The merger of PEPSU in Punjab in 1956 and its close proximity to Chandigarh have not robbed Patiala of any of its importance although many had feared the decline of this erstwhile princely capital on account of these factors. The location of a number of offices of the Punjab Government and the establishment of the Punjabi University at Patiala have rather added to its importance.
The old and the new worlds go hand in hand in Patiala. Its massive forts, its magnificent palaces and its narrow and crooked lanes preserve all the charm of the old world while its modern buildings and institutions, gardens and wide concrete roads make it look a pre-eminently young city equipped with all the amenities of present day life.
Maharaja Amar Singh completed Qila Mubarak (the fort) founded in 1764. 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 tom Hindu mythology and portraits of Sikh Gurus in Patiala style. The complex has a unique under-ground sewerage system. An excellent museum of Chandeliers and famous weapons is located here.
Also worth seeing are the Motibagh Palace which houses a Museum and which, in addition to beautiful collections of the arts and the artifacts also houses the world’s greatest collection of medals. Baradari Gardens, Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, Temple Kali Devi, which on account of the rare murals on its walls, has been declared a national monument. Patiala is a center of education, an emporium of consumer goods and is well known for its royal cuisine and hospitality.
National Institute Of Sports:
The Moti Bagh Palace, residence of the erstwhile rulers of Patiala now belongs to the nation and houses the National Institute of Sports.
The Archives of the Punjab Government located in the Baradari Complex here have the richest collection of manuscripts pertaining to the history of earstwhile princely states of Punjab.
Mughal Serai, Shambhu:
This Sarai, is 11 kms. from Rajpura on Rajpura- Ambala G.T. Road. Mail, Military Post and an Inn, originality, the Serai has two majestic gates with a mosque in the Center and cells on all sides, a ‘bowli’ (paved well) and a ‘baradari’ a (building having 12gates). It is a protected monument.
6 kms. 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 fort, which commemorates the visit of Guru Teg Bahadur, is surrounded by two circular ramparts,110feet apart with a moat, 58 feet wide.
On Chandigarh-Patiala highway. It is the largest zoo, which simulates natural habitat of the animals and birds in the northern India. A deer and lion safari are attractions of the zoo.
Ghuram, a village in Patiala District, reputed to be the home town of Mata Kaushalya is replete with ruins. At Sheikh Bhikhan’s shrine which commemorates his meeting with Guru Gobind Singh Ji, an annual fair is held in June/July.
Nearby stands an old fort to the south of, which is a garden surrounded by a pucca wall, adjacent to which is a large tank.
Old Palace of Nabha is, now, converted into a Government College. The royal Guest House and High Court Complex have become parts of a Public School. Hira Mahal, the residence of the ruling family, now, houses antique cars, the walls of its main hall have enchant murals. Horlicks, the great English manufacturing house has a big set-up here which produces Horlicks and Ghee (clarified butter) which are renowned.