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  • Punjab, the land of five rivers, India's bread basket, cradle of the Green revolution, land of Saint Soldiers. ਪੰਜਾਬ ਰੰਗਲਾ ਦੇਸ ਹੈ। ਇਥੇ ਕੁਦਰਤ ਆਪਣੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਨਿਖਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਬਹੁਰੰਗੀ ਤਸਵੀਰ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਹਰਿਆਵਲ ਤੇ ਸੋਕਾ, ਗਰਮੀ ਤੇ ਸਰਦੀ, ਮੀਂਹ ਤੇ ਔਡ਼, ਹੁੱਸਡ਼ ਤੇ ਤੀਖਣ ਬੁੱਲੇ, ਸਰੀਰਕ ਸ੍ਰਮ ਤੇ ਕੋਮਲ ਹੁਨਰ, ਮਾਲਾ ਤੇ ਚੰਡੀ, ਰੁੱਖਡ਼ਪਣ ਤੇ ਸਾਹਿਤਕ ਸਰਸਤਾ ਆਦਿ ਬੇਜੋਡ਼ ਜੋਡ਼ੇ ਅੰਕ ਸਹੇਲੀਆਂ ਵਾਂਙ ਇਥੇ ਗਲਵੱਕਡ਼ੀਆਂ ਪਾਈ ਨਜ਼ਰੀਂ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਹਨ। Eh Mera Punjab | Promote your Page too
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    Didar Sandhu

                                             

    Didar Singh Sandhu (1942-1991) was a renowed Punjabi singer & songwriter. He is widely famous as one of most famous punjabi folk singer of all time.

    Early years
    Didar Sandhu was born in 3rd July 1942 to Sardarni Daan Kaur and Sardar Sumand Singh in Village of Chhak no. 133, Tehsil Silawali of District Sargodha in Punjab before the partition of India and Pakistan. He was the youngest of five brothers. Due to partition family moved to Punjab, India and settled in District Ludhiana. Didar also served as Sarpanch of his village Bharowal Khurd near Mullanpur Dakha in district Ludhiana. In 1966, Didar married to Amarjeet Kaur of Village Galib Kalan and couple had two children. Didar’s son Jagmohan Sandhu is also a famous punjabi singer.

    Rise to fame
    Didar was very fond of poetry at early age and started to write poetry early in his school days. Didar’s wriiten first song ‘Jatt Bada Bedardi’ was sung by Narinder Biba. In 1962, Didar was employed by Punjab Govt where he met Mohd. Sadiq (Punjabi Singer) at a theatre company which did Punjabi dramas in early 1960’s and both became very good friends. Most of Didar’s early songs were recorded in the voice of Narinder Biba and Mohd.Sadiq. Didar’s popularity grew after Mohd.Sadiq sung his song “Meri Aissi Jhanger Chanke, Chankata Painda Gali Gali” and gave him a very distinct identity in Punjabi Music. His first song as singer which was recorded ‘Pind diyan Mundeya Nu Sanu Vekh Need Na Aave’ with female singer Sanehlata. Didar Sandhu’s penned many songs for great Punjabi singers of like:

    Career
    He was famous as brilliant duet singer of his era. During his singing career, Didar sung with many popular Punjabi female singers of his time. He recorded more than 40 songs with Senah Lata but after such a time she married overseas and left her singing career. Didar recorded 13 ssongs with Kuldeep Kaur , 4 with Parminder Sandhu and Baljit Balli respectively in the 1980’s. From1980-82 period, Didar recorded close to 20 songs with “Punjab Di Koel” Surinder Kaur (Nightingale of Punjab). After 1982, he exclusively sung with Amar Noori for a long time. Didar Sandhu fell ill due to Alcohal & which caused problem for his lungs and stomach. In 1991, he was admitted to DMC Ludhiana on 13 Feb, where Didar Sandhu died on 16 Feb 1991.

    Didar’s popular songs:-

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    Visit village Parsrampur in Distt: Jalandhar-Punjab, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur visited this village, also know for it Kabaddi players.

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    Has Na Gayeo a duet by Jagmohan Kaur and K Deep, who can forget Mai Mohno and Posti.

