Culture & Heritage

Nakodar

Outside the Nakodar town, there are two fine Muhammedan tombs situated close together. These are maintained as protected monuments by the Archaeological Departments. One of these tombs was built in A.D.1612 in the beginning of the reign of Jahangir(A..D.1605-1627 A.D.) and the other in 1657 A.D towards the close of the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-1658 A.D.).

The Tomb of Mohammed Momin was erected over the mortal remains of Ustad Muhammed Momin also known as Ustad Ustad Muhammed Husseini alias Hafizak, a tambura player in the service of Khan-I-Khanan, one of the Mavaratnas in the court of Emperor Akbar in AD 1021 (AD 1612). Standing on an octagonal platform and approached by a flight of steps on two sides, it is square from inside and octagonal on outside. Surmounted by a pinnacle, the hemispherical dome sits over a low cylindrical drum and is relieved by four cupolas. Each of the longer face is pierced by deep recesses while the shorter by half octagonal recesses placed one over the other, all covered by pointed arches. The entrances are on the northern and southern recesses while the other recesses are blocked with pierced tracery screens. The middle portions of the panels on the exterior and the arch spandrels are decorated with geometric design in glazed tile work. The upper and lower panel, framed in lines of red plastered bricks, contain painted designs showing guldastas. Originally within the burial chamber are two elegent sarcophagi of sienna coloured marble inlaid with white marble inscription , which are now lost.

Nakodar Tomb
Nakodar Tomb

Tomb of Haji Jamal is close to the tomb of Muhammed Momin. This tomb was raised over the mortal remains of Haji Jamal, a pupil of Ustad Muhammed Husseini, the tambura player, towards the close of Emperor Shah Jahan?s regin. The two lined inscription engraved on the entrance gate of the tomb refers to its bing the tomb of Haji Jamal and gives a date of AH 1067 ( AD 1657). It stands in the middle of the square platform, paneled on all sides with deep recesses concealing two flight of steps on each side. Each of the four faces have octagonal recesses covered by pointed archs. The southern one gives access to the burial chamber while the remaining ones are closed with pierced tracery screens. Its inner chamber is octagonal where as the outer plan is square having octagonal turrets surmounted with domed cupolas added to the corners. A bulbous dome crowned with pinnacle sits over a high drum and is balanced by the four cupolas crowning the turrets at the cornor. The façade is divided into red stucco covered brick framed panels and painted with white lines. The larger panels are filled with flower pots and the smaller with geometrical designs. The broad belts between the panels are ornamented with diper designs in tiles of different colours. The octagonal towers and the battlements as well as the pinnacles of the domes are ornamented with glazed tiles. (Notification no. 4687 dated 18-02-1919 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

On the west of the tombs is a gateway said to have been built in A.D.1667. There is another smaller gateway on the east, now in ruins. To the north is a tank, the bricks of which were largely used in the building of Nakodar Cantonment, on one side of it is a summer house, now used as the Sub-Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate’s Court. Beyond the tank is Baradari containing the shrine of Bahadur Khan who died during the reign of Jahangir, and also an old mosque which is now in a dilapidated condition.

Dakhni sarai is one of the finest and best preserved specimens of mughal caravan sarais built along the old highway. It stand in the village Dakhni (31.10′ N; 75.25′ E) on the Nakodar- Kapurthala road, about 12 km from Nakodar. The sarai is said to have been built by the well known Mughal noble Ali Mardan Khan during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan about AD 1640. It comprises of one hundred & twenty four cells around a closed quadrangle with two imposing gateway in the centre of the eastern and western quadrangle. Inside the quadrangle is a mosque and a well. The half dome portal of which is decorated with glazed tiles while its interior contains painted motifs over lime plaster. The wall closing the sarai on the outside at the four corners are strengthened by circular bastion. The three storyed facade of the gateway shows recesses and openings on either side, the smaller one being closed with finely pierced tracery screens in red sandstone. The gateway projecting out of the wall is strengthened with octagonal towers, crowned with domical cupolas. The arch spandrels and panels framing the central arch and side openings are decorated with glazed tile-work showing geometrical and floral designs. (Notification no. 4687 dated 18-02-1919 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

The Mughal Bridge is to the south of the village Mahlian Kalan on Nakodar- Kapurthala road, obout 12 km from Nakodar. This is one of the extant Mughal bridge built during the reign of Shah Jahan (AD 1627-1658 ) . The bridge spanned the Dhauli-veni river to the east of the Dakhni Sarai. It is of Lakhauri bricks and has five arched spans, the central begin the highest and other four in receding order. ( Notification no. PN, 16721 dated 04-06-1923 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

