Patiala is a city in southeastern Punjab, in northern India. It is the fourth largest city in the state and is the administrative capital of Patiala district. Patiala is located around the Qila Mubarak (the Fortunate Castle). It was constructed by militiamen Sardar Lakhna and Baba Ala Singh in 1763.
In popular culture, the city remains famous for its traditional turban (a type of headgear), paranda (a tasselled tag for braiding hair), patiala salwar (a type of female trousers), jutti (a type of footwear) and Patiala peg (a measure of liquor).
The first Indian astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, was born in Patiala.
History of Patiala district
Patiala State was established by Muslim Dogars and Sidhu Sikh Jats. Patiala state was established by two friends, Ala Sing Sidhu, a Sikh Jat, and Lakhna Dogar, a Muslim, in about 1721. Initially, they captured 24 villages and then enhanced further by conquering more and more adjacent areas. From the beginning of Patiala State until 1857, the Raja used to be a Sikh, from the family of Ala Sing Sidhu and the Army Commander, a Muslim, from the family of Lakhna Dogar—most likely because of an oral understanding and agreement of the two founders. The renowned commanders (Sipah Salar) of Patiala State, from Lakhna Dogar’s family were: Lakhna Dogar, Sadar Deen Dogar, Shaira Dogar, Kaima Dogar, Saida Dogar, Karim-Buksh Dogar and Kala Dogar,who was commander-in-chief of Patiala in Sikh-English war fought at Mudhki.From(1845-1862) Patiala was ruled by Jat ruler Maharaja Narendra Singh who fortified the city of Patiala by constructing ramparts and ten gates around it as listed below.
The royal house is now headed by His Highness Maharajadhiraj Captain Amarinder Singh, Mahendra Bahadur of Patiala who also served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007. The royals are considered cultural and political icons in Patiala.
Maharaja Karam Singh who ruled from 1813 to 1845 (the Sikh Kingdom of Patiala in Punjab) joined the British East India Company and helped the British during the First Anglo Sikh wars against the Sikh Empire of Maharajah Ranjit Singh of Punjab which was larger and extended from Tibet Kashmir, plains of Punjab to Peshawar near the Afghan borders.
Tourist attractions at Patiala district
Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib
It is situated very close to Bus Stand, Patiala. According to local tradition, supported by an old handwritten document preserved in the Gurdwara, one Bhag Ram, a jhivar of Lehal, waited upon ninth guru of Sikhs Guru Tegh Bahadur during his sojourn at Saifabad (now Bahadurgarh), and made the request that he might be pleased to visit and bless his village so that its inhabitants could be rid of a serious and mysterious sickness which had been their bane for a long time. The Guru visited Lehal on Magh sudi 5, 1728 Bikram/24 January 1672 and stayed under a banyan tree by the side of a pond. The sickness in the village subsided. The site where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sat came to be known as Dukh Nivaran, literally meaning eradicator of suffering. Devotees have faith in the healing qualities of water in the sarovar attached to the shrine. It is still believed that any kind of illness can be cured by ‘ishnaan’ on 5 consecutive panchmi.
Gurdwara Moti Bagh Sahib
Gurudwara Moti Baag Sahib is situated in the Patiala City. When Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji started his journey towards Delhi, he came here via Kiratpur Sahib, Bharatgarh Sahib, Roap Makar, Kabulpur etc. Saint Saif Ali Khan was great follower of Guru Sahib, To fulfill his wish Guru Sahib came to his Place Saifabad (Bahadur Garh). Guru Sahib stayed here for 3 Months. Saif Ali Khan Served Guru Sahib with great Devotion. In day time Guru Sahib used to meditate on the Place inside the Qila(Fort) and used to come here in the night time. From here Guru Sahib left towards Samana, Guru Sahib took rest for some time this place. From here Guru Sahib left towards Samana and stayed in the Haveli of Muhamad Bakhsish. From there onwards Guru Sahib left towards Cheeka Via Karhali, Balbera.
