Nahan Kothi, Panchkula, Haryana, the only vestige of British architecture in that state was set for restoration

Damaged Nahan Kothi  Panchkula

Nahan Kothi  Panchkula

Above image: The 161 year old  building that lies in a Sector-12, residential area of Panchkula,  is a protected monument with 19th century British architecture. Haryana’s department of archaeology took efforts to save the dilapidated building and put it back to old glory.  It was constructed between 1857 and 1863 and in 2016 Rs. 65 lakh contract work was allotted to a private contractor for the restoration work which, it was said, would be completed as early as possible. 

 The 161 year old Nahan Kothi, a protected monument (declared in 2007), in the modern city of Panchkula is the  only important remnant representing the British architecture of 19th century AD in this region, according to state Archaeology department.  Built by Prince Surjan Singh and Bir Singh, the sons of Raja Fateh Singh (1857-63 AD), the ruler of Sirmour State, Nathan Kothi, with a garden and servant quarters was primarily used by the rulers as a  territorial  out-post to keep an eye on activities inimical to the rulers going on in the  neighboring places. Apart, it was also used as a hunting lodge for overnight stay during hunting expedition undertaken by colonial rulers. 

Part of the reason why an outpost was planned here was it happened to be  a hilly region and the state was susceptible to attack by enemies around. that place.  This region including Morni and other adjoining hilly areas of Haryana was part of Sirmour State and  the state capital  was Nahan (Himachal Pradesh).  The  monument several times underwent many alterations at various periods and consequently the original architecture wa very much affected. However, some of the original features of this Kothi remain unaffected.

1n 1997 Consumer Forum court house shifted to this place in Nov 1997 and the SDM court was functioning there for sometime. In the 2010s the  state Archaeology department was keen to restore the building as there was mounting pressure from the historians and heritage lovers to save the building from severe damages.  The Consumer Foram  delayed its shifting office to a new upcoming court complex in 2013-14 and finally eviction was forced on them through court proceedings. Both Punjab and Haryana High Courts came down heavily on the Consumer Foram and  sent a notice to Haryana government, the cultural affairs department and Panchkula deputy commissioner, on a public interest litigation seeking eviction of the consumer forum from the heritage building

CDM - consumer forums in Haryana come under the food and supply department and since the government had not found a suitable place to locate the consumer court in the heritage building for a long period. The CDM office finally moved over to sector 14. from  Sector 12-A in Panchkula to facilitate the  restoration work, but their move is a belated one.

Sources said the officials of Department of Archaeology and Museums, Haryana, had made a proposal for restoration of the monument pretty soon and did not want other agencies to undertake the conservation work.

Nathan Kothi, Panchkula in ruins

Nathan Kothi, Panchkula in ruins

In 2016  Nahan Kothi  that housed  Panchkula consumer forum was in a dilapidated state primarily due to prolonged neglect and official apathy, despite the fact the old building was experiencing  seepage of water in courtroom, chambers, retiring and record rooms during rainy days. The leak  promoted by the growth of plants and trees on the walls, causing cracks in the  them and in the ceiling and wooden doors became infested with termites.