About Patiala District :
Patiala district is one of the famous princely states of erstwhile Punjab. Forming the south-eastern part of the state, it lies between 29°49’ and 30°47’ north latitude, 75°58’ and 76°54’ east longitude.
It is surrounded by the districts of Fatehgarh Sahib & Rupnagar and the Union Territory of Chandigarh in the north, Sangrur district in the west, Ambala and Kurukshetra districts of neighbouring state of Haryana in the east and Kaithal district of Haryana in the south.
Famous for ‘peg’, ‘pagri’, ‘paranda’ (tasselled tag for braiding hair and ‘Jutti’ (footwear), joyous buoyance, royal demeanor, sensuous and graceful feminine gait and
Aristocracy, Patiala presents a beautiful bouquet of life-style even to a casual visitor to the city. A brilliant spectrum of Rajput, Mughal and Punjabi cultures, a fine blend of modernity and tradition and a judicious synthesis of all that is beautiful in form and bold in spirit conjure up a vision called ‘Patiala’.
Patiala, an erstwhile princely state, capital of PEPSU and a district headquarters of Punjab are situated in the Malwa region of Punjab. Malwa has the largest number Of districts in the reorganised Punjab, and antiquity of some of the cities goes back to the ancient and early medieval period. Patiala is relatively a young city, a few years more than two centuries old.
The climate of Patiala district is typical of Punjab plains i.e. quite hot in summer and sufficiently cold in winter. The temperature starts rising in March and continues rising till end of June. Hot winds blow during summer, occasionally accompanied by dust storms. The temperature may touch 45 o C or more on some days. Generally pre-monsoon showers are experienced in the middle or end of June which may bring down temperature considerably. Rains set in by the first week of July which may continue upto the middle of September. During the rainy season temperatures are considerably lower during the rainy days but it becomes very hot and sultry when it is not raining. From early October, the weather becomes very pleasant as the winter season sets in. November and December are pleasant but nights are cool.
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Tourist Places :
Qila Mubarak Complex
The Qila Mubarak complex stands in 10-acre ground in the heart of the city, and contains the main palace or Qila Androon (literally,’inner fort’), the guesthouse or Ran Baas and the Darbar Hall. Outside the Qila are the Darshani Gate, a Shiva temple, and bazaar shops which border the streets that run around the Qila and sell precious ornaments, colorful hand-woven fabrics, ‘jootis’ and bright ‘Parandis’.
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.
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.
The Samadhan, where Maharaja Rajinder Singh once built a garden, now holds cenotaphs of erstwhile rulers, looked after by a mahant.
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.
The Sheesh Mahal was built behind the main Moti Bagh Palace to serve as a pleasure complex.The paintings in two of its well maintained , mirror-worked chambers are of Kangra and Rajasthani qalam, depicting the poetic visions of Keshav, Surdas and Bihari. The Sheesh Mahal now houses a museum, an art gallery, the famed medal gallery and also the North Zone Cultural Centre.
Across the small Lake in front of Sheesh Mahal is a magnificent suspension bridge which being a replica of the famous Lakshman Jhoola at Rishikesh, is also named as Lachman Jhoola. It links the Sheesh Mahal with the Banasar Ghar on the other side of the lake. The Banasar Ghar now houses the North Zone Cultural Center and a hall for setting up exhibitions.
Bir Moti Bagh
A 1,600-acre forest on the outskirts of Patiala, The Bir was originally the hunting preserve of the Maharaja. Most of the Bir is still forest, but parts of it house a zoo and a deer park, as well as a pilot project on medicinal plants.
Baradari is the colonial area of Patiala. On one side of Mall road is the Baradari, and on the other is the walled city. All along the vibrant Mall Road are fountains and beautiful paved walkways, as well as goverment offices (all buildings conforming to one architectural style), entertainment spots, including cinema theatres and the Rajendra tank, and temples. (The Rajendra Tank is actually a large lake which once attracted migratory birds in winters. Boating facilities are available here.)
Rajindera Kothi: Set in the heart of the Baradari Gardens, this late 19th Century Palace built in colonial style by Maharaja Rajindra Singh till recently housed Punjab States Archives. PUDA is planning to exploit this building as a potential Heritage Hotel.
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.
Intended to be the Administrative Secretariat of the princely state, this beautiful building now houses the offices of the Punjab State Electricity Board.
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.
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.
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.
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