Bansi Mandir

This exquisite temple is located in Anarkali bazaar very close to the tomb of Qutb-ud-Din Aibak. As with most HinduBansi Mandir buildings in Lahore, there is a paucity of information about this building. It is a privately owned building and at my visit to the site, I was able to meet the owner but unfortunately he did not know any historical information about the building either. It was somewhat unique that the building being of Hindu origin, in the predominantly Muslim country of Pakistan, is owned by a person who told me that he is a Pakistani Jew.

The mandir itself is located within the courtyard of a massive haveli. At present, portions are rented out to various tenants and even the main building of the mandir is used as a home by one of the number of families here. This building would have been built during the colonial period by a prosperous family wanting to expand out of the congested walled city. Kanhaiya Lal and Latif don't mention it in their descriptions of Anarkali so it must have been built or completed after the 1890s. The fašade is a long one and lines the Anarkali bazaar.  The decorative features on the main fašade are broadly European but the central section has a traditional arch framed by pillars and contains an elaborate jharoka above the entrance. The wooden jharoka or balcony with its fine woodwork is still in good state of preservation. The stairs lead up to the courtyard, in the center of which is located the fine temple with plaster mouldings. The owner informed me that parts of the building were damaged by an angry mob in the riots following the destruction of Babri Mosque in India.

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