About 38 Km Northwest of Lahore, The cultural capital of Pakistan, is situated an old town called Sheikhupura. It is the District Headquarter of one of the richest agricultural tracts of the Punjab. Its history traced to the time of Alexander’s campaigns in the Punjab in the nearby remains of Sangla, now better known as Sangla Hill.
The present provincial town was probably called KotDyal Das in early medieval times. It had the distinction as a royal hunting resort in the days of the Sultans of Dehli, but rose to fame during the Mughal ascendancy when Emperor Akbar held his Capital at Lahore. His young and only son, Prince Saleem, developed a special liking for the hunting resort where he spent most of his leisure time. The name Sheikhupura is believed to have come down from the affectionate name ‘Sheikhu Baba’ given by Emperor Akbar to infant Prince Saleem (Jahangir).
About 4 Km further Northwest of Sheikhupura is situated a tall and majestic masonry tower called Hiran Minar. It is said to have been built in memory of a pet antelope, which had caught the fancy of Emperor Jahangir by its frolics and antics in overtures of friendship between man and beast. The heraldic massive tower overlooks a three-storied airy pavilion or Baradari standing on an octagonal masonry island, built in the middle of a large rectangular tank. Construction of both the tower and the airy octagonal pavilion is attributed to Emperor Jahangir, as recorded in Tazuk-I- Jahangiri. It had served as the summer camp of the royal family, built in the tranquility of the hunting resort, and as such, was named as Daulatkhana, or residence of the imperial family.
The pavilion is connected to the embankment of the tank towards west by a causeway laid on as series of 13 pointes arches and terminates at a small vestibule building in double storeys with lofty arched gateways. The large tank protected by massively built terraces has the corner pavilions of square plan with arched doors on four sides. Their interior show traces of frescos in polychrome, with motifs depicting folia and floral forms.
The complex of buildings erected at Sheikhupura under the order of Jahangir and modified afterwards by the architects of Shahjahan, presents a unique mix of the changing trends of Mughal architecture, with some amalgamation of the stolid features of the Sultanate art of masonry.