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    Bhathi Wale Daane…

    Bhathi Wale Daane…

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    Old Gate in Zira (Punjab)…should we not save our Heritage?

    Old Gate in Zira (Punjab)…should we not save our Heritage?

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    Chattian Madhanian - Harman Sidhu

    True Punjabi’s are forgetting their Virsa.

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    Visit Punjab a Series…

    Punjab is a land where you find history, natural beauty, religion and legendary hospitality combine into one. The famous Golden Temple is often referred to as the emblem of the state. But there are more to its credit. History still has its strong imprint in the tourist attractions in Punjab. Religion adds another layer of charm to them.
    The fertile lands of Punjab can bowl you over with sheer beauty. A long drive along the smooth roadways would offer you vistas of green stretches of mustard fields. With mustard flowers in full bloom, it becomes another breathtaking view.
    Some important tourist attractions in Punjab are: Golden Temple & Jallianwalla Bagh (Amritsar), Anandpur Sahib, Sheesh Mahal & Qila Mubarak (Patiala), Qila Mubarak (Bathinda), Wagha Border Crossing, Chandigarh, Bhakra Nangal Dam, Gurdwara Mehdiana Sahib, Hussaini Wala Border in Ferozepur, Sikh War Memorial (Ferozeshah), and Shahpur Kandi fort are some of the must-see tourist attractions in Punjab.

    In this series we will post pictures and some background about these place of interest.

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    Lost Palace of Amritsar…The Palace

    From its origins in the last years of Maharaja Ranjit Singh rule to the end of the Sikh Empire, the lost palace continued to serve its intended purpose as a palatial residence or bunga on the parkarma of the sacred pool at Amritsar. Its occupants would have had a spectacular view of the Darbar Sahib and the sacred pool of nectar. One of the most famous painting of the lost palace, August Schoeffts epic scene of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Darbar Sahib was painted during this era.

    With the end of the Sikh Empire and its annexation by the British in 1849, European artist and then photographers started appearing in Punjab and visiting Darbar Sahib at Amritsar, an area that only a handful had ever seen before during the time of the Sikh Empire.

    The 1850’s would see the very first photographs of Darbar Sahib by Felice Beato and the popular paintings of Darbar Sahib by artist William Carpenter. These early images of Darbar Sahib featuring the lost palace help provide a record of the lost palace before it disappeared from the pages of history and memory.

    The loss of influence over Amritsar with British rule also ment that Sikhs lost control over the use of the lost palace. , The history of the lost palace would now take a drastic turn with the palace would now be symbolic of a new era of colonial government administration featuring a disregard for the religious and cultural sensitivities of the ‘natives’.

    The lost palace, located on the ‘pool of nectar’ at Amritsar, an area representing the spiritual heartland of the Sikh religion was now occupied by the Christian missionaries of the Amritsar Mission School. Although Sikhs are well known for their religious tolerance, this invasion of the spiritual sanctity of the Darbar Sahib complex by an organization dedicated to the conversion of Sikhs to Christianity represented a complete lack of religious sensitivity by the British administrators.

    In its final years things would take an even more bizarre turn as the lost palace would be used as a police station with a prison and court house.

    The Kutwallee - This building, used as a prision and Court House, was built by Mr. Saunders, Collector of Umritser, and is one of the few English buildings in India which do not look out of place among their native neighbours. It is situated on the borders of the Tank, opposite the Holy Temple, and is constantly haunted by beggars; the applications for baksheesh, or bounty, being indeed most inconveniently, and through their importunity annoyingly, multiplied through all the neighbourhood of the Holy Tank. The deformities exhibited also to stimulate charity are very shocking.
    Original Sketches in the Punjaub by a Lady
    Dickinson Bros. London, ca. 1854

    This account by the wife of a British officer stationed at Amritsar accompanies a detailed sketch by her of the lost palace. She erroneously attributes the construction of the lost palace to a British administrator, but we know from August Schoefft’s painting that the lost palace already existed in the time of Maharaja Sher Singh before British rule.

