Jal Mahal and the palace of Sher Singh in Batala

Jal Mahal and the palace of Maharaja Sher Singh were built by the Maharaja (AD 1780-1839). The palace is under the control of the authorities of the local Baring Union Christian College. The administrative offices of the college are housed in it.

Jal Mahal is said to be under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Jal Mahal (Baradari) and the palace of Maharaja Sher Singh were connected through a tunnel. According to some senior citizens Shamsher Khan Tank of Jal Mahal used to filled with water through the tunnel which was further connected by a long tunnel (canal) to the Beas near Kahnuwan. The remnants of the tunnel can be seen near Baring Christian College.

Maharaja Sher Singh used to hold meetings of his courtiers in Jal Mahal. The water reservoir was built by Shamsher Khan while the beautiful Baradari in the centre of the tank was constructed by Maharaja Sher Singh. It has a square room in the centre of a pavilion with a passage. The entry to the first floor is by a staircase with concave-shaped steps on the north-eastern canal. Jal Mahal has eight doors in the lower part of the building and four in the upper storey. The inner wall contained beautiful art glass carvings and wall paintings. However, major parts of the paintings have been erased or damaged. The roof of the pavilion has also fallen. The Municipal Council had provided a tubewell to fill up the tank till the eighties. All sides of the reservoir were lined with Nanakshahi bricks. However, with the passage of time the brick lining has been destroyed. Now a days, on one side of the tank is located a vridh ashram owned and managed by the Dainik Prarthana Sabha. There also exists Bhadr Kali Mandir and Shivala. The upper portion of Jal Mahal is in a dilapidated condition and the time is not far when this magnificent structure will pass into oblivion.

Locally known as Hazira, structure is near Baring College and was built by Shamsher Khan. The tomb stands on a raised platform surrounded by a low wall having bastions in the corners. The tomb is an octagonal structure crowned with a low dome. The spandrels of the arches have painted arabesque and geometrical designs.

The interior wall as well as the exterior of the tomb is richly adorned with paintings depicting floral, geometrical and calligraphic designs. The decoration is intact on the interior but on the exterior only its traces survive. Recently, the ASI had undertaken repairs. Preservation work has been done on its interior as well as exterior walls. The surroundings of this monuments, too, have been beautified.

The palace of Maharaja Sher Singh reminds one of the love of rich architectural structures by Sikh rulers. This beautiful building with mud plastering was known to be part of Anarkali which was initially built along with Baradari as an imitation of Shalimar Garden of Lahore. The remnants wall paintings and carvings can seen. However, the attitude of the authorities of the ASI and Baring Union College may lead to the fading away of the original design and structure of the building.

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