The Princely State of Patiala.

Under British PATIALA was the most important Sikh state.
The ruling families of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Faridkot, Kaithal and Malaud all claim to be descended from the Raja of Jaisalamer. Phool the founder of this family along with his brother Sandaali became orphans in 1618, and both were taken under the wing of their uncle. They both visited Guru Har Rai as youngsters along with their uncle, it is said that their uncle told them to rap their bellies to indicate to the Guru the poverty and hunger they were enduring. The Guru blessed Phool and is said to have told him that he would make a king.

Baba Phool - the elder of PhoolVansh

Phool set up his own village and was often in conflict with local chiefs. This enraged the Governor of Sirhind who summoned him and put him behind bars. Phool died in 1652. He had 6 sons, of whom Rama emerged from this group as the most eminent. The Governor of Sirhind appointed Rama to the post of Chaudhari. Rama was killed at Maler-Kotla in 1714. He was succeeded by his son, Ala Singh.
Ala Singh assumed the leadership in 1714 when Banda Bahadur was engaged in the fierce battle against the Mughals. A man with vision and courage, Ala Singh carved out an independent principality from a petty Zamindari of 30 villages. Under his successors, it expanded into a big state, touching the Shivaliks in north, Rajasthan in the South and upper courses of the Jamuna and Sutlej while confronting the most trying and challenging circumstances.

Maharaja. Ala Singh (1714-1765)

Sardar Ala Singh joined the Sikh fold in 1735 at the hands of Nawab Kapur Singh. He joined the Sikh forces and gained considerably from this in the terms of wealth and territory. In 1752, a General of Ala Singh, Sardar Gurbaksh Singh Kaleka won possession of eighty-four villages, one of which was Patiala. The Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali conferred the title of Maharajah on Ala Singh during the formers eighth invasion between 1764 & 1765. The territory of Patiala continued to grow right up to the death of Maharajah Ala Singh on August 22nd 1765. He was succeeded by his only legitimate son, Amar Singh.

Maharaja Amar Singh (1765---1781)

Amar Singh continued to use other Sikh leaders to further his aims. He continued to extend his territory. In 1767 during Abdali's 9th invasion of India, Amar Singh paid a sum of 2 lakh rupees to set thirty thousand Indians captured by Abdali as slaves free. For this benevolent act he was given the name of Bandi Chhor (Liberator of the slaves). (Information taken with courtesy of )

Maharaja Amar Singh

Maharajah Amar Singh died in February 1781. His son, Sahib Singh succeeded him at the tender age of seven. Sahib Singh was a very weak figure and was outdone by his sister Sahib Kaur on the battlefields. Maharajah Sahib Singh died on March 26th 1813. His eldest son, Karam Singh succeeded him.

Maharaja Karam Singh

Karam Singh helped the British during the war against the Gurkhas in 1814 and during the first Sikh War in 1845. He died on December 23rd 1845 and was succeeded by his son Narinder Singh.

Maharaja NARENDRA SINGH 1845/1862, born 26th November 1823, married 7 wives, including Maharani Karam Kaur, daughter of Sardar Ghulab Singh Buria, and had issue, 1 son Mahendra Singh and 3 daughters. He died 13th November 1862.

Maharaja Karam Singh
Maharaja Mahendra Singh 1852- 1876
1862 - 1876 H.H. Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Mansur-i-Zaman, Amir ul-Umara, Maharajadhiraja Raj Rajeshwar Yadu Vansha Vatans Bhatti Kul Bushan Sri Maharaja-i-Rajgan, Maharaja Sir Mahendra Singh
Maharaja MAHENDRA SINGH son of MaharajaNarendra Singh 1862/1876, born 16th September 1852, married 3rdly a daughter of Mian Mahtab Singh Dhaliwal and had issue. He died 18th April 1876.
Maharaja Rajendra Singh Bahadur 1872-1893
1876 - 1900 H.H. Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Mansur-i-Zaman, Amir ul-Umara, Maharajadhiraja Raj Rajeshwar Yadu Vansha Vatans Bhatti Kul Bushan Sri Maharaja-i-Rajgan, Maharaja Sir Rajendra Singh

HH Maharaja RAJENDRA SINGH Bahadur 1876/1900, born 25th May 1872, G.C.S.I., married (b) 13th April 1893, Florence Gertrude Bryan, christened 20th December 1873, daughter of Charles and Minnie Bryan, died about 1896, and had issue. He died 8th November 1900.

