Kapurthala

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Kapurthala District in Punjab state, India

Kapurthala (Punjabi: ਕਪੂਰਥਲਾ) is a district and city in Punjab state of India. It is the administrative headquarters of Kapurthala District. It was the former capital of princely state of British India of the same name. The secular and aesthetic mix of the city with its prominent buildings based on French and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture self-narrate its princley past and once earned this small town in the Punjab the sobriquet of Paris of Punjab.

Kapurthala Principality

Kapurthala Principality was in the Punjab and had an area, 652 square miles. The 1901 population was 314,341, showing an increase of 5% in the decade. At the time, estimated gross revenue was 178,000 (currency unknown, probably in £) and paid tribute of 8700 (probably also in £).

History

The history of the Town of Kapurthala goes back as early as the 11th Century when it's said to have been founded by Rana Kapur, a scion of the ruling house of Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). The present royal family of Kapurthala is descended from Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a contemporary of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah, who by his intelligence and bravery made himself the leading Sikh of his day. At one time it held possessions on both sides of the Sutlej, and also in the Bari Doab. The cis-Sutlej estates and scattered tracts in the Bari Doab were forfeited owing to the hostility of the chief in the First Sikh War; but the latter were afterwards restored in recognition of the loyalty of Raja Randhir Singh during the mutiny of 1857, when he led a contingent to Oudh which did good service. He also received a grant of land in Oudh, 700 m² in extent, yielding a gross rental of 89,000. In Oudh, however, he exercises no sovereign powers, occupying only the status of a large landholder, with the title of Raja-i-Rajagan.

Raja Sir Jagatjit Singh, K.C.S.I., was born in 1872, succeeded his father in 1877, and attained his majority in 1890. During the Tirah expedition of 1897-98 the Kapurthala imperial service infantry took a prominent part. The territory is crossed by the railway from Jalandhar to Amritsar. The state has a large export trade in wheat, sugar,and cotton. The hand-painted cloths and metal-work of Phagwara are well known. The town of Kapurthala is approximately 20 Kilometers from Jalandhar.

Monuments & Buildings

City of Kapurthala has several buildings and places of interest linked to its local history such as the Sainik School (Formerly Jagatjit Palace), Shalamar Bagh (Gardens), District Courts buildings, Moorish Mosque, Panch Mandir ("Five Temples"), Clock Tower, State Gurudwara, Kanjli Wetlands, Guru Nanak Sports Stadium, Jagjit Club, and the NJSA Government college.

Sainik School (Jagatjit Palace)

It has the much renowned Sainik School, formerly known as Jagatjit Palace, is housed in what was formerly the palace of the erstwhile Maharajah of Kapurthala state, HRH Maharajah Jagatjit Singh. The palace building has a spectacular architecture based on the Palace of Versailles and Fontainebleau spread over a total area of 200 acres. It was designed by a French architect M. Marcel. Its magnificent Durbar Hall (Diwan-E-Khas) is one of the finest in India and the Plaster of Paris figures and painted ceilings represent the finest features of French art and archiecture. The construction of this palace was commenced in 1900 and completed in 1908.

Moorish Mosque

A spectacular example of the secular history of Kapurthala is the Moorish Mosque, a famous replica of the Grand Mosque of Marakesh, Morocco, was built by a French architect, Monsieur M Manteaux. Its construction was commissioned by the last ruler of Kapurthala, Maharajah Jagatjit Singh and took 13 years to complete between 1917 and 1930. It was then consecrated in the presence of the late Nawab of Bhawalpur. The Mosque's inner dome contains decorations by the artists of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore. The Mosque is a National Monument under the Archeological Survey of India.

Jagatjit Club

Jagatjit Club is an elegant building situated in the heart of the city based on the Greek Revival style of architecture. Its design loosely resembles the Acropolis of Athens and features the Coat of Arms of the erstwhile ruling family of Kapurthala with their royal motto "Pro Rege et Patria" (For King and country) on its pediment. The building has been used for a variety of purposes since it was constructed, it was used as a church in the early nineteenth century, as a cinema hall in the 1940s and now houses a local club.

Gurudwara Ber Sahib

The famous Gurudwara Ber Sahib is situated at Sultanpur Lodhi, which is one of the four sub-divisions (Tehsil) of Kapurthala. This historic site is of great importance to Sikhism as it is said to be the very place where the First Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, spent 14 years of his life and attained enlightenment whilst bathing in a small rivulet, the Bein. The place derives its name from a Ber tree (Zizyphus Jujuba) said to be planted by Guru Nanak himself and under which he first uttered the Mool Mantra or the "Sacred Word or Revelation" of Sikhism.

Pushpa Gujral Science City

In 2005, the Governor of Punjab, Lt. Gen (retd) S.F Rodrigues, inaugrated the Pushpa Gujral Science City or simply known as the Science City. A joing venture between the state government and the Government of India, this project has been designed as an instituion of excellence, for meeting both educational and recreational purposes. Despite being a recent development, it is now fast promoting itself as a tourist attraction, providing facilites for an informal science education through a more recreational aspect. Some of the attractions range from purely recreational adventure sports such as rock-climbing, aero-ballooning, boating to demonstrating learning in the field of nano-technology, micro-machines, levitation and genomics etc.

Education

The main higher education institutions of Kapurthala are the NJSA Government College or popularly known as the Randhir College and the Hindu Kanya College for women. There are numerous Primary and Secondary schools in Kapurthala, however, the prominent list includes the Sainik School, Kendriya Vidyalaya (Kapurthala Cantt.) and the Army School.

Transport

The City of Kapurthala is well connected with the main transport routes of the Punjab and Northern India. It is situated 19 km away toward South-West of its closest neighbouring city of Jalandhar, a main road and railway junction of the Punjab region. Nearest international Airport is approximately 66 Kilometers away at Amritsar.

Industries

Kapurthala is home to several medium-to-large scale industries of the region. Some of these are the Rail Coach Factory (see below); JCT Mills Phagwara (a sub-division of Kapurthala district) which is one of the most successful textile mills in India; SSK, one of India's oldest and biggest manufacturers of Electrical wiring accessorie, founded in 1935, is also based in Kapurthala . Other prominent industries include the Oswal Agro (Sugar) Mills and the Jagatjit Industries Limited (JIL), the latter being set-up under the partonage of Maharajah of Kapurthala in 1944 and remains one of the largest breweries of alcoholic beverages and manufacturer of dairy products in India.

Rail Coach Factory

Kapurthala boasts of having one of the most innovative large scale hi-tech manufacturing units dedicated to building railway carriages for Indian Railways. Popularly known as RCF, the Rail Coach Factory was established in 1986 by the Government of India and has been instrumental in contributing to the economy of the district. RCF is located in serene and green environment and is ISO 14001 certified (see External Links

External Links

Districts of Punjab

Amritsar (District)BarnalaBathindaFirozpurFaridkotFatehgarhGurdaspurHoshiarpurJalandharKapurthalaLudhianaMansaMogaMuktsarNawanshahrPatialaRupnagarMohaliSangrur (District)Tarn Taran