Bahadurgarh Fort, Patiala district
The Bahadurgarh Fort is 6 kilometres away from Patiala city. It is situated on the Patiala-Chandigarh road. The fort was constructed by Nawab Saif Khan in 1658 A.D and later renovated by a Sikh ruler Maharaja Karam Singh in 1837. The construction of the entire fort was completed in eight years. A sum of ten lakh rupees was spent on its construction. It covers an area of 2 km2. The fort is enclosed within two rounded walls and a moat. The circumference of the fort is slightly over two kilometres.
The name Bahadurgarh fort was given by Maharaja Karam Singh as a tribute to the Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur who stayed here for three months and nine days before leaving for Delhi. The fort consist of a historical Gurdwara Sahib (a Sikh temple) named Gurdwara Sahib Patshai Nauvin.This Gurudwara shows fine Sikh architecture. This gurudwara is controlled by the Shiromini Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee. People visit this gurdwara on the occasion of the festival of Baisakhi on 13 April, every year.
Qila Mubarak complex, Patiala district
The Qila Mubarak complex stands on a 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, colourful hand-woven fabrics, ‘jootis’ and bright ‘Parandis’.
It was the principal residence of the Patiala royals until the construction of Old Moti Bagh Palace.
The entrance is through an imposing gate. The architectural style of the palace is a synthesis of late Mughal and Rajasthani. The complex has 10 courtyards along the north-south axis. Each courtyard is unique in size and character, some being broad, others very small and 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: Topkhana, Qila Mubarak, Sheesh 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, fireplaces made of marble and built-in toilets perched on the Mughal Rajasthani roof. Burj Baba Ala Singh has a fire smoldering ever since the time of Baba Ala Singh, along with a flame brought by him from Jwalaji. Every year its decorated beautifully for the Heritage Festival.
Sheesh Mahal , Patiala district
A part of the Old Moti Bagh Palace built in the 19th century by the Maharajas is the famous Sheesh Mahal, literally meaning the Palace of Mirrors. The mahal contains a large number of frescoes, most of which were made under His Highness Maharaja Narinder Singh. A lake in front of the palace adds to the beauty. Lakshman Jhula, a bridge built across the lake, is a famous attraction. A museum housing the largest collection of medals from the world collected by His Highness Maharaja Bhupinder Singh is here.
Currently the museum along with the main building is closed for public viewing because of renovation. However, tourists can access the surroundings of the Mahal along with the Lakshman Jhula.
Baradari Gardens, Patiala district
The Baradari Gardens are in the north of old Patiala city, just outside Sheranwala Gate. The garden complex, set up during the reign of Maharaja Rajindera Singh, has extensive vegetation of rare trees, shrubs, and flowers dotted with impressive Colonial buildings and a marble statue of Maharaja Rajindera Singh. It was built as a royal residence with a cricket stadium, a skating rink and a small palace set in its heart named Rajindera Kothi.
After extensive restoration it opened as a heritage hotel run by Neemrana Hotels group in 2009. It is Punjab’s first heritage hotel. It is near Press Club Patiala. Press Club Patiala was established in 2006 and now headed by Parveen Komal, president.
National Institute of Sports, Patiala district
Founded in 1961, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NIS) is Asia’s largest sports institute in princely city of Patiala. The institute was renamed as Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in January 1973.
NIS is housed in the Old Moti Bagh palace of erstwhile royal family of Patiala, which was purchased by government of India after Indian Independence. Today, several sport memorabilia, like a hass (doughnut shaped exercise disc), weighing 95 kg, used by the Great Gama for squats, Major Dhyan Chand’s gold medal, from 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, and PT Usha 1986 Seoul Asiad shoes, are housed at the National Institute of Sports Museum.
Sporting venues and gardens, Patiala district
Patiala is home to numerous inter-state sporting teams in tournaments like Black Elephants. The city has facilities for cricket, swimming, shooting, skating and hockey. The city has stadiums such as Dhruv Pandove Ground, Raja Bhalinder Stadium and National Institute of Sports.
The latest addition to sports is the state-of-the-art shotgun shooting ranges housing New Moti Bagh Gun Club at village Maine. Founded by the royal family of Patiala, these ranges are home to the Indian Shotgun Shooting team who routinely trains here. It has recently hosted the 2nd Asian Shotgun Championship.