Maharaja Rajendra Singh with his courtiers

The great grandson of Narinder Singh, Maharajah Bhupinder Singh was one of the best-known Indian Maharajahs during the 20th century. He ascended the throne at the age of eight in 1900.(Below) There are many stories about his extraordinary wealth and the unique class that made him distinct from all the other Indian Maharajahs. He was a regular visitor in Europe and would buy the contents of stores in minutes

Maharaja Bhupendra Singh on the throne and on a horse
. Maj.Gen. HH Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia Mansur-i-Zaman Amir-ul-Umra Maharaja Dhiraj Rajeshwar Sir Sri Maharaja-i-Rajgan BHUPENDRA SINGH Mahendra Bahadur 1900/1938, born 12th October 1891 at Patiala , educated at the Aitchison College in Lahore, invested with full ruling powers on 3rd November 1910, Member of Standing Committee of Indian Princes' Chamber (ten times elected Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes during the 1920's and 1930's), Commander-in-Chief of the Patiala Forces, Honourary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Ist Ludhiana Sikhs, Hon. Col. 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, Hon. Maj.-Gen. in British Army, Fellow of the Royal Geographical, Zoological and Horticultural Societies, Member of the Royal Colonial Institute, Member of Royal Asiatic Society, appointed Hon. ADC to HM 1922, served in WWI 1914/18 receiving Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile, and of Order of Leopold of Belgium, Grand Cross of of Orders of Crown of Italy, Crown of Roumania, and St Saviour of Greece, and of Legion of Honour, served in the Afghan War 1919, represented India at League of Nations Assembly 1925, captained the Indian cricket team on its 1911 tour of England, president of the All-India Gundog League and vice-president of the Indian Kennel Association, chancellor and chief patron of the Sikhs' premier educational institution - the Khalsa College at Amritsar, he married 1908 HH Maharani Bakhtavar Kaur, daughter of Sardar Gurnam Singh of Jind, (mother of seven children, five of whom died young), and had issue, 88 children in all, mostly by concubines. He died at Patiala, from heart failure, on 22nd March 1938.

He was well known in London and he usually stayed at the Savoy where he would book the whole of the 2nd floor. He would be driven in a motorcade of 20 Rolls Royce cars. He died in 1938 and was succeeded by his son, Maharajah Sir Yadvinder Singh on March 23rd, 1938.

A specially gold pocket watch made with Maharaja Bhupinder Singh's portrait.
Patiala signed its territory over to the Indian union on May 5th, 1948. Maharajah Sir Yadvinder Singh (right)was given the title of Rajparmukh of the newly created Indian state of PEPSU. He was allowed a privy purse of 17 Lakh rupees for his upkeep and allowed to retain control over all his personal property.
Maharaja Yadvendra Singh with prominent personalities of Punjab
Lt.Gen. HH Shri Maharajadhiraja Sir YADAVINDRA SINGHJI Mahendra Bahadur 1938/1974, born 7th January 1913, educated at Aitchison College at Lahore, spent some time at the Punjab Police School, Phillaur, in 1931, he was made Superintendent of Police for Patiala district, graduating two years later to the rank of Inspector-General. In 1933, he was appointed the Chancellor of Khalsa College, Amritsar, and he held this position for a number of years. He donned Indian colours in 1934 when he was selected to play against England, he was also north Indian tennis champion, and led the Patiala polo team. President of Indian Olympic Association 1938/1960, appointed an aide-de-camp to the British King and pro-chancellor of the Chamber of Princes in March 1946. Rajpramukh of PEPSU, which in November 1956, in accordance with the recommendations of the States Reorganization Commission, was merged with East Punjab. Member of the Indian delegation to the 11th session of the United Nations General Assembly. In 1958, he represented India in Paris at the 10th annual conference of UNESCO, and in 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1967 and 1969 he led the Indian team at meetings of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). In 1960, the government made him chairman of the newly created Indian Council of Sports, a body designed to oversee the whole sporting sphere and advise on the allocation of public money to sports teams and facilities. In 1965, he was appointed to the prestigious post of Indian Ambassador in Rome, where he served until 1967. He presided over the Sikh Educational Conference annual sessions held at Patiala (1949), Delhi (1952) and Indore (1961). He was also the chairman of the Punjabi University Commission, which preceded the establishment in 1962 of Punjabi University at Patiala. He was chosen president of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation as well as of the Guru Nanak Foundation, the former set up to honour the tercentenary of the birth of Guru Gobind Singh (1967) and the latter the quincentenary of the birth of Guru Nanak (1969). In 1970 he took on a new role as chairman of the Indian Horticulture Development Council and the following year took up his second and last permanent diplomatic posting at the Hague in the Netherlands, married 1stly 1933, HH Maharani Mehtab Kaur [Mahinder Kaur I] died sp, married 2ndly 1938, HH Maharani Mahindar Kaur, born 1922, daughter of Sardar Harchand Singh Jaijee, and had issue. On the 17th June 1974, he suffered a severe heart attack and died. His body was flown to India and was cremated with full state honours on 21st June at Patiala in the family crematorium, the Shahi Samadhan.
· Capt. HH Maharajadhiraj Shri AMARINDER SINGH (qv) {Present Maharaja)
AICC President Smt. Sonia Gandhi wielding the Sword at a State level function regarding empowerment of PRIs in Punjab organized at Bathinda on 15-1-2004. Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, Dr. Manmohan Singh leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and MR. H.S.Hanspal, President PPCC.

