Named after its founder Nawab Kapur Singh, this capital town of an erstwhile princely state is situated towards the west of Jalandhar City at a distance of 19 kms. It is now the headquarters of the district in Punjab with the same territory.
Almost two centuries ago, the notorious Ahmed Shah descended upon India for the fifth time in his rapacious career. This incursion resulted in the ousting of the Mahrattas from the Punjab and permanently ruined their chance of ruling northern India. But for the Sikh community, native to this region, it was a blessing in disguise, as it enabled them to re-establish and strengthen their position after about a generation of historical oblivion, which had resulted from a decade of atrocities culminating in the cruel death of Banda Bairagi.
The Ghallughara of 1762 was a tribulation yet to come with Ahmed Shah’s Sikh invasion. But after he returned to Kabul and the Sikhs slew Zain Khan in December 1763, Sikh independence became an established fact. Ahmed Shah’s subsequent raids of 1764 and 1767 achieved nothing against the Sikhs.
The most conspicuous person among the confederate leaders, certainly the most resplendent figure in Sikh history after the ten Gurus, barring the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. The story of Kapurthala is inextricably inter-woven with the life and struggles of Jassa Singh.
It was he who evicted Ibrahim Khan, a usurper after the death of Mughal Governor Adina Beg, from Kapurthala. Jassa Singh selected Kapurthala as his capital, although it was only after his death that the town became the fixed capital and place of residence of the Ahluwalia chiefs.
The story of Kapurthala extends back to more than 900 years ago, Mahmood Ghaznavi’s time. It is said that a certain Rana Kapur, of the royal Rajpur House of Jaisalmer, a legendary ancestor of the Ahluwalia family, founded the town in that remote age. But it remains the fact that during 700 years of Muslim rule, it was not a prominent place. The limelight of history fell upon it only with the advent of Jassa Singh.
The most striking building in the town is a fine Hindu temple called the ‘ Panch Mandir’ built during the reign of, Sardar Fateh Singh. Several smaller temples dedicated to different deities surround the principal dome in the center. A replica of this only temple of its kind was exhibited in the pre-partition Punjab Museum at Lahore.
Famous French architect M. Manteaux designed unique Moorish Mosque , patterned after the Qutbya Mosque in Morocco. It as a large compound paved with the purest Indian marble. The artists of the school of Art, Lahore, have decorated the inner dome.
The Shalimar Garden is a lovely small garden with a swimming pool and a library having ‘Samadhis’ (with excellent filigree work) of the former Rulers Kapurthala state.
The Jagatjit Palace now housing the Sainik School is a remarkable building.Worthy of note also in the building of the Randhir College, which institution is now over a 100 years old.
Reverting to the town itself, where Red Marble State Gurudwara is an imposing building, as also are the War Memorial, the Irwin Jubilee Memorial Hospital, the Circuit House and the Clock Tower.
A few miles from Kapurthala is the rivulet of Bein, which is surrounded by natural scenery. Villa Buona Vista, built on the banks of the ‘Bein’ is the residence of the Ex-Maharaja of Kapurthala. Nearby is the Kanjili Lake, a beautiful home of migratory birds in the winter. The place has all the infrastructure for a memorable fishing and boating holiday for the tourists.
Sultanpur Lodhi :
Gurudwara Ber sahib here, situated amid a constellation of other Gurudwaras is connected with Guru Nanak Devji who spent the early years of his life in and around Sultanpur Lodhi. Other historical buildings here include Mazaar Shah, Hujra Hajira and a Serai , which is the oldest building in Sultanpur.
Phagwara was founded by Shah Jahan in 1804 AD. One of the main markets for agriculture produce, known for textile products, has many Ramgarhia educational institutions. Because of a large number of Punjabis who have gone abroad from the area, Phagwara has become a great trading center and market for cloth and ethnic clothes.