Glimpses of Baba Ala Singh’s Patiala

Author : Dr. Jaswant Singh Puri ,Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa), Punjab Rattan , Member, Dewan Family, ,Earstwhile Princely State of Patiala , Social Activist

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Chandigarh, May 5, 2019 :

Patiala is the fourth largest city of Punjab State which covers an area of 339.9 Km2. It was also the capital city during the short existence of PEPSU. It was founded by Baba Ala Singh who was, Jat Sikh Chieftain. He was the forefather of Captain Amarinder Singh, the Present Chief Minister of Punjab. He also laid the foundation of “Quila Mubarak” around which the city of Patiala is built. It was a 17 – guns salute state during the British rule.

Baba Ala Singh

“The Founder of Patiala”

Its rulers like Karam Singh, Narinder Singh, Mahendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Yadvindra Singh had the privilege to be graced with respect and dignity by the British. Maharaja Karam Singh ruled from 1813 to 1845 and helped the British during the First Anglo Sikh Wars. Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh was the ruling Maharaja of the Princely State of Patiala from 1900-1938. He was born at the Moti-Bagh Palace at Patiala. He succeeded the throne upon the death of his father Maharaja Rajinder Singh at the age of nine years. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the first man in India to have his own aircraft. His name is reckoned with full interest and involvement in the construction of buildings with superb architectural designs in Patiala like Kali Devi Temple, Chail View Palace at Kandaghat etc Chail Palace was built as summer retreat by the Maharaja of Patiala during the British rule. The Cricket ground and polo ground which are there at an attitude of 2250 meter were owned by earstwhile royal family of Patiala. It is words highest cricket ground. He was the first famous ruler for his keen fondness in Cricket and Polo teams. He was a staunch patron of sports. He also founded the State Bank of Patiala in 1917. Patiala remained its Head Office for more than 99 years and it has been recently merged into State Bank of India.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh

“The Ruling Maharaja of Patiala (1900-1938)”

 The royal house is now headed by Captain Amarinder Singh, the present Chief Minister of Punjab. The royals are the cultural and political icons in east Punjab. Patiala has the distinction of being credited with the royal city tag.

Captain Amarinder Singh

“Present Chief Minister of Punjab”

 Since Indian independence, Patiala has emerged as an educational hub in the State of Punjab. Punjabi University, Thapar University, Rajiv Gandhi National Law University have been imparting quality education. Above all, it houses Govt. Mohindra College which was an initiative of Maharaja Mohinder Singh of Patiala. Its foundation stone was laid on 30th March, 1875. Moreover, there are many leading colleges like Multani Mal Modi College, Govt. Bikram College of Commerce, Khalsa College, Govt. Medical College, Dental College, Govt. College for Girls, Govt. College of Physical Education and Govt. College of Education So any deserving and desirous student has an easy access to any stream of education on the basis of merit. Moreover, there are a number of well-known schools that are affiliated to CBSE and ICSE and a few of them are Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Peters’ Academy, Shivalik Public School with Synthetic Grass Playground (the only one of its kind by New Zealand Company), Buddha Dal Public School, Guru Nanak Foundation Public School etc. Yadvindra Public School a venture of Maharaja Yadvindra Singh, British School and Kaintal School are affiliated to I.C.S.E.

Govt. Mohindra College

(Opening Ceremony was held on 17th March, 1884)

The Royal City of Patiala has a number of religious and cultural tourist attractions. There is Shri Kali Devi Temple dedicated to Maa Kali that was built by Maharaja Bhupindera Singh. He brought the six feet statue of Divine Kali and Paawan Jyoti from Bengal to Patiala with full honour and devotion. It has been declared as a National Monument. All sects of people pay their obeisance here. An old temple of Raj Rajeshwari is also situated in the centre of this complex.

Kali Devi Temple Complex

Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib carries a unique historical glory. It is related to Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji who visited Lehal on Magh Sudi 5,1728 Bikram or 24 January, 1672. He stayed under the Banyan Tree near the pond. The sickness which had been troubling the people of this area subsided. This site is known as Dukh Niwaran. It was a courteous request by one Bhag Ram, a Jhivar of Lehal who waited the visit of the ninth guru during his sojourn. His request to visit and bless his village was granted to relieve the people of their sickness.

Gurudwara Shri Dukhniwaran Sahib

Gurudwara Moti Bagh is situated in the outskirts of the city. Guru Teg Bahadur visited the place on his way towards Delhi who came to Saifabad (Bahadurgarh) on the humble request of Saif Ali Khan, a great worshipper and devotee of Guru Sahib. Guru Ji stayed here for three months and meditated inside the fort.

