. India has always been known as a land of rich cultural heritage and no city showcases this better than Patiala. Patiala has a lot of monuments and forts that take one back in time to explore the grandeur and the rich history with which India is associated. The city in spite of seeing so much development in the last few years has managed to retain the old charm by means of these historical monuments.
There are lots of best places in Patiala which can be visited and explored when one is travelling to Patiala. There is a war memorial which is dedicated to the soldiers who gave up their lives during the First World War. This is a best place visited by adults and young ones both purely for patriotic reasons.
There are many such monuments in Patiala which display the magnificent architecture which existed a few centuries back. There were numerous monuments constructed in Patiala during the Mughal and the British era and this particular structure was the one that saw the end of the Mughal era, the rise of the British rule in India and also the freedom of the country which is why this is such a popular tourist attraction. These monuments are located all over Patiala and most of these have beautiful engravings all over as well as verses from the Quran inscribed at various sites. It is a must see best place for families on a vacation to Patiala. It is one of the most popular and best places for a family trip and one must surely plan a trip to this wonderful city along with their near and dear ones.
Moti Bagh Palace
. The Moti Bagh Palace, built in the 19th century, is designed after the famous Shalimar Gardens of Lahore with beautiful gardens, water channels, terraces and 'Sheesh Mahal'. The construction of Moti Bagh Palace was started during the reign of Maharaja Narinder Singh and was completed under the rule of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, in the early 20th century. Moti Bagh Palace now houses the National Institute of Sports and the Art Gallery that contains rare photographs, medals and kits etc. of the great Indian sportsmen. It is open for the tourists from Tuesday to Sunday and entry is based on tickets.
. Sheesh Mahal, or the Palace of Mirrors, is one of the popular tourist attractions of Patiala.The exuberance and extravagance of this grand palace was constructed by Narendra Singh who himself was a great connoisseur of art and literature. The painted walls in the interior are adorned with paintings from Rajasthan and Kangra. Special artists were called upon from far flung areas to lay their hand on these artistic pieces. Varied themes have been employed in illustrations. The use of multiple lights creates the effect of hallucinations. Some of the images depict conjugal love of Radha and Krishna while some others have been adopted from ancient texts like Geet Govind.
The palace is also a storehouse of Tibetan artworks. Carved pieces of ivory and wood are worth noticing. You can also have a glimpse of grand sculptures that have been placed inside the museum. But the description of this exquisite place is not over yet. Its Medal Gallery has the huge collection of awards and medals. Gifted by Yadvindra Singh to the government of Punjab, you will see a set of medallions that belong to Finland, Denmark, and many parts of Asia and Africa.
. Rajinder Kothi, situated in the heart of the Baradari Gardens, is the late 19th-century palace built in the colonial style by Maharaja Rajinder Singh. Now it housed Punjab States Archives.
Qila Mubarak Complex
. Baba Ala Singh, the founder of the Patiala Royal dynasty, built Qila Mubarak, at the heart of Patiala City. Initially a mud fortress, it was later it was reconstructed in baked bricks. The interior of the fort, known as Quila Androon, was built by Maharaj Amar Singh. The fort was a rare and outstanding example of Sikh palace architecture.
The Qila Mubarak fort-cum-palace complex is spread over a vast area of 10 acres. The complex consists of Guest House (Ran Baas) and Darbar Hall (Divan Khana) besides Quila Androon. The fort also has an underground sewerage system.The Darbar Hall here displays rare cannons, swords, shields, maces, daggers of Guru Gobind Singh and sword of Nadir Shah.
However, the 250-old fort is in bad shape now. The World Monuments Fund had listed the fort in its list of 100 'most endangered monuments' in the world in 2004. The restoration work has been undertaken to restore its former glory.
History buffs, archaeologists and architect students should definitely visit this site to get some insight into the history of the past.
. Qila Androon or Inner Fort is the residential part of Qila Mubarak, situated on a mound. Qila Androon is a single interconnected building, designed as a series of palaces; the entrance is through an imposing gate decorated with exquisite geometric and floral designs. The architectural style of this palace- 'Qila Androon' is a combination of Mughal and Rajasthani. The complex has 10 courtyards; each and every courtyard is unique in itself. Each set of rooms makes a cluster around a courtyard, and each bears a specific name: Sheesh Mahal, Toshakhana, Jalau Khana, Chand Mahal, Rang Mahal, Treasury and Prison. Recreational chambers called the Putli Ghar and Bagh Ghar and the royal kitchen- Lassi Khana are also there. The royal kitchen is a small two-storied building, with a central courtyard and a well. It adjoins the Ran-bass and a passage links it to the Qila Androon. The striking feature of the palace is its underground sewerage system. There is a room connected with a tunnel, which brings cool air from the basement.
The outer part of ???Qila Mubarak??? situated between Qila Androon and the outer walls, is the secretariat (on the left) and the Darbar Hall (on the right). The Darbar Hall has now been converted into a mini museum, which contains rare arms and armors, including the sword and dagger of Guru Gobind Singh and the sword of Nadir Shah, shields and maces. At present, this museum is the best part of the fort.
Jalau Khana and Sard Khana
. Jalau Khana and Sard Khana are two palaces at the end of Quila Mubarak Complex in Patiala. Jalau Khana (Exhibition Palace) is a two storey building meant for exhibiting badges and other artifacts of the Royal family of Patiala. Sard Khana used to be the summer residence of Patiala rulers and later of the British Administrators.