PATIALA, a city of gardens and palaces, has a rich architectural and cultural heritage. The oldest part of Patiala is the walled city within which Quila Mubarak; the oldest fortified palace of the city, sits on a raised mound. Quila Mubarak forms the core around which the walled city developed.

Elephants get ready for a procession in front of Qila Mubarak

In 1763 Baba Ala Singh laid the foundation of the Patiala fort known as Qila Mubarak, around which the present city of Patiala is built. After the third battle of Panipat in 1761 in which the Marathas were defeated, the writ of the Afghans prevailed through out Punjab. It is at this stage that the rulers of Patiala began to acquire ensigns of royalty. Ahmed Shah Abadali bestowed upon Ala Singh furm and banner, after latter's death, his grandson Amar Singh succeeded and received the title of Raja-I-Rajjan. He was also allowed to strike coins. After forty years of ceaseless struggle with the Mughals, Afghans and Marathas the borders of the Patiala state witnessed the trailing blaze of Ranjit Singh in the North and the other of the British in the east. Bestowed with the grit and instinct of survival, making right choice at right time the Raja of Patiala entered in a treaty with the British against Ranjit Singh in 1808, thus becoming collaborators in the ground empire building process by the British in the sub-continent of India. The British treated the rulers of Patiala, such as Karam Singh, Narinder Singh, Mahendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Yadvindra Singh with respect and dignity
It was Maharaja Bhupinder Singh (1900-1930) who gave the Patiala State a Prominent place on the Political map of India and in the field of international sports. Most of the buildings with very nice architectural designs were constructed during his reign. His son Yadvindra Singh was among those Indian princesses who readily came forward to sign the Instrument of accession, thus facilitating the process of national integration. In recognition of his services, he was appointed the Rajpramukh of the newly established state of PEPSU

The Qila Mubarak is a fortified palace complex in the heart of Patiala. Now crumbling and mostly disused, the origins of the variegated group of structures go back to the founding of the Patiala state in 1753, being continually added to for the next hundred years. Here we present WALL PAINTINGS IN THE QILA MUBARAK (A rich Sikh Heritage) - courtesy of SIKH ART by Kavita Singh
Qila Mubarak
Rukmani (consort of Lord Krishna) speaks to her brahman emissary. Mid 19th century
Procession of Maharaja Narendra Singh - late 19th century
Devotee prostrating himself before the seventh Sikh Guru, Sri Har Rai Sahib. - mid to late 19th C.
Portrai of Maharaja Karam Singh and Vaishnava icons, painted inside the throne alcove, Masnad Hall, Qila Mubarak - late 19th C.
Quila Mubarak (the fort )founded in 1764 was completed by his grandson Maharaja Amar Singh
It has two portions, Qila Androon , the inner fort , Qila Mubarak the outer. The facade of gate of Qila Androon is decorated with geometrical and floral designs in lime plaster. There are two painted chambers depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and portraits of sikh Gurus in Patiala style . The complex has a unique underground sewerage system . An excellent museum of chandeliers ande famous weapons is located here.
Also worth- seeing are Motibagh palace which houses a museum and which, in addtion to beautifull collections of the arts and the artifacts also houses the word's greatest collection of medals, with Baradari gardens, Gurudwara Dukhiniwaran sahib, Temple Kali Devi, which on account of the rare murals on its walls , has been declared a national monument, Patiala is a centre of education, an emporium of consumer goods and is well-known for its royal cuisine and hospitality .
Contains rare cannons, swords,shields and maces , daggers of Guru Gobind Singh Ji , Sword of Nadar Shah etc. and rich collection of chandeliers from Europe.