    Why the British felt a need to convert a palace on the sacred pool of nectar into a police station is odd and difficult to explain. In the entire city of Amritsar could they not have chosen a more appropriate location rather than at the Sikh spiritual center of Darbar Sahib?

    A travel account by William Knight of a visit to Darbar Sahib in October 1860 provides one of the last known references to the lost palace prior to its destruction.

    October 22. - Out at four A.M. to explore the great durbar, or head-quarters of the Sikh religion in the Punjab. Entering through a highly decorated archway in the kotwalee, or police-station, we came upon an enormous tank, with steps descending into the water on all sides, and planted around with large and shady tree…After this we repaired to the kotwalee again, and, getting a pair of slippers in exchange for our boots, descended to the durbar and mingled with the crowd.
    Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet
    William Henry Knight, London, 1863

    Knights provides additional important information indicating that during this time period the palace served as one of the main entrances to the Darbar Sahib complex, complete with a depository for shoes.

    Knight also mentions that the palace had a archway leading to the parkarma which was covered with decorative paintings. These paintings would likely have been portraits of the Gurus and scenes from Sikh history. Although now a police station, the paintings and the archway would have harkened back to an earlier time when the structure had served as a palace.


    Maharaja Ranjit Singh listening to the Granth being recited near the Golden Temple, Amritsar August Schoefft, ca. 1840’s - 1855, paint on paper, Princess Bamba Collection

    In Schoefft’s iconic and famous painting the lost palace dominates the background appearing on the left side of the painting. Schoefft’s image is invaluable because of the high vantage point and angle that it is painted from, revealing a significant number of details not visible in other ground-level views of the lost palace. The simple rounded curves of the main palace arches on top of multiple columns contrast with the ornate arch of the building to the left of the palace. In the second archway from the left can be seen an soldier wearing a red coat standing at attention. Given his scale this indicated that the main arches were between 15 to 20 feet high. A large open second floor veranda extending the length of the building with doorways and arches. A group of people on the veranda enjoy a spectacular view. Another smaller veranda on a third floor is also visible higher up.

    Tank & Marble Causeway the Sikh Temple Amritsar William Carpenter, ca. Feb 1854, paint on paper, Victoria & Albert Museum

    An unusual view painted from the south edge of the parkarma, the lost palace almost seems to be the main subject of the painting. The major structures appearing in this view from left to right are the Akal Takht, the Darshani Deori gateway, the lost palace and Darbar Sahib.

    Sacred Temple and Tank – Umritsir From a Sketch by William Carpenter, Engraved by J.C. Armytage, ca. 1854, engraving, SSB Collection

    Often found on posters and prints this is perhaps the most popular classic image of Darbar Sahib. Carpenter’s view prominently features an excellent view of the full frontage of the lost palace immediately to the left of Darbar Sahib. The palace front façade but a beautiful and unusual intersection of linear and semi-circular curves. The elevation of the palace above the ground level of the parkarma can be seen with a series of steps from the parkarma leading up to the palace extend along the entire length of the palace. Only the first minaret column on the left edge of the palace has its dome on top intact. The second minaret column which is also visible in Schoeffts painting now appears flat on top indicating that its dome top may have collapsed. A third similar column on the right also no longer has a dome on top. Amritsar is in a known earthquake zone, which may explain the missing domes. In the great Kangra earthquake of April 1905, the domes on both Ramgharia Bunga towers collapsed.

    The Kutwalee from the borders of the Tank Original Sketches in the Punjaub by a Lady, Dickinson Bros. London, ca. 1854, lithograph, SSB Collection

    The artist of this view is anonymous and only identified as ‘the wife of an Officer in the Queen’s Service now with his regiment in India.’ A very important image of the lost palace with the Dharshani Deori gateway on the left. With the end of the Sikh Empire and annexation of Punjab the lost palace (now called Kutwalee) was turned into a prison and Court House. An odd choice of use for such an important building within the presincts of the Darbar Sahib complex. The steps leading up to the palace have now been removed and a large wall constructed in its place. Given the palaces new use as a court house and prison, free access from the palace to the parkarma below was no longer necessary.

