Patiala district is one of the princely cities of Punjab...
Patiala is a city in the Punjab state of India. Patiala district is one of the erstwhile princely cities of Punjab. Located in the south-eastern part of the state. It is the administrative headquarters of Patiala District, and was the capital of the premier princely state in the former Punjab Province of British India, headed by the Sidhu dynasty. Patiala is famous for its pagri (traditional headgear), paranda (tasseled tag for braiding hair), peg (Patiala Peg - a double or large peg of whiskey), and Jutti (traditional Punjabi footwear).
Any serving of alcohol which is double than the normal serving, or unusually large, is referred to as the Patiala Peg. This term is understood in most parts of India. There are multiple stories behind this epithet, most related to the opulent and hedonistic lifestyle of one of the Maharajas of Patiala - Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, who was a heavy drinker.
Patiala is home town of many eminent personalities like cricketers Navjot Sidhu, Mohinder Amarnath, Reetinder Sodhi, Bollywood Stars Jimmy Shregill, Om Puri, Punjabi Singers Gurdas Mann & Harbhajan Mann, Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal & SQ Ldr Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space.
The history of Patiala state starts off with the ancestor of the Sikh Patiala Royal House, Mohan Singh being harassed by neighbouring Bhullars and Dhaliwals (tappedars of the territory). They would not allow Mohan to settle there. He was a follower of Guru Hargobind and the Guru appealed on behalf of Mohan, but to no avail. The result was an armed struggle and the Bhullars and Dhaliwals were defeated by the Guru's men, which allowed Mohan to establish the Village of Meharaj in 1627.
Mohan fought against the Mughals at the Battle of Mehraj 1631 on the side of Guru Hargobind. Mohan and his eldest son Rup Chand were later killed in a fight against the Bhatti Rajputs (who constantly harassed him). Kala, Mohan's younger son succeeded the "chaudriyat", and was guardian to Rup Chand's sons Phul and Sandali.
When Kala died, Phul formed his own village (Phul), five miles from Meharaj (under the blessings of Sikh Guru's) in 1663. Nabha and Jind trace their ancestry to the devout Sikh Phul. It was one of the first Sikh Kingdoms to be formed. Apparently the appellation of dynasty "Phulkian" is derived from their common founder. One of his sons, Chota Ram Singh was baptized and blessed by Guru Gobind Singh. His sons Ala Singh assumed the leadership in 1714 when Banda Bahadur was engaged in the fierce battle against the Mughals. A man with vision and courage, Ala Singh carved out an independent principality from a petty Zamindari of 30 villages. Under his successors, it expanded into a large state, touching the Shivaliks in north, Rajasthan in the south and upper courses of the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers while confronting the most trying and challenging circumstances.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, Baba Ala Singh, unlike many of his contemporaries, displayed tremendous shrewdness in dealing with the Mughals, Afghans and Marathas and successfully established a state which he had started building up from its nucleus Barnala.
In 1763 Baba Ala Singh laid the foundation of the Patiala fort known as Qila Mubarak, around which the present city of Patiala developed. After the third battle of Panipat in 1761 in which the Marathas were defeated, the writ of the Afghans prevailed through out Punjab. It is at this stage that the rulers of Patiala began to acquire ensigns of royalty. Ahmad Shah Abdali bestowed upon Ala Singh furm and banner, and the title of Maharaja of Patiala. After his death, his grandson Amar Singh succeeded and received the title of Raja-I-Rajaan. He was also allowed to strike coins.
After forty years of ceaseless struggle with the Mughals, Afghans and Marathas the borders of the Patiala state witnessed the blazing trails of Ranjit Singh in the north and of the British in the east. Bestowed with the grit and instinct of survival, making the right choice at the right time the Raja of Patiala entered into a treaty with the British against Ranjit Singh in 1808, thus becoming collaborators in the empire building process of the British in the sub-continent of India. The British treated the rulers of Patiala, such as Karam Singh, Narinder Singh, Mahendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Yadvindra Singh with respect and dignity.
