Kapurthala is a city in Punjab state of India. It is the administrative headquarters of Kapurthala District. It was the capital of the Kapurthala State (ruled by Ahluwalia Dynasty), a princely state in British India. The secular and aesthetic mix of the city with its prominent buildings based on French and Indo-Saracenic architecture self-narrate its princely past. It is also known as city of Palaces & Gardens.
History of Kapurthala district,Punjab
Kapurthala was founded in 11th century by Rana Kapur, who was descendant of Rajput royal house of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. It is known to be an erstwhile royal state.
Monuments and buildings at Kapurthala district,Punjab
The City of Kapurthala has several buildings and places of interest linked to its local history such as the Sainik School (Formerly Jagatjit Palace), Shalimar Bagh (Gardens), District Courts buildings, Moorish Mosque, Panch Mandir (“Five Temples”), Clock Tower, State Gurudwara, Kanjli Wetlands, Guru Nanak Sports Stadium, Jagjit Club, and the NJSA Government college
Sainik School (Jagatjit Palace)
The Sainik School, formerly known as Jagatjit Palace, is housed in what was formerly the palace of the erstwhile Maharajah of Kapurthala state, HRH Maharajah Jagatjit Singh. The palace building has a spectacular architecture based on the Palace of Versailles and Fontainebleau spread over a total area of 200 acres (0.81 km2). It was designed by a French architect M. Marcel and built by a local builder Allah Ditta. It was built in renaissance style with the sunken park in the front (Known as Baija). Its Durbar Hall (Diwan-E-Khas) is one of the finest in India and the Plaster of Paris figures and painted ceilings represent the finest features of French and Italian art and architecture. The construction of this palace was commenced in 1900 and completed in 1908 in time for the new wife of the Maharajah Anita Delgado.
Elysee Palace, Kapurthala district,Punjab
The Elysee Palace was built by Kanwar Bikrama Singh in 1862. This beautiful building with its imposing and elegant facade has now been converted into MGN School of Kapurthala.
A spectacular example of the secular history of Kapurthala is the Moorish Mosque, a famous replica of the Grand Mosque of Marakesh, Morocco, was built by a French architect, Monsieur M Manteaux. Its construction was commissioned by the last ruler of Kapurthala, Maharajah Jagatjit Singh and took 13 years to complete between 1917 and 1930. It was then consecrated in the presence of the late Nawab of Bhawalpur. The Mosque’s inner dome contains decorations by the artists of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore. The Mosque is a National Monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. It was one of the monumental creations in the State during the premiership of late Diwan Sir Abdul Hamid Kt., CIE, OBE. It was his keen interest with Maharaja’s blessings that the mosque was completed. Its wooden model lay at the entrance of the Lahore Museum.
Jagatjit Club is an elegant building situated in the heart of the city based on the Greek roman style of architecture. Its design loosely resembles the Acropolis of Athens and features the Coat of Arms of the erstwhile ruling family of Kapurthala with their royal motto “Pro Rege et Patria” (For King and Country) on its pediment. The building has been used for a variety of purposes since it was constructed, it was used as a church in the early nineteenth century, as a cinema hall in the 1940s and now houses a local club which includes a well built badminton court, a card room and a dining hall which serves the best of food.
Shalimar Gardens, Kapurthala district,Punjab
Shalimar Gardens are situated in roughly the centre of the city and provide an escape from the hustle-bustle of the city. The Shahi Samadhs (The Royal Cenotaphs) in the Shalimar Gardens emphasize the traditions of its ruling Dynasty. Marble obelisks inside the red sandstone Chambers, are Memorials to the former Rulers and their families. Nearby, a grand structure built in 1880 and built on a marble plinth, houses the Samadhs of Maharajas Kharak Singh, Jagatjit Singh and Paramjit Singh.
Panch Mandir (Five Temples)
Panch Mandir of Kapurthala is a place of reverence for all faiths. The temple complex has a spectacular construction and is home to five small temples. Built during the reign of Sardar Fateh Singh, an extraordinary feature of this temple is that from the entry door, one can view all the five idols and pay obeisance to all. There is a temple Mandir Shivala Dewan Banna Mal Gautam in Nawanshahr Which is replica of Panch Mandir Kapurthala. Dewan Banna Mal Gautam was Chief Minister of Kapurthala State and Manager of His Highness Maharaja Sir Randhir Singh Bahadur of Kapurthala’s estates in Oudh.
The State Gurdwara
The large and imposing red sandstone building (now painted white) of the State Gurudwara was consecrated in 1915 under the in charge of Revail Singh. Built in the Indo- Saracenic style, it has vast expanses of marble haloed by the feet of the hundreds of devotees. It is situated in the center of the city on the Sultanpur road.
11 Mukhi Shiv Ling Brahmkund Temple is jathere of Gautam Brahmin Family of Dewan Banna Mal Gautam (Misr). This temple was built by Dewan Banna Mal’s sons Dewan Acchru Mal Gautam and Dewan Sundri Mal Gautam. Dewan Banna Mal was Dewan of Maharaja Randhir Singh Bahadur of Kapurthala and Manager of Kapurthala’s estate in Oudh. Bana Mala Wala village in Mand area of Kapurthala is after Banna Mal’s Name and Dewan Banna Mal has also built Shivala Dewa Banna Mal in Nawanshahr.
Gurudwara Ber Sahib
The famous Gurdwara Ber Sahib is situated at Sultanpur Lodhi, which is one of the four sub-divisions (Tehsil) of Kapurthala. This historic site is of great importance to Sikhism as it is said to be the very place where the First Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, spent 14 years of his life and attained enlightenment whilst bathing in a small rivulet, the Bein. The place derives its name from a Ber tree (Zizyphus Jujuba) said to be planted by Guru Nanak himself and under which he first uttered the Mool Mantra or the “Sacred Word or Revelation” of Sikhism.
Kanjli Wetlands, Kapurthala district,Punjab
Kanjli Wetlands, on the western Bein rivulet at the outskirts of the city, has been included in under the Ramsar Convention. It is a very popular site for bird watching and boating. An enormous project is currently being undertaken here to develop it into a destination for bird watching replete with modern-day facilities. Sadly the Kanjli Wetlands have been in a state of neglect lately with little attention being given by the authorities to the condition of flora and fauna and its surrounding infrastructure.
Industries in Kapurthala district,Punjab
Kapurthala is home to several medium and large scale industries. Some of these are:
Kapurthala is a prominent market in Punjab for both Basmati & non-Basmati paddy and rice.