Off the beaten track

HISTORY: Jalandhar has the distinction of housing the largest number of archaeological sites in Punjab. While the protected monuments are taken care of by the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI), the state government has never bothered to do its bit. Dakhni Sarai, built along the GT Road, is one of the finest specimens of Mughal caravan inns. Located in Dakhni village on the Nakodar-Kapurthala road, about 12 kms from Nakodar, near Jahangir village, the sarai, which was notified as a national monument on February 18, 1919, was built by Mughal noble Ali Mardan Khan during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan, circa 1640. It comprises 124 cells around a closed quadrangle with two imposing gateways in the centre of the eastern and western quadrangle. Inside the quadrangle are a que and a well. The half-dome portal is decorated with glazed tiles while its interiors boast of painted motifs over lime plaster. The three-storey façade of the gateway has arched recesses and openings on either side. The gateway projecting out of the wall is strengthened with octagonal towers.

PRESENT STATUS: The monument has a great potential for tourism, as it houses all basic amenities ranging from modern bathrooms to drinking water facilities. However, the state government has failed to build a metalled approach road to the monument. A mud path that leads to the building has no signposts. The ASI’s numerous requests to the Administration to get a road constructed have fallen on deaf ears. Avtar Singh of Jahangir village says, "Though the monument is close to our village, we see it from a distance as there is no approach road. It can become a happening place if the government pumps the prime.”

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