Nurmahal

Noor Mahal
Noor Mahal

Nurmahal is due to the fostering of Nur Jahan (after whom it is named), the consort of Emperor Jahangir(1605-1627 A.D) and who is said to have been brought up here. She had the imperial serai constructed by Nawab Zakariya Khan Governor of the Doab between 1619 and 1621 A.D and settled numerous families in her new town. In 1738-1739 Nadir Shah exacted a ransom of three lakhs of rupees” from Nurmahal, which seriously injured its prosperity. “In 1756-1757 Ahmad Shah demanded a like sum and the people being unable to pay he ordered them to be slaughtered and plundered, and burnt the town”. Almost immediately afterwards the Punjab independent of Delhi and Nurmahal was seized by the Ahluwalia Sikhs and was held for the Kapurthala Chief by Sirdar Kaur Singh and his descendants. It would seem as if before this the Talwan Rujputs had taken possession of the town. They subsequently on the final invasion of Ahmad Shah recovered the serai. The west gateway of this building was restored at public expense during the British rule towards the close of the nineteenth century.

The sarai is remarkable specimen of oriental architecture. The serai is maintained as a protected monument by the Archaeological Department. This closed quadrangle consists of onr hundred forty cells on all over the four sides, two gateway placed in the central of the eastern and western wings. and double storeyed pavilions in the centre of the northern and southern wings, two storied octagonal tower having three cells on the basement at the corners; a well and a mosque with in the quadrangle. of the two gateways, the eastern on is simple while the western one is ornamented. The gateway comprising guard rooms on either side of a central passage and projecting out has casing of red sandstone. The sliced outer angles are relieved with arch recesses placed one over other. The whole facade is divided in to panels, ornamented with sculptures in bas-relief and foliated scroll work with birds sitting in branches. The arched opening of the entrance is encased with in a bigger arch and its spandrels being decorated with lotus medalions. on either side of the spandrels are placed projecting domed balconies supported on four pillars topped with carved brackets. The space in between the pillars is closed with low stone railings showing fine pierced tracery work. To the corner of the gates are added guldastas which rise above the battelments of the tarrace. (Notification no. 4687 dated 18.02.1919 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

Ancient site ( Theh Ghatti), Nagar (Jalandhar): The village Nagar ( 31″ 05′ N, 77″ 50’E) is situated about 9 km north-east of phillaur with a threefold sequence of culture. Period 1 is represented by the painted Grey ware with sprinkling of the late Harappa sturdy red ware. Semi-circular huts and two ovel structures of burnt earth, probably of religious nature, have been noticed. copper objects, bone styli, terracotta ear-ornaments and animal figures, besides beads and bangles, have been found. Period II has the typical Kushan pottery, terracottas and coins. A terracotta seal reads ” sri-mahasenapati -Ramaguptasya’ in characters of third century is an important discovery. In period III there was a prosperous mediival occupation. (Notification of 1954 dated 02.01.1954 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

Ancient site, Katpalon (Jalandhar): The ancient site in the village Katpalon (31′ 05′ N; 75′ 52′ E) about 7 km east of phillaur and it was excavated by the survey in 1976-77. In period I the painted Grey ware was found interlocked with the late Harappan pottery. Copper antimony road and terracotta beads and wheela are the other main finds. This was followed after a break by period II, kushna. In period III, medieval, the strata are much disturbed by pits. ( Notification no. 4/7/67-CA/(1) dated 05.03.1968 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)

Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan

Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan
Baba Harballabh Ji

Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan is the oldest festival of Indian Classical Music in the world, which is celebrated every year at the sacred seat of music, the samadhi of Baba Harballabh – a saint and an exponent of Hindustani Classical Music. The first Sammelan was held in 1875 at the Sidh Peeth-Shri Devi Talab, in Jalandhar. Since then it has been held every year.

The Sangeet Sammelan which has grown from strength to strength in the last 131 years has been attracting audiences and artists from all across the country and abroad. This festival was declared as one of the National Festivals by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of India. All prominent artists of Hindustani Classical Music from India and Pakistan have come and performed at the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan at one time or the other during the last 130 years. Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi accompanied by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar visited Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan in the year 1919. Union Ministers, Governors, State Chief Ministers, State Ministers and other VIPs have been visiting to pay their reverence at this festival of music. The festival attracts thousands of music lovers from all over the India and abroad every year. This number is increasing year after year.

