To catalogue Punjabs charms, one has a to
traverse from forts to factories, from ancient history to the age of
informatics. However, present day Punjab still boasts of many
historic sites and places of cultural significance.
JALANDHAR - THE SPORTS
CITY OF INDIA
If there exists an
ancient city with a modern face, then Jalandhar fits the description.
A town of great antiquity, Jalandhar today is a highly
industrialized center of commercial activity. It also claims the
privilege of being the sports city of India as not only has it
produced some of our finest sports people but also world class sports
equipment which is produced here. In fact, 12 of Indias
greatest hockey players have come from a single village, Sansarpur,
in Jalandhar district.
suggests that in 185 B.C., Jalandhar defined the northwestern
boundary of Pushyamitra Sungas kingdom. Jalandhar also finds
mention in accounts of King Harshas reign which began in 606
A.D, Udita, the King of Jalandhar was a small but independent kingdom
known as Trigarta.
Jalandhar continued to
flourish under the Mughals and played a prominent role in the freedom
struggle as many patriots were born here.
Jalandhar boasts of many
historic monuments. Prominent among them are the mausoleum of Imran
Nasir, the fort at Phillaur which once served as Maharaja Ranjit
Singhs line of defence against the British, a Shiv Mandir which
dates back to the Lodhi era and the Gurudwara at Kartarpur. The
Gurudwara at Kartapur (16 m from Jalandhar town) was built by the
fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Devji in 1656 A.D. Every year, a fair is
held on the birth anniversary of the Guru when a large number of
devotees gather to pay homage.
Another popular annual
event is the Har Ballabh Sangeet Sammelan held in the last week of
December at the Devi Talab. Baba Har Ballabh, born in a Brahmin
family at Bajwara, Hoshiarpur, shifted to Jalandhar and became Swami
Tulja Girls disciple. In 1875, he began the Sangeet Mela in
the memory of his Guru and the tradition continues strong even today.
Prominent exponents of classical music, both vocal and instrumental
gather to provide a feast of music.
LUDHIANA - MANCHESTER
The Punjabi spirit of
enterprise and business savvy is best exemplified by the city of
Ludhiana which is renowned the world over for its hosiery goods. It
is no exaggeration to say that in Ludhiana every household is a mini
hosiery unit and everybody seems to be involved in some way or the
other in this lucrative business. From Moscow to Montreal, shopping
malls retail both cotton and woollen products from Ludhiana.
However, Ludhianas claim to fame is not its commercial
enterprises alone. It is an important pilgrimage center as there are
many historic Gurudwaras in and around Ludhiana. Ludhiana also
boasts of many prestigious educational institutions. There are two
Medical Colleges and the famous Punjab Agricultural University
modelled on the Land Grant of America.
During the reign of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Ludhiana became an important British
cantonment. Initially in 1805, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had occupied
Ludhiana. However, in 1809, the British decided to curb his advance
eastwards and sent troops to confront him. Ranjit Singh was forced
to sign the treaty of perpetual friendship with the
British which confined his activities to the right bank of the
Sutlej. British troops were permanently stationed in Ludhiana and
the Cis-Sutlej states came under British Protection.
Ludhiana is initially
connected with Guru Gobind Singhji. In the village Machhiwara,
Ludhiana district, is the Gurudwara Charan Kanwal named after the
Gurus lotus feet. When Aurangzebs army attacked the
fortress of Chamkaur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singhji successfully resisted
their onslaught and slipped away into the forests of Machhiwara. The
Mughal forces got wind of his whereabouts and Guru Gobind was saved
by two of his Muslim devotees who disguised him as their Muslim
prophet. The place where the Guru rested is where the Gurudwara
stands today. Another famous Gurudwara Manji Sahib is at Alamgir, 10
kilometres from Ludhiana, where the two Muslim devotees placed the
cot in which Guruji was being carried. There is a ten feet deep tank
near the Gurudwara where, according to a legend, Guru Gobind Singhji
shot an arrow into the parched land which miraculously yielded water.
During the struggle for
freedom from the British, many leaders of the freedom movement came
from Ludhiana. Prominent among them were Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar
Kartar Singh Saraba, Baba Santa Singh and Maulana Habibur Rehman.
A war museum is being set
up in Ludhiana at the cost of Rs. 1.83 crores. The museum will have
a separate weapons section, a medal section and will display
photographs and paintings in various battles. Ludhiana will then
truly salute the noble warrior spirit of the Punjabis.
FEROZEPORE - AT THE
HUB OF CONFLICTS
Ferozepore is an ancient
city situated close to the present day Indo-Pakistan border. It is
believed to have been founded by Ferozeshah Tughluq in the 14th
century. Another version claims that it was founded by a Bhatti
chief Feroze Khan. However, the first version is more widely
accepted as Ferozeshah Tughluq had a passion for building new cities
and renaming old ones especially after his own name. He claimed,
Among the many gifts which God bestowed upon me, His humble
servant, was a desire to erect public buildings. So I built many
mosques, colleges and monasteries, that the learned and the elders,
the devout and the holy, might worship God in these edifices and aid
the kind builder with their prayers.
strategic position in the northwest of the country has resulted in
its being part of many military expeditions in the area. During the
first Anglo-Sikh war in 1845, it was due to the negligence of the
British commander at Ferozepore that the Khalsa was able to cross the
Sutlej unopposed. When Lord Hardinge declared war on the Sikhs, the
first battle was fought at Mudki, 20 miles south-east of Ferozepore.