The Earstwhile Patiala State named after its founder Ala Singh as Patti of Ala or Ala Singh's land in local language has a relatively brief history of about 230 years but a rich tradition in the fields of education sports and music .

Mohindra college (Below) was founded in 1870 and was the only college between Lahore and Delhi .

In the fields of sports the rulers of Patiala were themselves good sportsmen and patronised good sportsmen.In Polo and Cricket Patiala had recognition at International level.

Gamma the world champion in wrestling and Kesar Singh , Champion of India also belongs to Patiala.

After disintegration of Mughal Darbar in 1857 the musicians took patronage in states like Patiala , Gwalior and thus came up the Patiala Ghrana which still alive in its exponents like Barhe Gulam Ali Khan now settled in Pakistan.
The Rulers of Patiala took keen interest in the development of the State. Thus we today have :

The Mohindera College,

Rajindera Hospital.

The Netaji Subash Institute of Sports,

Gymkhana Cricket Stadium,

Hockey, Football Stadium, Polo Ground ,

A Score of Swimming Pools ,

Most of Professional Colleges and a University.

Sheesh Mahal in old Moti Bagh is designed on the pattern of Shalimar Garden of Lahore with terraces,fountains,channels and flower beds. It was built by Maharaja Narendera Singh in 1847 A.D. at a cost of 5 lacs. The Sheesh Mahal Museum at Patiala has great importance in the field of painting, sculptures, medals and decorative art objects.
Maharaja Narendra singh was a patron of literature, music and fine arts.There were many poets , scholars and historians in his court.He employed many artists, who hailed from kangra and Rajasthan and expressed their talents on the walls of by depicting vision on the poetiry if Keshav das, Surdas and Behari lal in line and colour. Mythology,legends,raga-ragini, Nayak nayika and bara-masa themes are also depicted on its walls.A special room known as sheesh mahal was got constucted by maharaj displaying the skills of artists in the convex and coloured mirrors.Some designs remind of the floral designs of jahangir's period.

The Sheesh Mahal

A very fine set of miniature paintings based on the themes of "Geet Govinda" in kangra style,based on jai deva's poetry, is greatly commended by lovers of art.the kangra paintings also displayed here,represent the best production of art dealing with krishna-lila.the marvelous pieces of art reflect the highest professional skill and delicate taste of the artists.who executed these works.These paintings stand out as a great legacies of the middle of 19th century (1845 A.D).This art of paintings was patronised by RAJA NIHAL SINGH OF KAPURTHALA.
In addition to the miniature paintings of Kangra,there are also on view Rajasthani paintings of Jaipur school which flourished side by side with mughal paintings.the chief centre were at Jaipur,Bikaner,Bundi,Mewar and Kishangarh.The paintings displayed here are related to Raga-Mala which also give visual meaning to the paintings.

The ivory work which started from the earliest times and continued upto the begining of the twentieth century now have become very rare.Lahore, amritsar and Patiala were famous ivory carving centres in Punjab.There are very fine specimens of ivory work displayed in the galleres, which include chessmen, horse rider ,beautifully carved tusks and a fine perforated ivory piece with carved deities inside.

visit Patiala online


Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib is located in Patiala City, less than a kilometer from the Patiala railway station. The Gurdwara's construction was started in the year 1930 and was completed twelve years later in the year 1942. It is said that Guru Teg Bahadur ji, the ninth Guru visited this place at the request of the villagers of Lehal-now a part of the Patiala city-during his stay at Saifabad, now Bahadurgarh. A small shrine commemorating the Guru's visit existed here but when the proposal to construct the present Gurdwara was mooted in the year 1930, what remained at the spot was an old banyan tree and a well. A large sarovar also forms a part of the Gurdwara complex where the devotees invariably bathe whenever they visit the Gurdwara.


Gurdwara Moti Bagh is associated with the visit of Guru Gobind Singh ji to help Bahadur Shah Zafar succeed Aurangzeb when the latter suddenly died in the south as a desperate, disillusioned and frustrated man. Guru Gobind Singh ji along with an wonderful band of warriors had camped in a garden owned by an ardent follower of the Guru, Moti Ram. Hence this splendid Gurdwara is known as Gurdwara Moti Bagh.