    Street - inside sacred tank area Felice Beato, ca. 1858-1860, Albumen print, Victorial & Albert Museum

    British photographer Felice Beato took the earliest known photographs of the Darbar Sahib complex in the late 1850’s. This photograph of the Darshani Deori gateway and the Lachi Ber tree in front of it where Guru Arjan used to sit also shows a section of the lost palace behind and to the right edge of the frame. We are fortunate to have this important photographic evidence as the majority of photographs of the Darbar Sahib complex date to the late 1860’s onwards, a time period when the lost palace had already been demolished by the British. Although only showing a partial view of the palace, Beto’s photograph provides critical photographic evidence that the earlier paintings by Schoefft, Carpenter and a Lady were all accurate in providing correct renditions of the palaces unusual architecture and multi-columned grand arches.

    Panorama of the City of Umritsur
    Felice Beato, ca. 1858-1860, Albumen print, Canadian Centre for Architecture

    British photographer Felice Beato took some of the earliest known photographs of the Darbar Sahib complex in the late 1850’s. The lost palace can be seen in the north-west corner of the sacred tank, behind the large tree. We are fortunate to have this important photographic evidence as the majority of photographs of the Darbar Sahib complex date to the late 1860’s onwards, a time period when the lost palace had already been demolished by the British.

    A large portion of the upper floors and three minaret towers defining the boundaries of the lost palace are clearly visible in this very rare photograph. This view provides invaluable details of the front and side of the palace not visible from the other side as depicted in August Schoeffts painting.

    Sacred Temple – North-east View Felice Beato, ca. 1858-1860, Albumen print, Toor Collection

    In another of the series of photographs at Darbar Sahib by photographer Felice Beato we see an aerial view of the Darbar Sahib complex taken from the Baba Atal tower. The size and scale of the majestic lost palace is breathtaking even in this distant view.

    The Golden Temple ca. mid 19th century, paint on paper, Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

    An unusual view of the entire Darbar Sahib complex combining two dimensional and three dimensional perspectives. The lost palace appears as the largest structure of its kind on the entire parkarma surrounding the sacred pool. Notice that the white marble pavement stops in front of the palace. This correctly dates the painting as work on paving the Parkarma was a decades long project first started under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1837, continued by his successors and then various Sikh administrators under British rule.

    Map of the Darbar Sahib and environs ca. 19th century, paint on paper, Harry Mann Collection

    An interesting and unusual plan view of the Darbar Sahib complex. The lost palace appears in the lower right hand side of the parkarma. Comparing this to the previous perspective view of the complex we can see that the entire parkarma has now been paved. This helps date this painting to the late 19th century. The artist likely copied an older painting showing existing structures including the lost palace, but updating the image by including the newly paved marble parkarma along the temple perimeter. Notice the courtyard to the right of the palace. In a 1836 French engraving which does not show the palace, this courtyard is shown extending the entire length of where the palace structure now appears in this view.

    Golden Temple at Amritsar Ivory Miniature ca. 1860, gouache on ivory, Private Collection

    A miniature painting only 60mm in diameter of Darbar Sahib also features the lost palace in the background. Among the last set of images of the palace prior to its demolition.

    Vue de Lahore L. Gregoire, Geographie generale physique, politique et economique, ca. 1876, woodcut engraving, SSB Collection

    In a scene similar to August Schoeffts earlier epic painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh we see the Darbar Sahib complex and lost palace from the same balcony portrayed years later as it would have appeared in the early 1860’s. Notice the incorrect scale that the artist has used in portraying the human figures on the parkarma foreground and background in relation to the palace.

    To be Continued…

    From Sikh Museum.

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    The Lost Palace of Amritsar…Origins & Ownership

    (Religion Des Sikhes Magasin Pittoresque ca. Dec. 1836 woodcut
    engraving, SSB Collection, One of the earliest European depictions
    of the Darbar Sahib complex. The image does not show the lost
    palace.)

    When was the lost palace built and who did it belong too? Peering through the fog of history we can see some clues as to the palaces origins. Although a number of historians and authors have attributed the lost palace to various figures in Sikh history, there does not seem to be any agreement among them or conclusive proof.

