Ruins of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s mansion to host religious event on his death anniversary
In an effort to regain the lost splendour of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s historical buildings at his summer capital Dinanagar in Gurdaspur and promote tourism, the district administration, for the first time, will organise a religious event in the ruins of the Sikh ruler’s mansion on June 29 to mark his death anniversary.
Sub-divisional magistrate, Dinanagar, Vikramjit Singh said the event is being organised as part of the efforts being made by the administration to develop the district as a tourism hub by promoting the heritage and historic places here.
A team of the district administration on Friday visited Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s mansion, also called as Barandari, where the head of the Sikh empire usually held durbar during the summer and which was his favorite summer resort, to initiate the arrangements for the function to be organised by the administration with help from the District Heritage Society.
During the religious function, path of Sukhmani Sahib will be held in a pandal. It will be followed by gurbani kirtan and addresses by historians and community leaders.
The officials of various departments have been assigned duties to organise the event. The municipal council has been asked to clean the area of Barandari for the event, said the SDM.
The historic building, which is surrounded by a garden, has been in shambles for decades now. Earlier known as Adinanagar (named after Adina Beg, who served as the subedar of Punjab for the Mughals before the Sikh rule), the town remained the centre of the Sikh emperor’s administrative and political activities during summers. He spent the two months of May and June every year at Dinanagar.
It was here in May 1838 that he received the Macnaghten mission which negotiated the proposed alliance for placing Shah Shujah Durani on the throne of Kabul. After the annexation of Punjab as British territory in March 1849, a new district of Adinanagar was constituted with Dinanagar as its headquarters, before the formation of the new Gurdaspur district.
Batala District Public Relation officer Inderjit Singh Harpura, who is playing a crucial role in promoting the heritage sites and their historic importance through various activities, said, “splendour of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s mansion was so great that the British officials were surprised to see it when they met first the Maharaja here. One of the British officers, W.G Osborne, penned down the majesty of his durbar in his book. The items with which it was decorated were very costly and rare.”
“However, its current situation is totally contrary. First, the British officers took its costly items away during their rule and then the governments after decolonisation kept it in a state of dire neglect. Today, its ceilings have totally collapsed, walls are about to collapse and it has become a hideout of drug addicts and anti-social elements. Under the efforts of restoring this rare relic of the Sikh kingdom, the event is being organised. Besides, there are many historic structures related to Ranjit Singh, which are crying for attention,” he added.
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