Bahadurgarh Fort is well-known for its old glory and splendour that is situated on Patiala – Punjabi University road. It was constructed by Nawab Saif Ali Khan in 1658 A.D. where Guru Teg Bahadur visited him. It was renovated by Maharaja Karam Singh in 1837. It is a huge fort with an area of 2 km2. The fort has the resplendency to carry its name in the honour of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib who stayed here for three months for meditation. This honourable title was showered on the fort by Maharaja Karam Singh. This historical Gurudwara is called Gurudwara Sahib Patshahi Nauvin. It is under the control of S.G.P.C.

Bahadurgarh Fort

 The Quila Mubarak is located in the heart of the city spread over 10 acres of vast land. It contains the inner fort and the Darbar Hall. The Quila has many shops within its vicinity including Darshani Gate and Shiva temple. There is a Baba Ala Singh Burge where the flame is burning day and night since the days of Baba Ala Singh which he brought from Jwala Ji. Previously, it was the residence of Patiala royals until the construction of Old Moti Bagh Palace.

Sheesh Mahal is another landmark for the royal city. It was built in the nineteenth century by the Maharajas. It contains a lot of frescoes most of which were built under the rule of His Highness Maharaja Narinder Singh. An artistic museum adds to its grandeur which consists a large number of antiques collection with the benevolence of His Highness Maharaja Bhupinder Singh.

The Bahadari Gardens are matchless in artistic sense and grace. Earlier it had twelve gates as the meaning of ‘Baradari’ stands for twelve. These gardens are located in the north of Patiala which were setup during the reign of Maharaja Rajinder Singh. These wonderful gardens are decked with rare plants and flowers. These gardens have also the privilege to have Dhrove Pandove Cricket Stadium and a Skating Hall. There is a heritage hotel by Neemrana. Hotels group that was opened in 2009. It is situated near Press Club, Patiala. Moreover, it is housed with Punjab Public Service Commission Office and Rajindra Ghymkhana Club.

Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports, the only one of its kind is situated here which is the largest sports institute in Asia. It is housed in Old Moti Bagh Palace. It was purchased by the Government of India after the independence. It houses several sports memorables like the gold medal of Major Dhayan Chand of Amsterdom Olympics of 1928 and Asiad shoe of P.T. Usha for Seoul Asiad of 1986.

Patiala royal city has also the excellence of having many playgrounds like the Raja Bhalindra Sports Complex popularly known as Polo Ground on Lower Mall. It has an indoor stadium with sports facilities. The credit goes to earstwhile Maharajas and royal lineage of the city.

A few words about Adalat Bazar, Sadar Bazar etc are a must that speak of its old stateliness. The Punjabi Jutti, ‘Parandas’, and Shahi Salwar are the most popular trends which make this city all the more at the forefront. Moreover, the Patiala Shahi Turban is an added attraction.

Patiala is also well equipped with medical facilities where private hospitals with modern facilities have come up. Multipurpose hospitals and specialist clinics have risen in good number to look after the citizens of Patiala for their sound health and cheerful disposition.

Patiala has the credit to be possessed with the highest number of vehicles per capita in India. It is well connected to cities like Ambala, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Delhi etc by a network of roads. It is a good luck of Patiala that under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, the Present Chief Minister of Punjab, and ceaseless efforts of Preneet Kaur, former Minister of State in the Ministry of Ext. Affairs. the city is progressing with various projects along with its decoration drive in full swing. The gardens and the roads are being repaired and sewerage system is being laid for the good health of its citizens.

Preneet Kaur

(Ex. Minister of State in the Ministry of Ext. Affairs)

Patiala is a rich source of literary personalities and reputed artists. To name a few are Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Harpal Tiwana (An Auditorium has been constructed in his honour), the Poet Shiv Kumar, the Punjabi singers Gurdas Mann, Harbhajan Mann are well-known. Moreover, Fateh Ali Khan (Member of Patiala Gharana), Dilshad Khan (Member of Patiala Gharana), Lakshmi Shankar etc. are very famous. Navjot Singh Sidhu, former cricketer and currently serving as Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs and Museums of the Punjab State belongs to Patiala. There is an endless list of such artists and players.

North Zone Cultural Centre and Languages Department are also housed here. Gurmukh Singh Musafir Central Library is unique for its collection of books. Omaxe Centre on the Mall, with art-deco designed cinemas and the upcoming Rajindra Lake do deserve appreciation, Patiala Peg, however should not lag behind which is a measure of alcohol. It is usually three or four times to the regular size of whisky which is 30 ml. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was its inventor when an Irish team had visited to play Polo match that was served large pegs.

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