    The lost palace was the largest structure of its kind on the parkarma of the sacred tank of Amritsar. This indicated that the owner was someone of great influence and power during the time of the Sikh Empire.

    Evidence from the French engraving of the Darbar Sahib Complex printed in 1836 and likely based on a sketch recorded one to two years earlier in Punjab indicates that the palace did not yet exist in the early 1830’s. The palace would have had to have been constructed in the time frame between the late 1830’s and before the 1841 visit of artist August Schoefft who depicted it in his epic painting of Ranjit Singh at Darbar Sahib.

    An examination of some prominent figures and attributed individuals reveal some interesting possibilities and helps narrow the scope of possible ownership of the lost palace during the era of the Sikh Empire.

    Maharaja Ranjit Singh

    Being the largest palace on the parkarma surrounding the sacred pool, it would be logical to assume that it must have belonged to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.  The Maharaja was known to move about from place to place in his vast empire and had numerous residences.

    Runjeet Sing has no regular residence where he constantly lives, but instead is continually on the move, either in the wars in which he is constantly engaged, or moving from one part of his territory to another.
    Five Years in India, Volume 1
    Henry Edward Fane, London, 1842

    Sohan Lal Suri the court historian records that Maharaja Ranjit Singh built his own bunga towards the north-west of Darbar Sahib, close to the sacred tank, to be used for stay if necessary, on the occasion of his visits.

    In August Schoeffts famous painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he is depicted as sitting on the balcony of a palace overlooking the sacred pool. In this painting the lost palace appears in the distance on the left side in the painting. The balcony that Schoefft painted his scene from is verified as having been Ranjit Singhs palace by Dr. Martin Honigberger who accompanied Schoefft on his visit to Darbar Sahib.

    On the following morning, we went to the house of the Baii Goormuck Sing, who had promised, on the previous evening, to send a servant to point out to us the most elevated terrace in the square ( which was in the mansion of Runjeet Sing ), from which Herr Schofft could get a view of the temple and the surrounding buildings ; on this place he prepared his atelier. He occupied the whole of the day in sketching the scene, and on the following day he also went there, but alone, to continue his work.
    Thirty-five Years in the East
    L.M. Honigberger, London, 1852

    Given that Schoefft painted his scene from a terrace in Ranjit Singhs mansion and that the painting he produced shows the lost palace and that the location of Ranjit Singhs palace is further corroborated by Sohin Lal Suri’s account it is evident  that the lost palace and Maharaja Ranjit Singhs palace were two different structures.

    Sada Kaur

    The lost palace has also been attributed as the Atari (mansion) of Sada Kaur. In her time Sada Kaur (1762-1832) was the most powerful woman in the Sikh Empire. She was the mother-in-law of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and head of the Kanhaiya clan. She is widely regarded as the powerful king-maker who helped the young Ranjit Singh militarily to conquer Lahore and a number of Sikh chieftain’s territories.

    Given Sada Kaur’s wealth as head of a powerful family and her influence she does seem to be a candidate for having constructed the lost palace, but looking at the timeline of her influence it seems less likely. Sada Kaur’s friendship and close ties with Maharaja Ranjit Singh started to wane in 1807 as their relations started souring. Sada Kaur refused to retire and hand over her territories to her grandson Raja Sher Singh when he turned 12 years old (1819) and would eventually be placed under house arrest in Lahore by the Maharaja. Here she would spend the remainder of her life until her death in 1832.

    Given that Sada Kaur was imprisoned and did not have access to Amritsar in her final years and that the French engraving of the Darbar Sahib complex does not show the lost palace as being there in the early 1830’s, Sada Kaur could not have constructed the palace during this time period.

    Raja Nau Nihal Singh

    Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s only had one grandson, the much loved Raja Nau Nihal Singh, son of the Maharaja’s only legitimate son Raja Kharak Singh. Nau Nihal Singh (1821-1840) has also been attributed as the owner of the lost palace. Being the only grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Raja Nau Nihal Singh received a lot of attention and privileges from his grandfather. Barely 13, Raja Nau Nihal Singh was placed at the head of the Sikh military forces in the Peshawer campaign of 1834. Nau Nihal Singh participated in numerous military campaigns on behalf of the Sikh Empire and administered territories in the Attock and Peshawar regions during Maharaja Ranjit Singhs rule.

