Parks and Recreation: Lahore Guide
As the sweltering summer loses its months’ long preoccupation with Lahore, you can draw in and breathe the cool air resounding through the city. There is something ridiculously disturbing about summers in Lahore as the heat fuses your clothes and skin together. One remains imprisoned indoors to avoid a sunstroke, too scared to step out. Times like these I consider moving back to the mountains for good. Between the heated summers and foggy winters, there come intermittent days and weeks in which the weather almost kisses the ideal temperature imaginable in Lahore. I feel that, right now, we are floating through that ideal weather. Those who have any tinge of vitality left in their summer-seared hearts should make the most of it. Now is the ideal time to head to parks and gardens for recreation or picnics, before the ghostly fog turns the city gothic. Need convincing? not a problem:
Race Course is one park where you can go on a Sunday morning, spread a sheet on the grass, lie down and fantasize. The cold breeze wafting down the trees, rustling and falling leaves, the blue-sky as far as the eye can see. Not to forget the occasional cats render it a romantic spot for reflecting. The park is vast enough for those looking for a little solitude as well.
P.S There is a cafeteria in the park and, right outside the gate, McDonald’s and Texas Chicken stand with inviting smiles.
Jallo park is not your usual park, where you see families walking around like gangs that fight and quibble with each other alone. It is sprawling woods, away from the city, and has that feeling of wilderness. It might not be for everyone but it’s a worthy experience none the less. If you can manipulate your naïve friends and land there towards noon, I am certain, you will have the whole park to yourself. The park also features a kaleidoscope of butterflies, gardens of roses, and a thousand species of trees.
P.S The park has a good number of stray dogs, who walk around without barking. Do not try to befriend them.
The park remains populated in the evenings, regardless of the weather and temperature, as people come to see Lahore Fort for the umpteenth time. If you are someone who loves people watching and history then Greater Iqbal Park is your destination. It’s best if you go there with your friends because you do not want to be lonely in a colorful crowd. I made the mistake of going there alone once. I would not tell you if I cried out of self-pity or not.
P.S Ever heard of Minar-e-Pakistan? Perfect vantage point.
Footpaths strewed with yellow leaves, the endless chirping of birds, and trees rising to meet the sky; that is Bagh-e-Jinnah. A walk-through Bagh-e-Jinnah can absolve your heart of the month-long frustration which summer wove around it. Also, there are two hills within the garden, where the infernal city sounds are muted. When you return home, I am certain you will feel renewed.
P.S All species of humankind visit this famously notorious park. Keep your spouse and children close.
Interspersed between Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort, Hazuri Bagh is a little gem of a garden with a dozen trees, a Baradari, and a few peacocks. While you are on your way to the Badshahi mosque, you can enjoy a few moments of respite in the marbled Baradari and take a selfie or two. Less for its natural glamour and more for its historical tales, the garden is inviting in its simplicity. Have you seen peacocks holding necklaces in their beaks on Rickshaws and lorries? The prototype for this desi art theme is drawn in marble on the walls of Baradari.
P.S Go there for your date with the cute History Major.
With its jogging tracks sheltered by trees, colorful still water boats, swings, and cafeteria, Model Town Park is the best green spot in the locality. Given its expanse and vicinity, you do not have to fear stalking strangers asking for phone numbers. I have gone there several times just to read from a poetry book and refresh my mind from all the clatter, which Lahore feeds you unapologetically. The park embosoms a cafeteria, where you can relax under green trees and savor your snacks with a cold drink.
P.S It’s too beautiful to be ignored.
Now is the perfect time and weather to feel at one with nature. Escape the suffocating smog and head on over to any one of these beautiful parks for a Sunday picnic with your friends and/or family.