Qila Mubarak

Qila Mubarak, an imposing structure in the heart of the city of Patiala reachable by train on the Rajpura-Dhuri line or via the N-H 64. The fort was built by Maharajah Ala Singh in 1763, around which the present city of Patiala is built. Of the innumerable forts and palaces within the Punjab, the opulent and majestic Qila Mubarak deserves a special place. Part fort part palace the Qila is a majestic enchanting place.

Initially, the fort was a built out of mud, a Kachi Garhi. After his conquest of Sirhind, Ala Singh developed it, from the proceeds of tributes from merchants passing through his territory on the G.T. road. It eventually transformed into its present form a sprawling double-storeyed structure with a considerable gate and beautiful arches, the Pacca Qila.

Ala Singh assumed leadership in 1714 AD, carving out an independent principality from a petty Zamindari of 30 villages. Under his successors, it expanded into a big State, touching the Shivaliks in north, Rajasthan in the south and upper courses of the Jamuna and the Sutlej. While confronting the most trying and challenging circumstances in the middle eighteenth century, Baba Ala Singh, unlike many of his contemporaries, displayed tremendous courage and shrewdness in dealing with the Mughals, Afghans and Marathas, to successfully establish and maintain the state in trying circumstances.

The present Qila is divided into two parts. The interior, the Qila Androon, built by Ala Singh, is adorned with geometrical and floral designs and a lime plaster gate. It contains 13 royal chambers, decorated with scenes from Hindu mythology and portraits of Sikh gurus in the Patiala art style. The Qila Androon was inhabited by members of the royal family of Patiala.

The outer fort, the Qila Mubarak, was built by Maharajah Karam Singh, is spread over 10 acres, and contains a guest house (Ran Baas) and Darbar Hall. The Darbar Hall is now converted into a mini museum where rare arms and armours including daggers of Guru Gobind Singh and a sword of Nadir Shah known as ‘Shikar Gah’ are on display. Furthermore, precious pieces of art are on display, including a rich collection of tree-like chandeliers.

Several other auxiliary buildings like the Putli Ghar (Puppet) and Bagh Ghar (Garden House) with vibrantly coloured rooms also deserve special mention and are popular with tourists.

Currently, the Qila is in poor condition although restoration work is in process and the building has been listed.

 

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