The Durbar Hall, the Moorish Mosque and the Jassa Singh Govt. College of Kapurthala, Punjab, India - a fascinating tourist destination

The Maharajahs and Nawabs of  the Princely states of India during their hey day when India was under the British rule built in their kingdoms beautiful palaces and other administrative buildings  that were suitable to their official  needs, etc and  commensurate with their royal status. The  historical buildings  were  used for public services such as district courts, education, health services,etc. Such structures were built with meticulous care and style and, now, they  stand apart for their beauty and  striking architecture. The city  of  Kapurthala, Punjab has many amazing buildings that attract lots of tourists. 

Kapurthala, the administrative headquarters of Kapurthala District, was once  the capital of the Kapurthala Princely State ruled by Ahluwalia Dynasty during the colonial British rule. An important tourist center, it is known for  a blend of  French and Indo-Saracenic architectures consisting of  fascinating palaces and gardens. There are many monuments that  take us right back to the royal reign and the impact of colonial rule in this city. This city  was one of the first in Punjab to have  modern amenities like  communication systems, sewage facilities, potable drinking water, etc long ago. and they still keep going. Guru Nanak sahib, the head Guru of Sikhs, had  spent 14 years of his life in this town, meditating  under the 'Ber' tree (which is still very much here) and traveled to spread the message of peace, love and  oneness..

Sardar Jassa Singh. Kapurthala, India.

Sardar Jassa Singh. Kpurthala, Pinrest com.

Above image: Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (1718-1783), born in Ahlu or Ahluwal near Lahore, established by his ancestor, Sadda Singh, was a true follower of  Sixth Guru, Sri Hargobind. Hence the name Ahluwalia stuck to him. His forefathers were kalals-(wine merchants, hence he is also called Jassa singh Kalal. The Aluwalia rulers and their descendants took care of  the small state with dedication and it earned them as  good administrators; besides they were men of charitable disposition and  known for their interest in  the welfare of the society, public services and  munificence. ..............

 Maharajah Jagatjit singh,

Location map, Kapurthala.

NJSA Govt. College, Kapurthala,, India. collegedunia com

The Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College, which was the first college in this region and  affiliated to Calcutta university, is housed in a well built ornate building called Silver Jubilee Hall.. Located in a serene  ambiance, it was established in 1856 by Maharajah Randir Singh  as Sanskrit Vidyalya -  named Randir school, In the formative stages, the students  were taught under the shadow of Peepal tree in the traditional guru-shishya parampara. The Peepal tree, close to the college building, is more than 200 years old. Knowing many languages is beneficial, Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu and English languages were offered for the benefit of the students. In 1916 when Jagajit  Singh was the ruler, the French language was offered to the students.   In 1882, when Punjab  university came up at Lahore (now in Pakistan), it was affiliated to it. Presently, affiliated to the Guru Nanak  Dev University, Amritsar, the college takes the name of  Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (1718 – 1783), the founder of Kapurthala State. The Silver Jubilee Hall that was built in 1916 to mark the silver jubilee of the founder of the state, celebrated its 150th year in October, 2006

The Moorish Mosque:

Interior, Moorish mosque, Kapurthala, India.justdial com

Moorish mosque, Kapurthala, Punjab, India.

Moorish Mosque, Kapurthala, Punjab, India .flickr.comn
The secularism was the guiding principle of the Aluvaniya rulers and the history of Kapurthala is well represented in the fascinating Moorish Mosque, a replica of the Grand Mosque of Marakesh, Morocco, North Africa. Built by a French architect, Monsieur M Manteaux, it was commissioned by Maharajah Jagatjit Singh.who took 13 long years to complete the mosque. Its  consecration was done in the presence of the late Nawab of Bhawalpur (now in Pakistan). What is special about this mosque? The impressive interior decoration in the dome was done by the artists of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore. This Moorish-styled mosque is a national monument under the management of the ASI - the Archeological Survey of India. It was one of the monumental creations in the State during the premiership of the late Diwan Sir Abdul Hamid Kt., CIE,OBE.who played a key role  in its construction  with consent from the Maharajah. Its  wooden model - a replica of this structure is on display at the entrance of the Lahore Museum (Punjab, Pakistan). The restoration of Moorish Mosque was being carried out under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2017. 

This unique Moorish Mosque, Shalimar garden, Panj Mandir, the stately Durbar Hall, the beautiful Kamera garden complex with the majestic rest house etc atrract the tourists to this city. These and other sites form the vestiges of the glorious days of the reign of the Aluwalia dynasty.
Jagatjit Palace: 
The jagatjit palace, Kaputhala, Punjab, India

The  Jagatjit Palace, built on a plot  of  200 acres of prime land  was  designed by a French architect M. Marcel and the construction  done by a local builder Allah Ditta. It is a stylish building  designed  on the model of  the French palace of Versailles and among the many attractive  buildings  in the city, it is like diamond-crusted Crown. It took 8 years to complete the building in 1908 and the erstwhile Maharajah Jagatjit Singh. built it as a token of his love for  his  new wife Anita Delgado.

The Darbar Hall:
The most attractive structure in this city is the Darbar Hall (Court), one of the finest in India. Following  renaissance style  of architecture with the sunken park in the front (Known as Baija), the beautiful figures made of plaster of Paris and the neatly painted ceilings characterize the  Durbar Hall (Diwan-E-Khas).  It is made of red bricks, impressive  domes and stone lattice work, the  The unique feature is the design of  door and window frames that display Islamic style. The lattice works enhance the beauty of this hall and create a soothing ambiance. There is also a statue of the ruler near the main wooden entrance.
Durbar Hall, Kapurthala, Punjab, India.

The Hall was built  according to the  Sikh tradition and the large interior halls were used for various public  functions. The ruler used it as his durbar (court) to listen to the people and their needs, etc. 
At present the erstwhile Durbar Hall of Maharajah Jagatjit Singh  houses  a Sainik School (military school) which comes under the  Department of Defense, Central government.  Also functioned here were District  and Sessions Courts  along with deputy Commissioner's office in part of the State Durbar Hall. This  Durbal hall was restored back to old glory in 2016-17. The Rs 5-crore project  was  funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the  job of restoration, conservation, etc was  done by a private company - Rajputana Construction Private Limited, Jaipur; the work was to be completed  by January 2017. It became a government property in 1947. 

Kapurthala place. India

Jagatjit palace, Kapurthala. dist. court functions

Restoration work.The Durbar Hall, Kapurthala, Punjab India, 
The Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board was  all set to restore four structures in Kapurthala district at an estimated cost of Rs 11 crore. These included the Darbar Hall which houses the main administrative complex of the district, Gol Kothi, Gulabi Kothi— also known as the Bhoot Bangla— and the Baggi Khana, which currently houses the police headquarters. There are many monuments here that need urgent repair and restoration work. .