Heritage Sites

Sangrur

1. Shahi Samadha: The 125-year-old ‘Shahi Samadhan’ or the Royal Cenotaph Complex of the erstwhile Jind state’s rulers has 16 Samadhis, in which 14 were constructed in 1884 with bricks and lime-surkhi (brick powder), while two were built around 60-65 years ago with marble, etc. This complex was built initially by Maharaja Raghubir Singh along with a tank called the Ganga Sagar Tank. Some of these Samadhis are of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s maternal grandfather Maharaja Gajpat Singh and maternal uncle Maharaja Bhag Singh, Maharaja Fateh Singh, Maharaja Sangat Singh, Maharaja Sarup Singh, Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Maharaja Rajbir Singh. All these samadhis are situated in a complex adjoining a Gurudwara Sahib outside the Nabha Gate, Sangrur. This site this immediate protection by a governing body as few of the samadhis have collapsed partially and most of their wall frescoes are worn out beyond their understanding. Its boundary walls have been widely encroached upon for construction in the adjacent areas and this has resulted in the complete loss of one chhatri on the right end gate of the complex. Since this complex lies with a common wall with the Akal Degree College for Women, a lot of activities can be undertaken to initiate the process of awareness and protection and the activities can be also contribute in giving the sites its deserved attention. This way, an institution of education takes chare over the preservation of heritage and that already builds a kind of awareness and knowledge among the people.

 

2. Durbar Hall: The Durbar Hall built in or around 1865 still exists and is used as a Museum. The roof of the Hall is beautifully painted and gives the look of fresh golden paint. ‘Takhat’ constructed in the Hall for sitting of Raja is still there and it looks as if the same has been recently built. This building, under legal hassles lies in a lockdown at this moment. The need now is to resolve issues, have the place protected by a responsible body and re-create the museum keeping in mind the pomp and grandeur with which the place must have been set up at that point when the kings remained.

 

3. Banasar Baug: This place was earlier used by rulers of the Jind state during summers. The garden also has a palace which has now been converted into a museum where ancient weapons and articles have been displayed. The rulers of Jind in their capital city of Sangrur built a beautiful garden called Banasar. Since the design of the garden had a focus on the arrangement of trees (Ban) and the construction of a tank (Sar), it was given this name. Maharaja Raghbir Singh enclosed this garden with a strong rampart and built quite a few magnificent buildings inside. A marble inscription in poetry composed in 1904 by Brij Narain Verma records an exaggerated story of the garden. This garden provides ample opportunities for cultural exchange. Already an important point for people to socialise, the Banasar Baug could be the link between the Baradari and the Durbar Hall when organised into a proper ‘heritage walk’. The important points of interest could also include the fountain and thus form an important node for conversations for the local people as well as for the tourists.

 

4. Baradari: Situated in the middle of the pond of Banasar Baug, the white marble structure is named as Baradari (a building with 12 doors), built in 1827 by Maharaja Sangat Singh of Jind State. This monument provided visitors with a pleasing experience during the nights, when the moonlight fell on the water creating little sparkles. The water body surrounding the Baradari doesn’t exist anymore. The preservation of this site could be done by reviving this water body to how it previously used to be and create that atmosphere of royalty for this site and for the complex envisioned together with the Durbar Hall and the Banasar Baug.

 

5. Clock Tower: The grand clock tower was commissioned in 1885 by Maharaja Raghubir Singh from the Canal Foundry Roorkee. The current caretaker of this working clock tower is Sampat Rai Walia, whose family has been taking care of the clock tower in the town since its installation in 1885 by the then Jind royals. This clock lies in a fairly good state and could be counted as a point of interest during heritage trails.

 

6. Magazine: This building was used to store arms and ammunition of the royal army of the Jind State. After independence this building was given to the education department of Punjab, which still runs office here. The building now lies in a dilapidated condition with the magazine being used as a garbage dump. The building shows no sign of its previous association and thus cannot be utilised except in narrating of the histories.

 

7. Civil Hospital: Victoria Hospital was established in year 1901 by the Jind State. Due to the lack of ownership and awareness, construction work completely non familiar with the existing structure have been undertaken in the hospital. This destroys both the historical and the aesthetic appeal of the building and continues with only its utility.

 

8. Veterinary Hospital: Rivaz-Ranbir Veterinary Hospital was set up in 1914, where animals were given treatment. As the Royal Army had mounted force, this was a facility used majorly for the horses, elephants and other animals used in farms. This building has maintained its form as in its earlier glory and just requires protection from further encroachment and decay. This is a very unique contribution of the city of Sangrur where importance was given to both human and animals equally.

 

9. Ranbir College: Ranbir College was set up in 1939. This building is spread in a large campus and holds a beautiful architectural blend of different styles. The College is now under the Government administration.

