the egoistic accountants are.Recommend

  • Agha Mazhar Ali

    No doubt…Lahore ….Lahore hai…nice summarized reflection of beauties of Lahore ….but one thing that is missing in Lahore since last 4-5 years is….The BASANT Festival….it might have been one of the attributes why Lahore is best and worthseen place,, ….Recommend

  • Waqar

    I visited Lahore some 4 years ago but could not find the biryani in whole Lahore so how could you say it is the best city in Pakistan to have food…..Recommend

  • Sam Boy

    First, if the writer really believes, Lahore has great food to offer, then he has not stepped out of Lahore. BBQ Tonight alone is bigger than the all the food streets combined.Recommend

  • B Fraz

    But they do prefer living in Karachi, not only TV Stars but also the cricketers. Recent Example Waseem Akram he has also shifted to Karachi or of not then he is planning so…Recommend

  • Bfraz

    Yeah but the way author started comparing Khi with lahore was pathetic, I remeber there was an article on karachi published few weeks back in ET, it was all abt Karachi without any baised comparison with any of other city,Recommend

  • hamza

    Hahaha loving every moment of it
    khi ppl just cannot accept the fact

    Being from lhr who has lived in khi for 5 yrs
    I can tell you lhr is totally different from khi

    Khi is a busy city and a beautiful one no doubt
    Lahore is a cultural city (ppl are more chill in lhr), ppl enjoy life put social activities before work

    As they say “Jiney Lahore ni wikhya o jamya nahi”
    Translation for KHI ppl ” jis nein lahore nahi dekha woh paida nahi howa”Recommend

  • Bfraz

    My last input : http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/19121/what-is-karachi-like/
    this one indeed a far better blog for describing ur cityRecommend

  • No comments

    lahore to lahore hai par jitna bara lahore hai us sey bara karachi ka gulistan e johar hai :)Recommend

  • Parvez

    I was born here and I live here…..and I love it.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Where did my reply go ?…..will try again.
    Kindly read my full comment and the follow up and since I have been to Lahore, a bit of constructive criticism is a good thing………its high time we learn to accomodate the others views without throwing a s—t fit ( pardon my Latin ).Recommend

  • Chartered Accountant

    Don’t say a word to accoutants again…lolzRecommend

  • Muhammad Ovais

    The comments are just a tug of war between Lahore and Karachi. Relax guys! you own both.Recommend

  • Sane

    Lahore is one the worst cities of Pakistan as far as behavior with women on streets and public places is concerned. Lahoris (educated or uneducated) have same behavior of passing remarks, eve teasing and eye teasing to women.Recommend

  • Farhan Junaid

    Decent Biryani ? They donot know how to cook biryani at all .I have lived in Lahore and always hankered after eating the Birayani .And guess what ?
    The “best ” Nihari i was offered there was with Desi Ghee tarka ! (Muhammadi nihari house ) .For food trust me Karachi is the bestest best .:)
    Only Bashir Darul Mahi’s fish is mentionable in lahore .Lahore is simply overrated .Karachi , its cuisine ,its people and their attitude of open arm welcoming to all is unmatchable .and they are paying the price for that .Recommend

  • Sehar

    Best Article !Recommend

  • aatif

    For Gods sake bhaiyon.. How can you denounce your own homeland and feel happy. Recommend

  • @Fact

    Could you please tell me which city in Pakistan is slum free..Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmad Siddiqui

    Being a Pakistani I love my whole country as I have travelled across from deserts of Thur to moutains of Chitral and Kalash. I experienced that every city and place is beautiful and special in its own way; be it Lahore, Karachi, Quetta or Kashmore…. Admire the diversity of our homeland……….Recommend

  • Humza

    Can’t you tell that the guy Zaid is an Indian troll who just posted that comment to get you riled up? Any Pakistani city, Karachi included has less poverty and street people than any Indian city. That’s why you see so many Indian trolls here to create tensions. Just chill. Every city has its charm and we all know Lahore is a great place.Recommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    You missed out Heera Mandi pal.Recommend

  • Karachiti

    living here in karachi since i was born but have been to lahore many times. Karachi is a big city with a lot of fuss but lahore lahore hai. I love lahore. Its better in many ways. But as a Pakistani i love all cities of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Bitter Truth

    India also has the highest poverty in the world more than 90% of its population live below the poverty line.Recommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    So you are unable to find to appreciate it in his present state. Clearly shows your RSS indoctrinated thoughts.Recommend

  • sasha Chaudry

    “Law and order is NOT as much bad ..” are you kidding me?
    Or you’ve started living here just recently?Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    What Zaid said. Secondly Lahoris are unaware of the word “Biryani”.Recommend

  • Sane

    There is a difference between city and a big village …..you mean that.Recommend