Jalau Khana has a central hall and galleries. This partly ruined structure has beautiful wooden blinds. The Sard Khana built in two stages has huge Roman pillars and majestic arches. This has a deep well acted as a wind tunnel bringing cool air to the ground floor rooms. Coloured marble floor and stylish fire places are things to watch even today in Sard Khana. Outside the palaces there is a garden with fountains and streams.
Tourists at this palace can also do some shopping for articles like turbans, salwars and footwear for which Patiala is famous for.
. Lachman Jhoola of patiala is a magnificent suspension bridge across the small Lake in front of Sheesh Mahal which links the Sheesh Mahal with the Bansar Ghar. Being a replica of the famous Lakshman Jhoola at Rishikesh, it is named as Lachman Jhoola. The Banasar Ghar now houses the North Zone Cultural Center and a hall for setting up exhibitions.
Bir Moti Bagh
. Bir Moti Bagh, located on the outskirts of Patiala, is a wildlife sanctuary which is a favorite destination for travelers who come to visit Patiala. The Bir was originally the hunting preserve of the Maharaja spread over an area of 1,600-acre. Most of the Bir is still forest, but parts of it have been converted into a zoo and a deer park, and a pilot project on medicinal plants.
. Baradari Gardens, located in the north of old Patiala City, was built by Maharaja Rajinder Singh around 'Baradari Palace'. It was the state guest house for foreigners and important Indian dignitaries during the rule of the Patiala dynasty. Dotted with impressive Colonial buildings and a statue of the founder, the Baradari garden has rare plants and trees, the rock garden and the fern house. The 19th century Fern House along with quaint Rink Hall is a unique attraction of Baradari Gardens.
Gurdwara Shri Dukhniwaran Sahib
. Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib of Patiala is famous among the devotees as pain (dukh) reliever (nivaran). A local tradition says that one Bhag Ram, a villager of the jhivar caste from Lehal village, went to the nearby town of Saifabad (now Bahadurgarh) to meet the visiting Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur. He pleaded with the Guru to visit and bless Lehal village so that its inhabitants could get rid of a mysterious sickness which had been plaguing the village for a long time. Shortly thereafter, the Guru visited the village and often sat meditating and preaching under a banyan tree by the side of the village pond. The village was soon rid of the sickness. The place where the Guru sat came to be known as Dukh Nivaran, meaning the eradicator of suffering. Devotees visiting the shrine have great faith in the healing qualities of the water in the sacred tank (sarovar) by the gurdwara. It is said that this elevated site has been visited by Guru Teg Bahadur.
On the left of the shrine is a massive hall called the Guru ka Langar (the Guru???s community kitchen), where visitors of all castes and religions can enjoy free meals several times a day. The shrine now has underground as well as overground parking lots for the vehicles of the visitors which can even accommodate buses and trucks. On the fifth day of the light half of each lunar month, a large number of devotees throng the shrine to pay obeisance and have a dip in the sacred tank for the festival of Basant Panchami which is held every year to mark the visit of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.
. Kali Temple, located on Mall Road, is a popular religious destination for Hindus. Dedicated to Goddess Kali, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, this temple was built by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of the Patiala royal family in 1936. The six-foot idol of Kali Devi is black in color and seen in standing position inside the gold plated sanctum. Being the ferocious form of Goddess Durga, Kali Devi is seen with blood shot eyes, open mouth and a drooping tongue, with a bent sword and a human head in her hand.
Built entirely in white marble, this temple is also known for its beautiful architecture. The walls of the temple have beautiful murals and frescoes depicting the stories from Hindu epics and mythological stories. You can also join the thousands of devotees who come here to offer lentils, sweets, coconuts and bangles to the goddess
. Mall Road with fountains and beautifully paved walkways is another tourist attraction of Patiala. On one side of Mall road is the Baradari- the colonial area of Patiala, and on the other is the walled city. Government offices, entertainment spots including cinema theatres, Rajendra Tank and a few temples are also situated at Mall Road.
Moti Bagh Gurdwara
. Gurdwara Motibagh is an old Sikh shrine located near the Old Motibagh Palace, the old residence of the former Maharajas of Patiala. According to the historians, Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs, stayed at this place for sometime in 1675, before proceeding to Delhi to meet the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The place was thickly forested and almost forgotten till Maharaja Narinder Singh of Patiala (1823-62), who had built his residential palace.
. 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.
. Qila Bahadurgarh is located on the Patiala-Chandigarh Road on the outskirts of the city. Constructed by Nawab Saif Khan in 1658 AD and later renovated by Maharaja Karam Singh of the Patiala Royal family in 1837, Qila Bahadurgarh was considered impregnable due to its unique architecture.Though in its heydays the fort had three massive walls and two huge moats, this citadel is in a dilapidated condition today. The name Bahadurgarh was given by Maharaja Karam Singh as a tribute to the Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur who stayed here for a while.
Apart from its rich architecture, the fort has got a religious significance as well. The fort houses a Gurudwara, Gurdwara Sahib Patshai Nauvin, and a mosque, Saif Khan's Mosque, in its premises. Saif Khan's tomb is also found near the mosque.
The best time to visit is during Mela Roza Sharit Nawab Saif Ali, a fair organized in the memory of Saif Khan in June and January.
Currently, Bahadurgarh Fort is in the possession of Punjab Police.One can also visit Panch Bati Garden and Punjab University which are situated nearby.Easily accessible, Qila Bahadurgarh is situated at a distance of 6 km from the city.