 

10. Ranbir Club: The club was constructed in 1901 by Maharaja Ranbir Singh for sports activities in Sangrur. The architecture of this building is similar to that of other monuments in the city, having round arches. The Ranbir Club is presently undergoing conservation work and has been said to be working according to the previous form of the building.

 

11. GGS School: Bachittar Niwas, the residence of Sardar Bahadur Bakshi Gurnam Singh, which now houses a school now called General Gurnam Singh Public School on the outskirts of Sangrur. He was the Commander-in- Chief of the Jind State Forces and was the son of Sardar Prem Singh, a Minister in Jind State. He received a direct commission into the State Infantry and was gradually promoted as Commandant of the Imperial Service Infantry. This building was used as a refugee camp after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. In 1967, Sardar Gurbaksh Singh Sibia, former Minister for Irrigation and Power- Punjab Government, took the initiative to reconstitute the trust and founded this educational institution. The School was founded and then formally inaugurated on April 23, 1968, by His Highness Adhiraj Yadvindra Singh of Patiala, who also happened to be General Gurnam Singh’s maternal grandson. The school still continues to be operated here and the heritage building serves as the administrative wing among other buildings in the campus. The school celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2017. This school can be utilised as a proper institution of heritage awareness and activities with the heritage club already starting to take shape in its curriculum and then promoting the exchange of ideas through inter-school workshops and events in the GGS School premises itself.

 

12. Bada Chowk and Chhota Chowk: Sangrur being the capital of Jind State was reconstructed by Maharaja Raghubir Singh. It was he, who rebuilt a beautiful planned town, constructing a bazaar on the pattern of famous pink city Jaipur with well-planned shops. In those days there used to be located gates, temples and Gurudwaras on all four corners of city. The city center was the Quila (Fort) where the Royal Family used to live. The crossing of roads in front of the city fort was called the Bada Chowk and the crossing on the other end of the fort complex was known as Chhota Chowk.

 

13. Museum: The Durbar Hall in the Banasar Baug complex is now converted into a museum by the Department of Culture, Punjab Government, which houses a collection of items used by the Jind State Royals. Also it has a collection of arms and armoury displayed.

BAGRIAN

 

Situated on the Malerkotla-Nabha road, Bagrian lies about 18 km south-east of Malerkotla. Though now in the Malerkotla tehsil, it was not a part of the Malerkotla Princely State but was being ruled by the British. Bagrian was given to the ‘Bhais’ of the village by Bhikhan Khan. The fort at Bagrian was built by Sardar Bhai Arjan Singh at the beginning of the 20th-century. The Bhais still run the langar (free kitchen) here daily. This tradition of langar was started from the time of Sri Hargobind Singh Sahib, the sixth Guru. The Bagrian fort is already a tourist destination with its guest house having a blend of royal legacies and modern day interior designs. A place far away from the rush of the cities, Bagrian could easily qualify as a one-day trip in the lap of nature, amidst the spirituality of Sikh culture and an ambience of the royal heritage of Punjab. The house of Bagrian is closely linked with the spread of Sikhism in the Malwa region of Punjab. Guru Arjun Dev Ji and later Guru Hargobind Sahib baptised the successive descendants of the family, i.e. Sindhu and Rup Chand. In recognition of the services of Rup Chand in the Sikh cause, Guru Hargobind named him as ‘Bhai’- his own brother and bestowed on him the benediction of LANGAR, a free kitchen, which to this day feeds the poor and those who visit the place. Thus came into use the family name ‘Bhaika’. This benevolence was further graced when the last Guru, ordained that the descendants of the family would be considered as his descendants. Two of the brothers from the Bagrian family had accompanied Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded Sahib. Sir Lepel Griffin in his book, ‘Chiefs and Families of Note’ records that the house of Bagrian has been a beacon of spiritual light to the Sikh ruling princes and the Sikhs in general.

 

BADDRUKHAN

 

Badrukhan is located at a distance of about 5 kms from Sangrur, on the Sangrur-Barnala road. There are two versions about the nomenclature of the village. One is that it was named after Badru, a pandit of this village, by Raja Gajpat Singh. Another version, which is more believable is that when Raja Gajpat Singh took control of these villages,(Vada Agwarh, Vichla Agwarh, Dalamwal, Dhaliwas and Thagan wali Patti) huge trees namely ‘Rukh’ were standing here on the basis of which it came to be called Badrukhan i.e. Bade rukhan(big ‘rukh’ trees). Badrukhan has a fortress which is believed to be the birth place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was here that Raj Kaur, daughter of Gajpat Singh gave birth to Maharaja Ranjit Singh on the 13th of November 1780. Maharaja Hira Singh of Nabha was also born here. Considering the importance of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the annals of Indian history, this site could act as a very important point of interest for a lot of people. Unexplored in its being, this site is protected but would need a better management to make it open to the public and facilitate tourism. Similar light and sound shows like the ones at Gobindgarh fort could be added as a major attraction of this place along with a historical trail inside the fort complex.