Culture and traditions
Patiala's sway over the Malwa area extended beyond merely political influence. Patiala was equally the set of religious and cultural life. Patiala has had a culture of its own, evolving into a distinct "patialavi" culture. Patiala has also seen evolution of a distinct style of architecture. Borrowing from the Rajput style, its beauty and elegance are, however, moulded according to the local traditions.
With the active patronage of the erstwhile rules of Patiala, a well established style of hindustani music called the "Patiala Gharana" came into existence and has held its own up to the present times. This school of music has had a number of famous musicians, many of whom came to Patiala after the disintegration of the Mughal Court at Delhi in the 18th century. At the turn of the century, Ustad Ali Bux was the most renowned exponent of this Gharana. Later his sons, Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan achieved world wide fame and brought glory to the Patiala Gharana. This school of music continues to get the patronage of the State though the North Zone Culture Centre - NZCC - established at Patiala.
After partition of India, a lot of Bahawalpuri people migrated from Bahawalpur (Pakistan) and settled in Patiala. This Community has developed a vibrant, lively and happening colony known as Tripuri Town within Patiala. Most of the residents here in this colony speak their ancestral language "Bahawalpuri", which is similar to Pakistani language Multani.
Best Time to Visit Patiala
November to February
Qila Mubarak Complex, Qila Androon, Rang Mahal and Sheesh Mahal, Ran Baas, Darbar Hall (Divan Khana), Jalau Khana and Sard Khana (Cool Room), Lassi Khana (Kitchen), Moti Bagh Palace, Kali Temple, Qila Bahadurgarh, Panj Bali Gurdwara, Baradari Gardens, Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib
Patiala Attraction Details
Qila Mubarak: Qila Mubarak is an imposing structure located in the heart of Patiala, about 29 km west of Ambala. It is believed to have been built by Maharaja Ala Singh in 1764.
Originally this building was a mud fort. Later it was raised into a sprawling double storeyed structure with a massive gate having beautiful arches. Two painted chambers are seen inside the fort, illustrating the scenes from Hindu mythology and portraits of Sikh gurus in Patiala style.
The fort has two portions namely Quila Androon (the inner fort) and Quila Mubarak (the outer one). Decorated with geometrical and floral designs, the gate of the Quila Androon is made of lime plaster.
Qila Androon: The entrance is through an imposing gate. The architectural style of this palace is a synthesis of late Mughal and Rajasthani. The complex has 10 courtyards along the north - south axis and each courtyard is unique in size and character, some being broad, others very small and still others mere slits in the fabric of building.Though the Androon is a single interconnected building, it is spoken of as a series of palaces. Each set of rooms makes a cluster around a courtyard, and each carries a name: Sheesh Mahal, Toshakhana, Jalau Khana, Chand Mahal, Rang Mahal, Treasury and Prison. Ten of the rooms are painted with frescoes, or decorated intricately with mirror and gilt. In a tiny portion of the complex is a little British construction with Gothic arches, fire places made of marble and built-in toilets perched on the Mughal Rajasthani roof!. Burj Baba Ala Singh even today has a fire smoldering ever since the time of Baba Ala Singh, along with a flame brought by him from Jwalaji.
Rang Mahal and Sheesh Mahal: The two mahals contain a large no. of frescoes, most of which were made under Maharaja Narender Singh. Within the Qila Mubarak are 16 painted and mirror-worked chambers. For instance, the Darbar room is illustrated with Vishnu avatars and stories of courage or generosity, the ladies' chamber with illustrations from famous romantic epics, and two other chambers with illustrations of the qualities of a good or bad king. The frescoes, among the finest painted in India in the second half of the 19th century are evidently the work of artists from Rajasthani, Pahari and Avadhi traditions.
