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‘Mughal-era serai near Ludhiana to be ‘world-class’ wedding destination’

The serai got some recent fame after the 2006 movie Rang De Basanti or RDB was shot here.

punjab Updated: Jun 16, 2018 12:07 IST
Harsimran Singh Batra
Harsimran Singh Batra
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Mughal-era serai,Punjab Tourism,Tourism in Punjab
Tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu with officials at Serai Lashkari Khan in Ludhiana district on Friday. It was built in 1867 by a Mughal general in Aurangzeb’s reign.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Built 351 years ago in the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and now in a dilapidated condition, Serai Lashkari Khan, 30km from here, was the subject of grand announcements by Punjab tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday.

By spending Rs 20 crore on revamp of the serai spread over eight acres, a restaurant, landscaping and “seven-star tented accommodation” will be set up, he claimed, adding that it will be “brightened with beautiful lights”. The project will be completed in a year and a half, according to Sidhu.

The serai got some recent fame after the 2006 movie Rang De Basanti or RDB was shot here, giving it the pop moniker ‘RDB Fort’. During his visit, the minister expressed shock at its state and called it “a living example of Punjab’s rich heritage that remained neglected during the regime of previous SAD-BJP government”.

“Punjabis go to Rajasthan for destination weddings,” Sidhu said, “but here they will be able to enjoy big fat weddings. The serai will also be provided for shooting films. Kings used to stay here, and now it is in such a dilapidated condition!”

He said his department has identified 32 places in the state, including such serais, on which Rs 590 crore will be spent to develop tourism. He sai government land is being identified to establish hotels too: “Funds have been arranged and now we have initiated fieldwork.”The state government has hired two consultancy firms whose officials are visiting these places, he added.

And he did not stop there. The approach road to the serai needs to be widened, he said, for which land will be acquired so that visitors can have easy access from GT Road (Ludhiana-Delhi National Highway). He asked the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to send a detailed report on this.He declared that if the “ample opportunities” in the tourism sector in the state are developed, “it will ultimately help in making Punjab the wealthiest”.

Tourism secretary Vikas Partap Singh and director Shivdular Singh Dhillon, besides Khanna SDM Sandeep Singh Garha, were with Sidhu.

The serai, built by Mughal general Lashkari Khan after whom it is named, was meant to be halting places along the old Mughal highway connecting Agra, Delhi and Lahore, but gradually fell into disuse as routes shifted.

First Published: Jun 16, 2018 10:49 IST