SUNAM

The history of Sunam goes back to the Vedic period, when its name was Surajpur. The Saraswati River is believed to have flowed through it. It is divided into two parts, one in the citadel of the fort and the other on the lowland surrounding it.

 

1. School: The government boys’ school where Shaheed Udham Singh studied is also a place where many people visit. Shaheed-i-Azam Udham Singh was a revolutionary and freedom fighter belonging to the Ghadar Party. He was best known for assassinating Michael O’ Dwyer, the former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab in India, on 13 March 1940 post the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919. Singh was subsequently tried and convicted of murder and hanged in July 1940. He was born in Sunam and was educated in the school which is still running.

 

2. Sun Temple: This building is situated in the east of the town at a distance of about 1.5 km. In ancient times the temple campus was spread over a large area. At this place, a large temple of Sun god existed but, it is said that Mahmood Ghaznvi looted and demolished it. It is also supposed that River Saraswati used to flow near the Suraj Kund in the temple complex. This sun temple is not popular like the sun temple at Konark or at Modhera in Gujarat but holds as much importance as any of the others do.

 

NABHA

 

The town of Nabha was formerly the capital of the Nabha princely state in the British Raj. Being a royal capital city, Nabha has a number of buildings with historical importance. Nabha is now famous as a manufacturing hub of combine harvesters. Like many other cities of India, Nabha has landmarks called “gates” which roughly circumscribe the city. In Nabha, there is the Patiala Gate, Alhoran Gate, Dulladi Gate, Mehs Gate and Bouran Gate. 1. PPS, Nabha: The Punjab Public School, Nabha was started in 1960 with a view to provide quality public school education to deserving children of the defense forces and civilians. The guiding force in the opening of this school was Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab. Cocurricular activities in Punjab Public School, Nabha are quite interesting. This school in Punjab offers a wide range of co-curricular activities. It was started initially as the Sainik School. Addition of cocurricular activities through undertaking heritage education through modules and club activities could be ideated as a way of encouraging dialogue regarding heritage and its importance from the very young age. These students could then, be trained to conduct small heritage walks in and around the city also, thus, bringing out the conversation to the larger audience. This way, even the students would become aware of the importance and scope in the field of heritage and its management and the local residents and tourists could also get an interesting approach of looking at their city.

 

2. Ripudaman College: Ripudaman College is named after the prince Ripudaman Singh, who was born on 4 March 1883 at Nabha, the only son and heir of Hira Singh. From 1906 to 1908, he was a member of the Imperial Legislative Council, where he spoke on behalf of the Sikh interest and pioneered reformist legislation. He represented Nabha in 1911 at the coronation of George V. This college is located within the campus of Hira Mahal Palace and is affiliated with Punjabi University, Patiala. This college is one of the oldest colleges in the state of Punjab. A similar model like the PPS, Nabha could be undertaken in the Ripudaman college, especially with students of history. And since the college itself houses the Hira Mahal, it adds a value and association with the students. Also, efforts should be taken to stop encroachments in the Hira Mahal and arrange for a proper way of dealing with the problem. The site should be preserved and protected and efforts would have to be made to make it accessible to people with interpretations about its history and heritage value.

3. Nabha Qila: The Nabha city grew around the Qila Mubarak since its establishment. Characterized by soaring mud walls, the fort was constructed over a period of 150 years. Raja Hira Singh, who ruled from 1871 till his death in 1911, built most of the structure that stands today. The inner precinct is built on a square platform boasting colonnades, arches, and grand balconies. In 2010, the Qila Mubarak was leased to the Nabha Foundation. Qila Mubarak is an important place in the city and it had various offices of the government including courts of the region which were shifted last year to a new building. With major parts of the fort lying vacant, the huge structure lies in a very dilapidated condition. The portions which housed the court rooms were maintained for that purpose but now, even those areas are kept under lock and key. Immediate action is required on the Nabha qila to ensure the structure standing in its position. Conserving it back to its former glory is the urgent need of the hour or else this piece of human marvel would be lost to the ruins very soon. Even though the Nabha Qila lies protected under the Punjab tourism board, greater importance should be given to the protection of the site and its conservation and management. 4. Hira Mahal: The Heera Mahal was built in an Anglo-Indian style with arcaded balconies and roof terraces decorated with flags and pennants. Maharaja Hira Singh died at the Hira Mahal on Christmas Eve 1911, aged 68 after a four-decade reign. He was succeeded by his only son, Ripudaman Singh. The Hira Mahal is not protected under any governing body and thus a lot encroachment can be seen. Due to rapid urban development around the Hira Mahal, it has been blocked from the sight of people going around the city and thus, lies forgotten. This site should also be protected immediately and a space curated which would speak of the history and heritage of Nabha.