In 1838, Ferozepore was the centre from where British troops advanced
to Kabul during the first Anglo-Afghan war.
Three heroic martyrs of
Indias freedom struggle Bhagat Singh and his associates
Rajgurur and Sukhdev have their final resting place on the
banks of the river Sutlej in Ferozepore. On March 23, 1931, despite
popular protest, these three heroes were executed in Lahore and were
stealthily cremated in the dead of night near Ferozepore. They were
killed for raising the flag of revolutionary terrorism against the
British, displaying their deep patriotism and defiance for the
foreign rulers till the very end.
Today, a Shaheed Bhagat
Singh Memorial marks the spot and every year on March 23, thousands
of people gather to pay homage to these noble heroes.
Ferozepore has another
historical memorial, the Saragarhi Gurdwara, commemorating the
sacrifice of 21 Sikh soldiers who perished at Saragarhi in
Baluchistan. On 12 September, every year, people gather here to pay
tribute to the heroic soldiers and celebrate Saragarhi Day. The
memorial service also provides an occasion for ex-servicemen to have
SIRHIND - A MUGHAL
Sirhind is a city where
the Mughals still live on in the magnificent architectural legacy
they have left for the future generations. The origin of the city is
not known but probably dates back to the 10th century. In
1360, Ferozeshah Tughluq used Sirhind as his regional headquarters
and built many edifices including the Ferozeshah fort. However,
Sirhind achieved it zenith under the Mughals as it received the
personal attention of emperors like Akbar and Jahangir. Many Afghan
rulers over the ages claimed Sirhind as their territory and there are
many monuments in the city which illustrate the Afghan links of this
A prominent Mughal
monument is the Aam Khas Bagh which was built by Akbar and later
developed by Jahangir and Shahjahan. As the name denotes, the garden
was meant both for the public and royalty. The royal part includes a
large water tank, a palace with beautiful walls ZNd elaborate
fountains. Another monument is the Rauza Sharif of Hazrat
Mujadid-Alaf-Saani, Sheikh Ahmed Farooqi of Sirhind, a contemporary
of Akbar and Jahangir. His mausoleum is regarded as the second Mecca
by Sunni Muslims all over the world as the Sheikh is considered
second to the prophet, Hazrat Mohammed. The annual Urs is celebrated
with zest by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs who gather here in large
numbers. Next in the mausoleum is the cenotaph of shah Zaman, the
Sirhind has also
witnessed many important events in the evolution of the Sikh faith.
It was here in the ancient fort of Sirhind built by Ferozeshah
Tughlaq that the two young sons of Guru Gobind Singhji were bricked
in by walls and suffocated to death for refusing to embrace Islam.
The Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib built on the spot commemorates the
victory or fateh or the two noble souls who refused to
abandon there faith under severed duress. Near the Gurudwara is the
Burj of Mata Gurji in the memory of the sorrowful grandmother who
died of shock seeing the martyrdom of her minor grandsons. The
Gurudwara Jyoti Swarup marks the spot where all these were cremated.
Every December, thousands gather here during the Jor Mela to pay
homage and express their devotion.
KAPURTHALA - THE
Kapurthala is a city with
a colourful past. The capital of the erstwhile Kapurthala State, the
city is the headquarter of the district by the same name and is
located nine kilometres away from Jalandhar city. The Maharajas of
Kapurthala were renowned for their tastes and many of them were
influenced by western fashions and trends. Perhaps the most
colourful of them was Maharaja Jagat Singh who is believed to have
been one of the most enlightened of the Hindu princes in
Many of Kapurthalas
striking buildings owe their existence to Maharaja Jagat Singh. He
was a great admirer of French architecture and has a Louis the XVI
palace built for himself by a French architect. The famous French
architect M. Manteaux designed the Moorish Mosque, a unqiue building
in India because of the Moorish style of architecture. The mosque
has a large compound paved with pure Indian marble and the inner dome
has been decorated by artists from the Lahore School of Art.
Maharaja Jagatjit Singhs palace today houses the Sainik School
and epitomizes the perfect blend of French architecture and oriental
Kapurthala has many other
buildings associated with its erstwhile rulers. A few miles from
Kapurthala on the banks of the rivulet Bein is the Villa Buona Vista,
the residence of the Maharajas of Kapurthala. This area is well
suited for picnics and boating and fishing expeditions. The Shalimar
Garden in Kapurthala contains the samadhis (memorials) of the
former rulers, some of them embellished with exquisite filigree work.
In the heart of
Kapurthala town is the Panch Mandir built by Sardar Fateh Singh which
houses many deities in a series of small temples built around a
central dome. Thirty kilometres south of Kapurthala is the town of
Sultanpur Lodhi where there is Gurudwara Ber Sahib, a renowned center
of pilgrimage for Sikhs. The Gurudwara is named after the Ber
tree under which Guru Nanak Devji meditated. There are many other
Gurudwaras here as Guru Nanak Devji spent many years of his early
life in and around Sultanpur Lodhi.