“The Royal Trail” – Shahi Guzargah
To begin with the conservation and restoration of the Walled City of Lahore the Royal Trail route was selected in the first phase. This route started from Delhi Gate ending at the Lahore Fort . This locale was known as the Shahi Guzargah or the Royal Trail as the Mughal Emperors travled through the same route while going to Lahore Fort from Delhi. This trail has immense value in terms of the heritage and monuments. The Shahi Guzargah links many of the landmark monuments of the Walled City, including the Delhi Gate, Shahi Hammam, the Chowk Wazir Khan, Wazir Khan Mosque, Sonheri Masjid, Chuna Mandi Girls College, the Begum Shahi Mosque and the Lahore Fort. The same route is enriched with havelis and heritage homes.
The Shahi Guzargah project was launched in 2012. In its interventions, the project has been an extremely complex but rich and rewarding one. Beginning from Delhi Gate, WCLA has restored a 383 meters long stretch of the heritage trail leading up to Chowk Kotwali. The trail comprises 54 streets, 655 Houses and 157 shops. The Project encompassed the rehabilitation of the street facades of nearly 850 buildings.
The new services laid on the Royal Trail included underground high voltage electricity, new orderly ways of distributing electricity connections to consumers, new telecommunications infrastructure , new gas delivery lines, new trunk water supply services and water supply networks in the tiny streets. To provide safe and better standards of public health the sewerage network was separated from a new storm water drainage service. The project also included removal of shops and other properties that had encroached into the public right of way, and the provision of street pavement and urban furniture.
For the first time, the faces of two monuments Shahi Hammam and Wazir Khan Mosque have been exposed by removing the encroachments upon its façade. Almost 57 shops from Shahi Hammam and 72 shops covering Wazir Khan Mosque have been permanently removed. The removal of all encroachments was based on a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) according to the guidelines of the World Bank. The RAP was devised to compensate the encroachers financially and relocate them. The purpose of the RAP was to bring the encroached monuments and streets back to their original glory.
The first stage of this project, from Delhi Gate to Chowk Purani Kotwali just beyond the Wazir Khan Mosque, was completed in 2015. A total amount of Rs. 500 million was spent on the restoration and infrastructure improvement in Package 1. Following the same lines the Package -2 of Royal Trail i.e. Chowk Koitwali to Masti Gate via Kashmiri Block has been started in 2015 which will be completed in 2017.