Through pictures and narration, an attempt has been made to provide a glimpse of the endangered heritage of Panjab and create the needed awareness for conservation.
Panjab, literally land of five rivers, has been the cradle of the world’s oldest civilization dating back to BC 2500. It was on this land that the oldest scripture of the world, the Rigveda, was written and some of the best centres of learning developed. It was also in Panjab that some of the epic battles, including that of Mahabharata, were fought.
Because of its geographical location, Panjab has been the gateway to all invaders entering through the North-West Frontier. It was because of the frequent invasions and conflict over possession of territories that some sort of regular armies came into existence, which necessitated building of forts for protection of the kings and their armies in times of crisis.
Establishment of rule by different chieftains, kings and emperors also resulted in building of palaces for the royal families and havelis for their chiefs and the ruling elite.
While most of the impregnable forts were built on the North-West Frontier in west Panjab, which now forms part of Pakistan, we find many forts, majestic palaces and havelis in eastern Punjab too, including areas which now form part of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Unfortunately, many of these once-great edifices have fallen into disrepair. Through pictures and narration, an attempt has been made to provide a glimpse of the endangered heritage of Panjab and create the needed awareness for conservation.
In the Panjab Heritage series, Forts, Palaces and Havelis of Panjab is illustrated with colour photographs throughout.
Mohinder Singh Photographs by Sondeep Shankar
UBSPD and National Institute of Panjab Studies