Ran Baas: This building was probably a guest house. It has an imposing gateway and two courtyards, both with fountains and small tanks. A room in the first courtyard-with painted walls and a gilt throne-was probably for semi -formal audience. A few pavilions are set among painted walls on the upper storey. Facing each other across the courtyard are two exquisite chambers, one painted and the other decorated with mirror work.
Darbar Hall (Divan Khana): Used for large audiences and important public occasions, the Darbar has been converted into a museum displaying dazzling chandeliers and armor, including the sword and dagger of Guru Gobind Singh and Nadir Shah's sword. The hall was built on a high plinth over a network of tunnels which were service conduits. The facade gives the impression of a double-storey building, with 'upper storey' windows and a balcony at the first floor level, but the delicately worked wood-and-glass doors open into a huge 15m-high chamber. At the far end is a raised platform, where the Maharaja sat . The wooden frame work of the ceiling holds decorated Plaster-of Paris tiles painted in Arabic style and the ceiling is hung with a fabled collection of chandeliers.
Jalau Khana and Sard Khana (Cool Room): Both were much later constructions. The Jalau Khana is a small, two storeyed building with a central hall in late Colonial style, where regalia were displayed. The Sard Khan provided an escape from the summer heat. A deep well inside it acted as a wind tunnel, bringing cool air into the ground-floor rooms and the basement. Outside, there is a formal garden with waterways and fountains.
Lassi Khana (Kitchen): Another small, two-storeyed building with a central courtyard and a well.It adjoins the Ran-bass, and a passage links it to the Qila Androon. Local residents say that at one time this kitchen had the capacity to serve nearly 35,000 people every day, but following an economy drive, the Lassi Khana restricted itself to serving only a modest 5,000 people.
Moti Bagh Palace: Started during the reign of Maharaja Narinder Singh, it was completed under Maharaja Bhupinder Singh in the early 20th century. The Old Moti Bagh Palace now houses the National Institute for Sports. The facade has Rajasthan-style jharokas and chhatris, and the palace is set in a beautiful garden with terraces, water channels and a Sheesh Mahal.
Kali Temple: Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was inspired to build this temple and bring the 6-ft statue of Kali from Bengal to Patiala. This large complex attracts devotees, Hindu and Sikh, from distant places. A much older temple of Raj Rajeshwari is also situated in the center of this complex.
Qila Bahadurgarh: The ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed at Saifabad during his travels. Originally known as Saifabad, it was renamed Bahadurgarh by Maharaja Amar Singh who reinforced and renovated it. The present fort dates back to Maharaja Karam Singh. He built a beautiful Gurudwara on the Patiala-Rajpura road (6 Km from Patiala City).
Panj Bali Gurdwara: Nawab Saif Khan, an admirer of Guru Teg Bahadur, Commemorated the guru's visit by building two gurudwaras, one inside the fort and the other across the road, now known as Panch Bali Gurudwara.
Baradari Gardens: The Baradari gardens surround the Baradari palace located in the north of old Patiala city, just outside Sheranwala Gate. The gardens, laid under Maharaja Rajindera Singh were planted extensively rare trees and shrubs, dotted with impressive Colonial buildings and a marble statue of Maharaja Rajindera Singh and the Fern House. The 19th century Fern House, a replica of the one in Calcutta forms a unique attraction along with quaint Rink Hall.
Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib: The villagers of Lehal donated land for the modest Gurudwara built on this elevated site, said to have been visited by Guru Teg Bahadur. The legend is that anyone who prays at this Gurudwara is relieved of his suffering ('dukhniwaran'). A new bigger building is now being constructed.
How to reach Patiala
There are daily return air flights between Delhi and Amritsar, and Chandigarh and Delhi. Railway service connects Patiala with all important tourist places in Northern India. Good road network links Patiala with other destinations.
Where to stay in Patiala
Drive Inn 22, Greens Hotel, Hotel Flyover, Hotel Harpawittar International, Hotel Mohan Continental, Kaka International Hotel, Circuit House, P.W.D. Rest House, Punjabi University Guest House