Governor's House

Across the Upper Mall from Quaid-e-Azam Library (Lawrence & Montgomery Halls), is located the sprawling estate of the Governor's House, which is enclosed with a high wall. To catch a glimpse of this historical structure, you will need to journey down the Upper Mall, until you reach its main gate, which is well guarded. This is the Government House which housed successive lieutenant governors of the British Raj, and now acts as the residence of the governor of the province, and the reason why its name has been changed from Government House to Governor's House.

The origins of this important structure lie in the Mughal Period. Latif and Kannahiya Lal both agree that a Mughal tomb in this location formed the nucleus of Government House, but there are conflicting accounts of who was actually buried here. According to Kannahiya Lal it was Saint Syed Badruddin Gilani, while Latif credits it to 'Mahomed Kasim Khan' a cousin of Emperor Akbar. Both agree, however, that the tomb belonged to Shah Jahan's period and that the ground adjacent to the tomb was used as a wrestling ground, due to which reason the domed structure became known as Gumbuz Kushti Wala, or Wrestler's Dome. During the Sikh Period, as was the fate of many other Mughal structures, Gumbuz Kushti Wala fell on hard times. Towards the end of Ranjit Singh's reign, Jamadar Khushal Singh, uncle of Raja Teja Singh, built a house around the tomb.

The vast area in its vicinity was utilized for barracks to accommodate Khushal Singh's troops. After British annexation a nearby mosque was demolished by Sirdar Khan, Nambardar of Mozung for the value of its bricks, and a large well, attached to the mosque, which had been filled with gunpowder during the successive Inter-Sikh wars unfortunately exploded, killing two zamindars and several bullocks.

After annexation the house was utilized as a residence by deputy commissioners Boring and Major MacGregor. In the early 1860s the building was acquired from Khushal Singh's successor Teja Singh in exchange for property given to him in Sialkot, and converted into Government House during the lieutenant governorship of Robert Montgomery.

Extensive modifications were made at the time leaving hardly a trace of Sikh construction. Even so the original tomb continued to exist on the ground floor, where it was designated the dining room. The ever-optimistic Latif found the function admirably suitable, noting: "The arches around it serve as recesses for side-boards, the room being lighted through slits in the dome. The walls are decorated with enameled pottery-work, and the alcoves of the central hall are embellished with fresco designs."

The earliest British additions included a two-storey high portico supported by simple double columns rising to the full two storey, adding instant grandeur. Today, it is a sprawling mansion, its present form a result of incremental and somewhat disparate additions of scores of rooms and bathrooms. However, it presents a unified appearance due to the application of white paint on plastered surfaces. Although for security reasons you will not bellowed to enter, it is worth a peep from the main gate just to get a glimpse of this historic structure, set amongst the expansive grounds spread over almost seventy acres.

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