    The wedding of Nau Nihal Singh to the daughter of the powerful Sikh chieftan Sham Singh Attariwala in early March 1837 was a very grand occasion with extensive festivities at Amritsar, Lahore and the brides village of Attari.

    We hear at this place that the marriage fete at Umritsir is to last thirteen days, and that the Rajah has made up his mind to spend thirty lacs of rupees (300,000l.) on the occasion.
    Five Years in India, Volume 1
    Henry Edward Fane, London, 1842

    It is noteworthy that the wedding took place at Amritsar, lasting many days and was likely attended by a large number of rulers of other states.

    With the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 also came a rise to power for Nau Nihal Singh. Deposing and imprisoning his father Maharaja Kharak Singh in a coup on October 9, 1839, Raja Nau Nihal now achieved command and rule over the Sikh Empire for a period of time until his death one year later on November 9, 1840.

    Given the special attention paid to Nau Nihal Singh by his grandfather and the fact that Nau Nihal Singh’s wedding took place at Amritsar and not the capital of the Empire, Lahore, the lost palace well may have belonged to Nau Nihal Singh.

    Could Nau Nihal Singh have built the lost palace for himself or could  Maharaja Ranjit Singh have built it for his only grandson, possibly even as a wedding gift? Would a part of Nau Nihal Singh’s wedding have taken place at the largest and grandest palace on the  sacred pool  of Darbar Sahib in Amritsar? Could Nau Nihal Singh when he eventually ruled the Sikh Empire have built a grand palace at Amritsar? All of these questions raise interesting possibilities and unlike others, nothing that we know of Nau Nihal Singh’s life eliminates the possibility that the palace may have been his residence at Darbar Sahib.

    Raja Kharak Singh

    As Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s only son and heir apparent Raja Kharak Singh (1801-1840) lead a life of privilege, wealth and power as the heir apparent. During the rule of his father Maharaja Ranjit Singh, his son Kharak Singh was put in charge of a number of military campaigns on the behalf of his father. Although he was considered feeble of mind, being the only son it was widely recognized in the Sikh Empire that he would one day succeed his father as ruler. On his death bed Maharaja Ranjit Singh proclaimed Raja Kharak Singh as his official successor. The new Maharaja, ruled the Sikh Empire only for a few months from June to October 1839 before being overthrown by his son Nau Nihal Singh in a coup and imprisoned at Lahore till his death one year later on November 5, 1840.

    Although no reference has been found attributing the lost palace to Maharaja Kharak Singh, the possibility cannot be ruled out either. As Maharaja Ranjit Singhs only son and heir apparent, he had a special status in the Sikh Empire and the largest palace at Darbar Sahib could have been constructed by Kharak Singh or for him in the last years of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule by a father for his son a symbol of his sons status as the future Maharaja.

    Raja Sher Singh

    During the tumultuous times following the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, his step-son Raja Sher Singh was eventually able to gain the Royal throne by attacking Lahore and overthrowing Maharani Chand Kaur the widow of Ranjit Singh’s son Maharaja Kharak Singh. Maharaja Sher Singh ruled from January 20, 1841 till his death on September 15, 1842.

    During Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule Raja Sher Singh was the only step-son that he acknowledged and who was allowed in his presence at the Royal Court.

    Rajah Sher Sing was seated on his right hand, and Rajah Heera Sing, his minister’s son, upon his left, the only two individuals who are allowed a seat in his presence on public occasions, with the exception of his son and heir, Kurruck Sing, though in private that privilege is sometimes accorded to the three Gooroos, or priests, who act as his spiritual advisers.
    The Court and Camp of Runjeet Sing
    W.G. Osborne, London, 1840

    During Maharaja Ranjit Singhs rule, Sher Singh was also given a number of military campaigns and territories that he controlled. Although he could certainly have built a palace for himself at Darbar Sahib, in all probability Maharaja Ranjit Singh would not have allowed a step-son to have a larger palace at Darbar Sahib than his own son Raja Kharak Singh or his grandson Raja Nau Nihal.