6kms. from Patiala town on Patiala-chandigarh road, it was originally built by Nawab saif khan in 1658 A.D. and rebuilt in 1837A.D. by Maharaja Karam Singh.The constuction was completed in eight years and rupees ten lakhs were spent on it.The circumference of the fort is around 2 km.Maharaj Karam Singh gave the fort its present name to sacred memory of Guru Teg Bahadur who visited this place while on his way to Delhi durin the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.

There is a Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib, inside the fort. There is also a mosque built by Saif Khan in about 1668.The tomb of Saif Khan is about three hundered yards from the fort.A fair known as mela roza Sharit Nawab Saif Ali is held here during the months of June and January every year.
There is also a historical Gurudwara known as Sri Gurudwara Sahib Patshai Nauvin built in the sacred memory of Guru Teg Bahdur who stayed here for three months and nine days before going to Delhi for martyrdom.Saif Ali Khan used to meet guru at this place.This gurudwara is being managed by Shiromini Prabhandak Committee.A large number of people visit this gurudwara on the occasion of Baisakhi every year.
Apart from the rich historical background,Bahdurgarh is now making rapid progress in the field of industry also. Industrial units like Escorts,Milk-food, etc. provide ample employment opportunities to the people residing in the surrounding areas.
The fort which commemorates the visit of Guru Teg Bahadur is surrounded by two circular ramparts, 110feet apart with a moat, 58 feet wide. For more information on Patiala - visit.

photo courtesy The Lafayette studio-Russel Harris
H.H.Fazand-i-Khas-Daulat-i-Inglishia Mansur-i-Zaman, Amir-ulUmara, Maharaja-Adhiraj Rajeshwar Sri Maharaja-i-Rajagan Sir Bhupendra Singh Mahindar Bahadur, Maharaja of Patiala (1891-1938)
The Maharaja with members of his family - photo taken on 24th Jan.1931 (photo courtesy The Lafayette studio-Russel Harris)
Maharaja Narinder Singh
Maharaja Narinder Singh
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh
A group of elders discussing village problems in Patiala
Maharaja Karam Singh
Maharaja Yadavendra Singh marches to his coronation, under a golden umbrella with a diamond necklace assessed by Lloyd's at half a million pounds around his neck.

Pesh Kabaz of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and a sword given to him by Yar Mohammed of Surat. These arms are in the Qila Mubarak.(photo kanwal)

Harjinder kanwal at the statue of Maharaja Bhupendra Singh in the grounds of Sheesh Mahal
The Darbar Hall in Patiala was festooned with crystal furniture, with more crystal furniture and glass stored away in packing cases which even in the 1940s were still unopened. This all dated back to the time of Bhupinder Singh's great-grandfather and had been bought more or less by accident when the Maharaja entered a well-known Calcutta store owned by a European named Lazarus; 'The Maharaja had with him another Sikh, simply dressed like himself, and they had wandered around the shop examining things and asking Lazarus the price of various items. Lazarus thought they were ignorant peasants wasting his time and he spoke sharply to them. This angered the Maharaja, who asked him how much he wanted for the entire contents of the shop; Lazarus, even more irate at what he considered an idiotic enquiry, quoted some relatively low figure - whereupon the Maharaja turned to his aide and instructed him to pay the man in cash on the spot.'
There was still considerable evidence of bulk purchasing when Hede Dayal came to Patiala in 1945: 'Once when I was in the music room I found stacks of scores and when I asked Max Geiger, the Viennese conductor of the Patiala orchestra, why this was so, he said, "Well, the old man went to Vienna and I gave him a list of the music I wanted. But they lost the list so he just went to the shop and told them to pack up the whole shop and send it to Patiala".' 'The Patiala toshakhana itself was filled with knick-knacks bought up during various European shopping sprees - tin trunks with layer upon layer of pearls with diamonds, pearls with rubies, pearls with emeralds, jewels for nuths (nose-rings), jewels for the feet, jewels for the belly-button and for God-knows-what. There was so much of it that I found myself incapable of taking in their beauty. It was like costume or stage jewellery.' (courtesy Princes of India)
Maharaja Patiala on elephant
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh playing host to the young Prince of Wales, after a morning's pig-sticking in Patiala, 1922
A portrait of a guard of the Sikh Raja of Patiala. To his left are two dwarves who were retained as part of the Raja's estate as objects of curiosity.