Faqir Khana Museum

Museum in Lahore

About 500m inside Bhatti Gate on the right-hand side, a small mansion houses the Faqir Khana Museum. It houses the treasures of the Faqir family, who have lived in Lahore since the 18th century. It is said to be the largest private collection in south Asia, with over 13,000 pieces of art.

The head of the Lahore branch of the family was a fakir (Muslim ascetic) from Bukhara whose three sons achieved prominence in the court of Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh, despite being Muslims. One son was royal physician, another a foreign minister and the third a finance minister. Largely as a result of their ties with Ranjit Singh, they amassed many valuable antiquities, as direct or hand-me-down gifts. Later generations preserved these pieces and collected more objets d'art during travels abroad.

Items include relics of the Prophet Mohammed (on public display for one day during the Islamic month of Muharram), early Qurans and other illuminated manuscripts, miniature paintings, porcelain pieces, old coins, Islamic artwork, carvings, clothes worn by the Mughal emperors, a small armoury of Sikh weapons and carpets from the royal courts.

As this is a private collection, you must phone the curator in advance. Admission is free, photography is not permitted and it's appreciated if you take off your shoes and refrain from touching any of the items.