    Could Maharaja Sher Singh have built the lost palace during the timeframe of his reign from January 20, 1841 to September 15, 1842? August Schoefft the artist arrived at Maharaja Sher Singh court on November 14, 1841 and likely did the sketches for his famous painting at Darbar Sahib shortly thereafter prior to his departure in 1842. Could the lost palace have been built by Maharaja Sher Singh in the months between his ascension to the throne in January 1841 and Schoeffts arrival in November? This possibility cannot be eliminated but given the scale of construction required to build such a large structure on the parkarma and the potential length of time that such a construction project would have taken it does not seem likely that Sher Singh built the lost palace.

    Sikh Sardars

    Could one of the influential families at the Sikh Royal Court have built the lost palace for themselves? The lost palace has been attributed by some authors as having been the bunga of ‘Singh Sahib’ or Ladowalia clan.

    Only the most powerful and influential families in Punjab had a palace or bunga on the parkarma of the sacred pool at Darbar Sahib. Could one of these influential and powerful families have built the lost palace for themselves? Perhaps, although the chances of Maharaja Ranjit Singh allowing the construction of the largest palace on the parkarma by another family in the years of his rule seem a remote possibility. The Maharaja maintained a very tight rule over his empire, including the confiscation of the property of the various ruling families in the empire as he expanded his rule over Punjab. If the lost palace had been constructed by another powerful family in the earlier years of Ranjit Singh’s rule and then confiscated by him as he consolidated his power than it would appear in the 1836 French engraving of the Darbar Sahib complex. Since the lost palace does not appear in the engraving, it would have to have been built in the mid to late 1830’s during the final years of Maharaja Ranjit Singhs rule. This was a time of absolute rule by Ranjit Singh at a time when he had already consolidated his power in Punjab and especially Amritsar.

    The chances of another Sikh family being allowed to construct the largest palace on the parkarma seem remote. Ranjit Singhs successors to the Royal throne would likely have followed the same policy at a tumultuous time when the show of their status and authority would have been paramount to maintaining their throne.

    To be Continued…

    From Sikh Museum.

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    Visit village Gharuan (Distt: Mohali, Punjab) and learn about the history of this village and its people.

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    Pathe…

    Pathe…

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    Bhoond, Maruta Te Jugaad: Rural Transport Phenomenon

    People of this border town have invented a vehicle “Bhoond” which could carry up to nine persons, besides the driver.

    A motorcycle without the rear wheel has been fitted to a specially designed body with two wheels. The body of the vehicle is built by local mechanics and costs about Rs 70,000.

    It is pertinent to mention here that before this the Punjab and Haryana High Court had imposed a ban on the plying of a “Gharukka”, a locally made vehicle run with the help of a diesel generator about three decades ago. But the vehicles could still be seen in the remote areas of the state carrying more than 20 persons at a time.

    The newly invented vehicle appeared in the area three to four months back and is getting popular day by day.

    Owner of one such vehicle Sharanjit Singh of Mohanpur village, near Chohla Sahib, said that he had attached the front portion of a motorcycle with the rear part with a specially designed chain. He said “Bhoond” was proving to be cost effective as the people in the mand area could travel through his vehicle by spending less. He said that whenever a family had to visit the main towns in the border belt they hire his vehicle.

    Sharanjit said the people in this region were forced to invest new types of vehicles for their convenience as there was hardly any bus service available for them. He said “Bhoond” could cover a distance of about 50 km with one litre of petrol.

    Whats more the “Bhoond” is looking to replace the Maruta, which is a diesel genset mounted on a bullock cart chassis.

    That’s not all, in parts of rural Punjab and even on the main highways, one can find a localized version of a rural taxi made called the ”JUGGAD”. This is an open 4 wheeler used by mixing and matching parts of different vehicles like, make the chassis home, use a generator or a pump for an engine, drive shaft of another etc. costs around 1 Lakh and does 40-50 kph.

