Hidden Heritage : A Google Earth view of Punjab

The Darbar Sahib remains is the very centre of the old city of Amritsar. Whilst the old city walls have been demolished and the city gates are all but destroyed, the perimeter of the medeivel city is evident in the view from Google Earth.

(the very similar, but smaller, structure in the top of the frame is the Hindu Durgiana Tenmple, that was built in the 1920s on the same plan as the Harimandir Sahib). The old city is bound by roads giving it an alt kidney shape. The map of 1869 below from the Royal Geographical Society serves as a comparison:

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was instrumental in reguilding the Darbar Sahib and gicing it the appelation; the Golden Temple was someone who left his indelible mark on the Punjab in many differnet ways. Probably the t telling are the Hazuri Bagh and his own Samadhi in Lahore. The views of these monuments form the air speak volumes about Ranjit Singh's reign. The Hazuri Bagh is a modest marble pavillion, richly decorated and placed in the bagh between the austere and enourmous Badshahi Masjid and Akbar's (and later Ranjit Singh's) Lahore Fortress. The scale of the pavillion and its placement in the public area illustrate Ranjit Singh's humility and his openess.

Aurangzeb's Badshahi Masjib viewed from the sky, the enourmous red square is the prayer hall. Opposite this is the Hazuri bagh, with Ranjit Singh's marble pavillion in it's very centre. Top the right is the alt square Lahore fort complex which forms one side of the old city walls. Ranjit Singh's samadh and Dehra Sahib gurdwara are just to the top of the hazuri Bagh (see the zoomed view below)

Ranjit Singh's Samadhi (bottom left) with the golden dome of Dehra Sahib gurdwara above and to the right.

   A view from Lahore fort of the Bashahi Masjid, the domes of Ranjit Singh's Samadhi and just poking above the treeline the golden dome of Dehra Sahib gurdwara
   Dehra Sahib Gurdwara
   Ranjit Singh Samadhi with one of the Masjid's minarets in the background
   Badshahi Masjid
   
   The marble pavillion built by Ranjit Singh in the centre of Hazuri Bagh. This was once used as a plae of public darbar. The entrance to Lahore fort is in the background.

Just outside the old city of Lahore is another area of great importance to Punjab's heritage; Shalimar gardens. These gardens were originally laid by the Mughals and were amongst the t fabulous of the formal Mughal gardens in South Asia.


From the ground, the Shalimar gardens, Lahore

East Punjab may suffer a dearth of Sikh heritage relating to Ranjit Singh but it does contain one of the t important Sikh forts, and this is intact in structure. The Qila Mubarak which was originally built in eth 1700s and has been expanded as late as the turn of the 20th century is amply evident from the air on Google Earth.


The Qila Mubarak was first developed as a mud fort or Kachi Garhi. Baba Ala Singh constructed the Pacca Qila after his conquest of Sirhind. From the receipts of the octroi on the merchandise passing through his territory of the G.T. road, he constructed the Qila. The present Qila is divided into two parts- one, the Qila Androon, the interior portion, was built by Ala Singh. Situated on a mound, it ascends as one moves into it. While the other i.e., between the Qila Androon and outer walls with the secretariat on the left and Darbar Hall on the right, was built by Maharaja Karam Singh. The Darbar Hall is now converted into a mini museum where rare arms and armours including a sword of Nadir Shah known as 'Shikar Gah' are on display. t precious pieces of art are the rich collection of tree-like chandeliers made of Bohemian cut-glass emitting prism like radiant splendour and sheen. To those interested in metallurgy and guns, a visit to the Cannon Park within the premises of the Qila Mubarak would certainly be a thrilling experience of life time. The murals inside the palaces are rare specimen of the Kangra and Rajasthan paintings

 

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