In 1956 a Sangeet Academy was constructed under the banner of Swami Hariballabh. While we hear Swami Hariballabh it seems clear that “The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another… and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.”

Baba Sodal Mela

Baba Sodal Mela
Baba Sodal

Baba Sodal Mela is one of the most important fairs in Punjab, organized to pay homage to Baba Sodal, a great soul. Each year, the Mela is organized in the month of Bhadon (September), in Jalandhar one of the most important cities of the north Indian state of Punjab. The fair particularly takes place on the 14th day of Shukal Paksh and is attended by thousands of pilgrims. Devotees gather from the world to pay a tribute to their deity.

Legend says that Baba Sodal took birth in the Chadha family of Khatri caste, in the city of Jalandhar and there are various stories associated with him. One of the stories goes that when he was a small boy he always used to follow his mother to the pond where she did washing inspite of the fact that he got scolding from her. Once she became very angry and cursed him to simply go away. He asked her to repeat it thrice. When she did so, he disappeared into the pond, never to be found again. This very day is celebrated as a Mela.

Another legend says that when the cities of Punjab were cursed, Baba Sodal took the form of a holy snake and informed all about his farewell from the mortal world. He asked the people of Chadha and Anand families to accept his re-embodiment and offer him Mathi or Topa. He declared only the members of Chadha clan could consume topa. Every year, on Amawasya (no-moon night) before the Sodal Mela, the head of Chadha Clan visits the pond to extract mud 14 times for their sons.

Mud is extracted with a belief that if this is done Baba Ji will appear on the day of Trydashi (13th of local month). Kasar is made and is also offered 14 times slowly. On Chaturdarshi (14th day), the Chadha clan eats only fried food. On the night before the fair, the whole Chadha clan sows ‘Khetri’ in the name of Baba Sodal, as a traditional so that the clan remains happy and prosperous.

The followers of Sikhism consider this day, a very auspicious one. The fair takes place on the Samadhi of the Baba, where his painted portrait is placed decorated with rosaries and flowers. Nearby is Baba Sodal ka Sarovar, a holy tank. People take a dip in the holy waters of the Sarovar and present offerings on the Samadhi. The day is special for the females too as they seek the blessings from Baba for their children and their families. Prasad is also offered at the Samadhi.

Mela Gadri Babean Da

desh bhagat yadgar hall Jalandhar
Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall Jalandhar

October 30 to November 1 are days of the Communist festival in Punjab. Punjab, which is homeland to some of the greatest revolutionary martyrs such as Bhagat Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Udham Singh, etc., has kept the tradition of celebrating successes of people’s struggles alive. Every year people of Punjab commemorate birthdays of various martyrs and pay homage at their death anniversaries. But, one of the most significant such celebration is “Mela Gadri Babean da”, which is observed every year from 30th October to 1st November in Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall, Jalandhar. The fete is organised to pay homage to the great Ghadar movement, launched by Indians living abroad against the British regime in India.

Gadri Mela is a fest that nourishes people’s culture and breaks the cultural hegemony that the state tries to impose by its ideological apparatuses including cinema and media. It brings forth a counter-culture which is not appropriated by the imperatives of corporates, and is free from the normativity of present day culture. In times as these, when individuals and outfits that do not succumb to the predominant understanding of society, and its processes, are murdered, a fest like this has enormous importance. It addresses questions of caste, class and gender away from the liberal humanist cultural representations, and shifts the angle towards cobwebs where the mechanisms of differential handling are invented. It provides platform to the voices which are being repudiated by so-called directives of modern cinema and theatre, by providing them space to proliferate their perspectives of comprehending reality.

The Ghadar party was formed in 1913 in the U.S.A, with Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna as its President. The party published a newspaper which was the backbone of the party known as ‘Ghadar: Angrez Raj da Dushman’ (The enemy of British Rule). It was essentially a secular, patriotic party with Tarak Nath Das, Maulvi Barkatullah, and Vishnu Ganesh Pingle as its members. The party, as the name suggests was aimed at advancing a rebellion in India against foreign rule, for which it organised meetings in villages, and convinced people to revolt against prevailing injustice. Although it failed in attaining freedom for its beloved motherland, it served as a stepping stone in the Independence struggle of India.

To the State, the Gadri Mela is an open challenge posed by masses against imperialism, its policies and culture, but for the left, it is a platform to collaborate, thrash out differences, and clear the path for revolution.