There are these hip, happening and the most sought after travel destinations in the world and then there are the small towns which may appear sort of boring on the face of it. Well, here is the thing: any city can become a travel destination. It is on a traveller to go ahead and explore the city. I happen to study in a small town of Punjab (read Patiala). It is a serene city; with minimal amounts of traffic, negligible night life and with just one mall. The city has been made famous by our very own Patiala peg, the movie 'Patiala House' and the very traditional Patiala salwar.
So here is an account of a non- touristy destination, but in case you happen to be in the city put on your walking shoes and take out your DSLR and immerse yourself in the vibe of this city.
Places that deserve your time:
Qila Mubarak Complex
The Qila Mubarak complex stands in 10-acre ground in the heart of the old city, and contains the main palace or Qila Androon (literally'inner fort'), the guesthouse or Ran Baas and the Darbar Hall. A small musuem displaying the antiques of the Maharajas of Punjab offers a great round. Outside the Qila are the Darshani Gate and a Shiva temple. The bazaar shops that border the street run around the Qila give you a mini trip to the bygone era of Punjab. From the traditional maang tikkas, to absolutely stunning Punjabi Jewelry; this place is a haven for all the women.
Well, this place is closed for renovation for most part of the year. You'd be lucky to get to see the building. This 'palace of mirrors' is a complex full of frescoes mostly made by Maharaja Narinder Singh. There is a bridge across the artificial lake in the centre of the palace. This bridge is known as Lakshman Jhoola.
The Bahadurgarh Fort is 6 kilometers away from the main city; very close to the campus of Punjabi University. It is situated on the Patiala-Chandigarh road. There is a historical Gurudwara inside the fort. Also, one can find a mosque built by Saif Khan inside the fort. The Fort has a very rich historical background and a must visit for anyone coming to this city.
Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib
Dukh Nivaran literally means the eradicator of suffering. According to a local folk Bhag Ram, one villager from Lehal village, went to the nearby town of Saifabad (now Bahadurgarh) to meet the visiting Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur. He pleaded the Guru to pay a visit and bless Lehal village so that its inhabitants could get rid of a mysterious disease which had been plaguing the village for a long time. Shortly thereafter, the Guru visited the village and sat meditating and preaching under a banyan tree by the side of the village pond. The village was soon rid of the sickness. The place where the Guru sat came to be known as Dukh Nivaran and later on a Gurudwara was constructed at this place. On the occasion of Basant Panchmi, a large number of devotees gather to take a dip in the holy water which is believed to cure all ailments.
This is a shopping street and a paradise if you are looking for Punjabi suits or preparing for a wedding. Phulkari dupattas, patiala salwars, parandis, traditional earrings : you name it and you can find it over here. There is an AC market Complex where you can find ample Punjabi Jutti shops. You can test your haggling skills at this place.
Yadvindra Public School is one of the best schools in North India and it is surrounded by small eateries where you can find lip-smacking rolls, creamy pastries and other junk food. Worth a try.
The most famous Sweet Shops in the city are Gopal Sweets and Jaggi Sweets. Almost rival food companies, but the wide variety of delectable sweets, delicious snacks and the tempting cakes make you almost a glutton. Patiala, too has it's share of inviting street food so feel free to eat at any one of the thellas.
This town is adequately connected with all the major cities like Ludhiana, Ambala and Chandigarh. In case you happen to stop in this city, instead of slumbering at your hotel to take a stroll in this still and undisturbed city.
Photo Credits: Puneet Singh, Avdhesh Bairwa and google.