The palaces found in Punjab are sheer symbols of luxury and grandeur. They are made from the most exquisite materials and are architecturally brilliant. These palaces are great examples of the city’s deep rooted sense of history and culture during the olden days.
Though there are many palaces in Punjab, one palace that takes the tourists’ breath away is Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Summer Palace. Erstwhile nobles from the Lahore Darbar, Fakir Azeez-ud-din, Lehna Singh, Desa Singh Majithia managed all the affairs of the construction of this palace. During those days, the remarkable palace and all the huge estates surrounding it were believed to have been constructed at a whopping Rs.125000 Nanak Shai.
Loyalists of Punjab remain awestruck till this date about the Qila Mubarak style of palace that was the residential palace of the Patiala royal clan. The Qila Mubarak Patiala has some excellent interiors that are simply incomparable. The colours used in this palace scream elegance and luxury everywhere. It was the first palace to have an inbuilt sewage system that was set up underground. It was also the first place to have a room that exclusively made the hot air from outside cool and made the entire palace cosy and cold.
The Sheesh Mahal, built by Maharaja Narinder Singh is another architectural splendour as it is constructed in a scenic location of dense forest, complete with fountains, forests and a man-made lake. The interiors of this palace are done with intricately carved mirrors and glasswork. The walls of the museum of this palace has some of the best paintings in the world and the Medal Gallery boasts a collection of over 3000 antique medals and coins.
The Kapurthala Maharaja’s sprawling palace is now functioning as a Sainik school.
Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Amritsar
Constructed at a sprawling landscape, this palace is known for its exquisite location, intricate carvings and remarkable interiors. Under the supervision of the former Lahore nobles this palace was built as one of the costliest projects of those days. The construction of the palace and its surrounding estates alone was a staggering Rs.125000 Nanak Shai. This palace stands tall in a garden that houses some of the rarest of rare species of plants and trees. A boundary wall that is at a huge 14 feet of height forms the perfect guard for this palace. Set up at a sprawling 84 acres of land, this palace has a beautiful moat around it. When the British took over the place, they converted the small buildings in and around this palace into clubs, lawns, libraries, tennis courts etc. thereby adding more colour and elegance to the palace.
The entrance of this palace is called DarshaniDeori and it has a very strange design. The towers of this palace that are four in number are two storied each. The palace is linked with the external water works through one tank and with the air-conditioning facilities and bathing pipes through the other water tank.
Qila Mubarak Patiala
This palace used to the residence of the Patiala Royal Clan during one point in time. The residential portions were called Qila Androon, also translated as Inner Fort. Some of the apartments inside this palace were called Jail Walla palace (that housed royal prisoners), Moti Palace also known as pearl palace, Sheesh palace (mirror work palace), Rajmata Palace (Queen Mother’s Palace), Colours Palace and Moon Palace. The Garden House also known as Putli Ghar or Bagh Ghar was the main places of entertainment and relaxation for the royal members. These apartments had chambers that had exquisite paintings on them.
This palace were known for its three main systems; the underground sewage system that was unheard of in those days, the air conditioning systems that made the internal ambience cool and the royal kitchen also known as Lassi Khana which was used to provide food for around 35000 people a day , irrespective of their class, sect or social status.
The Sheesh Mahal, Patiala
This was built between the years 1845 and 1847 by Maharaja Narinder Singh. The palace was known as Sheesh Mahal because of the extensive use of mirror and glasswork in the interior designs. The palace was set up in a very scenic location of dense forests accompanied by greenery all around. There was also a man-made lake near the palace. A bridge that is suspended over the residential apartments of Sheesh Mahal resembles the Lakshman Jhoola in Rishikesh. There is a museum inside this palace and it contains paintings that are exquisite and done by some of the great artists during that time. The walls of the museum contain paintings depicting the culture of Patiala and other cities. The Medal Gallery in the museum houses some of the most antique coins and medals around 3000 in number. This collection is the world’s largest collection of medals, coins at decorations of different countries at one single place.
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