    On the one hand there is our organized educated world of auto folks — people that swear by computer-based design, static and transient dynamic finite-element analysis and computer-based vibration-acoustics simulation

    On the other hand, there is this amazing contrast of sorts — that our nation’s unlettered artisans can rivet and weld together from odds and ends, vehicles to mobilize the nation of one billion, vehicles that bear loads and are capable of driver controlled movement, acceleration, deceleration and braking to a halt without loss of life or limb. What a pendulum swing.

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    Please Save Me Cries…Qila Mubarak

    Patiala’s Qila Mubarak is losing its sheen with each passing day. It has become discoloured and many portions of the structure have collapsed due to lack of maintenance, Qila Mubarak, the erstwhile residence of the famed Patiala dynasty, is struggling for existence.

    Standing tall and having witnessed the changes in the royal city for almost two-and-a-half centuries, Qila Mubarak, the erstwhile residence of the famed Patiala dynasty, is struggling for its own existence now. Despite being considered as the identity of the city for years together, the Qila is losing its sheen with each passing day due to negligence on the part of Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums.

    Qila Mubarak, the erstwhile residence of the famed Patiala dynasty, is struggling for existence
    Qila Mubarak, the erstwhile residence of the famed Patiala dynasty, is struggling for existence Photos: Rajesh Sachar

    The building that was once known for its grandeur and rare art is now on the verge of destruction. Not only has it become discoloured, many portions of the structure have collapsed due to adverse weather and lack of maintenance.

    Ran Baas, the portion of the fort which was used as a guest house during the early years, started collapsing a few years ago. It started deteriorating when just a small pillar of the building fell, but due to the neglect of the authorities, a major portion of it has collapsed now. Even the Burg wall is facing the brunt of neglect due to rains. The walls are covered with mud and green fungus. Moreover, the roofs of the fort have become so weak that they have developed holes, and the water keeps dripping into various areas of the fort through these holes.

    Bagh Ghar or the garden house, which was once lit by scented candles and in which soothing music was played to entertain royals, is beyond recognition now. The condition of this entertainment area is so miserable that the entire portion has collapsed. The roof of the room where Baba Ala Singh’s jot is lit has also been damaged.

    Interestingly, the successor of the royal family, Captain Amarinder Singh, was the Chief Minister of the state from 2002 to 2007, but nothing much has been done for the upkeep of this fort even in his reign. Moreover, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums and the Archaeological Survey of India, which have been given the task of preserving this building, have also not done much about it.

    Qila Mubarak is a fort-cum-palace, surrounded by walls that have been constructed, using defensive architecture. The fortification, however, does not diminish the beauty of palace.

    The palace was built by Maharaja Ala Singh in 1763, and during its inception, it was merely a mud fort or kachi garhi, which was later renovated into a rambling two-storey mansion with an imposing entrance with intricate arches. A large portion of the fort has now been converted into a heritage museum.

    The present fort is divided into two parts — Qila Androon or the inner fort, and the other between Qila Androon and outer walls with the secretariat on the left and Darbar Hall on the right. Qila Androon was the residential part of the palace that was inhabited by the royal members of the Patiala dynasty. The palace has been constructed using intricate architectural patterns used by Mughals and Rajasthanis.

    The outer portion was built by Maharaja Karam Singh. Darbar Hall has now been converted into a museum where rare arms, including the sword and dagger of Guru Gobind Singh and Nadir Shah’s sword, are on display.

    Director-cum-secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums, Punjab, Hussan Lal, says Rs 1 crore were sanctioned to the Archaeological Survey of India and the department for the maintenance of this fort in February 2009. “The work is a little slow because several approvals have to be taken. We have demanded Rs 83 lakh from the Finance Department for repair work in the fort, out of which Rs 19 lakh have been sought immediately to renovate the area where Baba Ala Singh’s Jot is lit,” adds Hussan Lal.

    Tribune India, Saturday, October 15, 2011, Chandigarh

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    Guru Ki Fauj

    Guru Ki Fauj

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    Chowki Maan bus Adda (Stop) on Moga-Ludhiana highway.

    Chowki Maan bus Adda (Stop) on Moga-Ludhiana highway.

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