Maharajas dream forgotten

The stone laid by 'Farzand-e-Khas Daulat-e-Inglishia Mansur Zaman Amir-ul-Umra, Maharaj Dhiraj Rajeshwar Siri Maharaja Rajgan Bhupinder Singh Mohindar Bahadur'' (as stated on the stone) to mark the foundation of Bhupinder Nagar today lies forgotten and forlorn in front of the Model Town police post.

Saplings of peepal trees have grown in between massive cracks of the bricks holding the stone together. One part of the brick edifice has crumbled. The foundation stone itself has become loose on one side. Parthenium has grown all around the foundation stone making it alt invisible.

There is general ignorance about the stone itself in the city with few of the present generation knowing that the late Maharaja himself had laid the foundation stone of Bhupindra Nagar. However, for the old timers, the foundation stone is a reminder of an era when the nagar epitomised planned and luxurious living according to European trends. It is these people who feel the foundation stone represents heritage of the city and should be given due importance in the Heritage Festival.

Brig. G.S. Sekhon (retd) while talking to TNS said Bhupindra Nagar was planned by the late Maharaja on the pattern of residences laid out by Lutyen in Delhi, incorporating the need for open spaces as well as living in the lap of nature amidst greenery and orchards. He said plots were cut up adjoining three roads laid out one after the other ahead of Railway Crossing Number 22. He said four acre plots each were cut out for t of the occupants. The army officer said t of the houses had mango orchards on the premises with few also having guava orchards and the orchards were irrigated with the help of canal water.

Brig Sekhon said t of the original plot owners in the area had retained only part of their land with the major part being sold off resulting in formation of various small colonies in the area. He said a few of the original houses still remained like that of Raja Ram Partap Singh which presently housed the Academy of Sikh Religion and Culture, the house of Raja Birender Singh as well as an old house which presently housed the office complex of Blossoms School.

Shamminder Singh, another old timer, said though the original character of Bhupindra Nagar had undergone a sea change in the post-independence era, the vision of Maharaja Bhupindra Singh as a town planner could still be seen from a study of the mini township visualised by him. He said the fact that the late Maharaja had conceptualised broad roads in an era of few automobiles which were still serving the city besides careful planning of trees and greenery needed to be studied in depth.

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