Tomb of Anarkali & Civil Secretariat


The tomb of Anarkali is located on the grounds of Lahore’s Punjab Civil Secretariat
complex near the British-era Mall, southwest of the Walled City of Lahore.
The tomb was said to be built by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his love Anarkali.
When Prince Saleem ascended the throne and took the name “Jahangir,” he is reported
to have ordered the construction of a tomb over the site of the wall in which Anarkali
was reportedly buried. The building is today covered in whitewashing. It was reportedly
once surrounded by a garden. The building is currently used as the Punjab Archives, so
access to the public is limited.

The Civil Secretariat, located in the Anarkali area, can be said to be the earliest extant
British building in Lahore. Around a core dating to the Sikh Period, the building was
extended, incorporating modest classical architectural elements to portray the British
aspirations of the time. Originally built by Jean Baptiste Ventura, a general in Ranjit
Singh’s army, the building was known as ‘Anarkali House’, and was built in close
proximity to Anarkali’s sepulcher situated in a garden known as Anarkali Garden. The
house was acquired by the British on payment of Rs. 2,000 against Ventura’s demand
of Rs. 10,000.
Although the Punjab Gazetteer of 1916 dates the erection of this building to 1845, a
plaque installed in 1917 records: “Jean Baptiste Ventura, General in the service of the
Maharaja Ranjit Singh erected this building in its original form and lived in it for many
years. It became the British Residency in 1847 and was occupied by Henry Lawrence
and John Lawrence as Resident at the Court of Lahore, and after the annexation of the
Punjab, as Member of the Board of Administration.”
The main attraction of this modest linear structure lies in the deep front verandah carried
on simple Doric columns, the whole unified by a parapet of cornices. An interesting
feature is the central curved portion, accented by the utilization of double Doric
columns. Honoria, daughter of Henry Lawrence, confirms that the verandah was built
as part of the extended house when it was also re-named ‘Alhenho’ after her siblings
Aleck, HENry, and Honoria


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