Dying heritage in north India: Places to visit before it’s too late
We Indians take pride in our rich culture and heritage. Yet, there are a number of historical places lying in shambles.Here are 10 such 'heritages' from the region which have been utterly neglected and it would be wise to visit them before they completely collapsechandigarh Updated: Apr 18, 2015 20:27 IST
1)Rakhigarhi: Rakhigarhi is one of the biggest known township of Harappan civilization. The site which was first excavated in 1963 by Archeological Survey of India comprises of five interconnected mounds. The excavations of the site threw up burnt-brick houses with an impeccable drainage system.
Photo credits: AFP/Photo
Recently, 5000-year-old human skeletons were discovered during a project undertaken by Deccan University, Pune, in collaboration with the Haryana state archaeological department and the Seoul University of South Korea.
2)Qila Sarai Khas, Sultanpur Lodhi: Situated in Sultanpur Lodhi, which is 35kms from Amritsar, is Qila Sarai Khas which was built by Sultan Khan Lodhi in the 12th century and rebuilt by emperor Shah Jahan in the 16th century, and Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb studied Islam here. Now the building is used as a police station.
Photo credits: HT/Photo
Meanwhile, the old historical town of Sultanpur Lodhi has never received the attention it deserves. Guru Nanak is said to have lived this town for several years. He is also said to have attained enlightenment after a dip in the rivulet Kali Bein which flows past the town.
Also Read: World Heritage Day: 8 places to visit in Punjab
3)Kurukshetra: All those of us who have read the Indian epic Mahabharata have wished to go to Kurukshetra at least once. A number of villages and historical landmarks can be found around the town of Kurukshetra - Brahma Sarovar, Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple, remnants of a fort which is believed to be Abhimanyu's. Many of these landmarks are in ruins. So visit this place before it’s too late.
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4) Gol Kothi, Kapurthala: Gol Kothi was declared a heritage building seven years ago, but is currently in a deplorable state and can collapse any minute. Situated in Kapurthala, it was built by Raja Fateh Singh in 1833. The last witness in the heritage city which gives a glimpse of our rulers and Gurus is losing its sheen everyday due to official apathy.
Some portion of the building in which Maharaja Jagatjit Singh spent his formative years in the 1880's, has broken due to lack of repair work and the remaining portion is also peeling off. Many proposals have been made by the Punjab tourism and heritage department to revive the Gol Kothi and other heritage buildings but to no avail.
5)Mubarak Mandi, Jammu:
This was the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in ancient times. The oldest building of the complex dates back to 1824. Each ruler who resided here added something to the personality of the Mandi and has streaks of Rajasthani, Mughal and European architecture. Sections of the palace now house government offices, courts and the Dogra Art Museum. But, the other parts lie in shambles. The palace has been scorched 36 times and was also affected during an earthquake in 2005.
Photo credits: Nitin Kanotra.HT
6) Pul Kanjari, Amritsar: While the government has spent crores on the conservation of Pul Kanjari, the place still needs a lot. Dating back to the 19th Century, ‘Pul Kanjari’ (the courtesan’s bridge) also known as Pul Moran was erected by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the legendary sovereign of Punjab, and is situated on the Indo-Pak border.
Photo Credits: Sameer Sehgal/HT
It was constructed near the ‘baradari’ situated between Amritsar and Lahore. Maharaja Ranjit Singh often used to halt here during his journeys to Lahore and back. It also served as a rendezvous for Maharaja and Moran, who could not meet in Amritsar and Lahore as due to the opposition to their friendship. As per legend, Moran lost her slipper in the hansali canal while coming to meet the Maharaja one day. She complained about it to the Maharaja, who got a bridge constructed there.
7) Sugh: Declared protected by the state archeological department, Sugh near Jagadhari in Yamunanagar, stands unguarded. Located at Amadalpur village, this ancient site finds mention in the writings of Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, who had visited India early in the 7th century. Excavations were held in 1989-89 and a few trail excavation exercises yielded a four-fold cultural sequence of habitation from 8th century BC to 11th century AD.
It was known as Shrughna in the ancient times and is mentioned in Mahabharata also. Excavations had also unearthed terracotta art of 1st century BC to 3rd century AD.
Sugh is now facing threat from illegal encroachment by villagers and natural reasons of decaying.
Also Read: World heritage day: Haryana's rich history shines bright in it's monuments
8)Qila Mubarak, Patiala: Quila Mubarak was first built as a kachigarhi (mud fortress) by Baba Ala Singh in 1763, who was the founder of the Patiala dynasty. Later, it was reconstructed in baked bricks.
Photo credits: Bharat Bhushan/HT
The place hosts a plethora of mirrors of all types and sizes. It also has paintings of Sikh rulers in Darbar Hall.
It has been stuck in a blame game between the State Archaeology and Conservation Department, who say that government has allotted sufficient funds to restore the Qila to its former glory, while most of the restoration equipment lies unused.
9)Kangra Fort, Kangra: Right from the invasion of Mahmud of Ghajni in AD 1009, to the offensive by Mughal emperor, Janhagir in 1622 to the post- independence politics, Kangra has borne witnessed to a number of historic battles. IT is situated 20kms from Dharmshala.Having the oldest serving Royal Dynasty in the world- Katoch Clan-, with Tika Ambikheswar, grandson of Jodhpur MP Chandresh Kumari, as the 490the scion in the lineage decent, Kangra- which was mentioned as Trigarta Kingdom in Mahabharata epic has the distinction of tilting political scales ever since it was merged in Himachal Pradesh in 1966. The fort is in ruins.
Picture source: Wikipedia
10)Martand Sun Temple, Kashmir: Martand Sun Temple was a Kashmiri Hindu temple dedicated to the Sun god and was built during the 8th century. It is located eight kilometres from Anantnag.
Picture source: Wikipedia
The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley. The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments, yet it currently lies in ruins.
(Contributed by Abhimanyu Kulkarni, Param Narula, Shaheen Prasad, Vishal Joshi)