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FARIDKOT THE CITY OF FATHER OF PUNJABI LITERATURE

Where true Punjabi spirit of unity is evident

Faridkot the fort founded by Baba Farid

Please clcik here and read the Tribune article first. My following comments are hardly of any literary or historical value

Read Faridkot history from Inderjit singh Sekhon's Punjabi book

Read about Kotkapura's historic gurdwara:  Jagbani May 26, 2009

May 21 and 22, 2009, I visited the historic town of Faridkot. Reaching early morning at 0730 I started looking for some institution where I could address the students and sell my book 'Sathon Vichhorhe Asthan'. Right at the entry I came across a big school (Dasmesh public school) but a  teacher guided me that this school might not allow me.  He guided me that I could go to another school which was on the name of Bhai Pheru Sangtia a historic personality. This school gave me a good response and my petrol expenses were compensated. I went on to address students of Balbir Govt school. There after I went to the nearby Baba Farid school which has a population or more than 3000 students. I was really impressed at the very entrance of school and a beautiful statue of Baba Farid as an infant in the lap of his mother would enthral the visitor.

I was ushered to the room of the Director of school, S. Inderjit Singh Sekhon. I learnt he retired as a leading advocate of Punjab and was presently running a law college also  besides managing two historic gurdwaras. I gathered this man was some how associated with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale and was also jailed for some time. Meeting Mr. Sekhon in fact changed my outlook.  Usually  I would run away from such personalities as my impression is that Sant's faithful men have died and those who were surviving were mostly working for the anti-Sikh organisations like the RSS or some secret agencies. Normally they attack Sikh tenets, age old practices  and would endeavour to create cleavage among the Sikh community.  But the personality of Mr. Sekhon emits an odour of dedication and honesty to cause. He also allowed me to address his magnificent school on the following morning. He was kind enough to allot a guest house room of the Godrhi sahib Gurdwara  for me to stay a night. Mr. Sekhon according to my opinion is a model, organisers should get inspiration from.

I found Godhrhi sahib as the best managed Gurdwara where one of the hall was air conditioned. There was 24 hour arrangement of Langar the free food. Though langar is no doubt a preference for poor persons like me the other thing, I expected from a Gurdwara was 'Guru's Word' and this was missing as and when I visited the Gurdwara  i.e  1500 to 1800 hours and at 0700 hours. I thus have a grudge, why the gurdwaras are paying more stress on langer and why not the 'shabad langar' when our Sikhs are getting fat. These people don't know that only food and material education can't build a strong personality the 'charhdi kala man'. The other thing present sikh enthusiasts are doing is construction of gurdwara buildings.

Thus in the morning of May 22, I had the honour to address the students and teachers of Baba Farid School. I was really impressed by the sense of discipline exhibited by the students. Inderjit Singh Sekhon really deserved to be congratulated for raising such a good school.

But Mr. Sekhon didn't allow me to approach the students to sell my Sikh book as he felt it would be cheapness on my part. However Mr. Sekhon bought 100 copies for Rs.500. I cultivate a guilt for acceptance of Sekhon's gesture because the books he bought will remain dumped in the school library.

I visited the district courts to sell my book among lawyers. This place interested me further because I came across two historical monuments namely the gate and the other building where court is housed. I regret I could not get much information about these structures.

I then proceeded to the historic fort which by that time locked and I had to satisfy my self by taking photos from outer side only. As evident from the outerside this is perhaps the best preserved of the old forts I have seen.  It was a  day of  scorching heat and I thus abandoned any more travel in Faridkot and returned to my nest in Amritsar.

I there hereby depend on the beautiful article written by Raj Kumar Aggarwal in the Tribune.  I also reproduce some pages from S. Inderjit Singh Sekhon's book.

B.S.Goraya
Amritsar

This painting makes the entire story of Faridkot easy to understand.

It so happened that Baba Farid was camping at this place on his way from Delhi to Pakpattan that he was caught by the men of the king and forced to do labour in the construction of the fort. Kings officials regretted when they found miracle happening with Baba Farid. The saw the earth load Baba was carrying would fly over the head of Baba. Thus putting no load on Baba's head. The king then fell at the feet of Baba.

 

Godrhi sahib

Before the Baba was caught by king's official he was camping at this place and had gone to city in search of food leaving behind his GODRHI the quilt. On his return after freedom from king's forced labour he found that cow boys were playing with his godrhi. Here we find a beri tree. A huge gurdwara has been built here.

TILLA SAHIB

Here lay preserved a wooden log bearning the hand mark of Baba Farid. All punjabis irrespective of caste, creed and religion throng here. A TRULY PUNJABI PLACE.

SOME GLIMPSES FROM TILLA SAHIB

The historic Vann tree. It may be noted that vann has become almost extinct in punjab

Because the devotee has been too much touching the another Vann tree which has since dried up.

Some sign boards at Tilla sahib

Gurdwara Godrhi sahib. This is 20 feet away from Godhri place.

SOME ASPECTS OF THE HISTORIC FARIDKOT FORT

The following 8 images have been ripped from a movie

THE SHEESH MAHAL

MAGNIFICENCE OF INSIDE OF SHEESH MAHAL

A PAINTING OF GURU NANAK JI WITH BALA AND MARDANA

 

The following three pages are from Inderjit Singh Sekhon's book Baba Farid ji Shakarganj and Faridkot

 

S.Inderjit Singh Sekhon

A magnificent image of Baba Farid as infant and his mother Mariam

A gate near DC office

Historic building now housing district courts

Na ko bairi nahin baigana

Bhai Ghanaiya healing the injured enemies.

clock tower

 

 

Faridkot Fort stands defenceless
Raj Kumar Aggarwal

The Tribune newspaper
 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2002/20021012/windows/sites.htm



THE fort and town of Faridkot, about 40 km south of the Indo-Pak border, was founded about 800 years ago by Raja Mokulsi, who named it Mokulhar. Some years later, when the great Sufi saint Sheikh Baba Farid visited it, its name was changed to Faridkot.

For many years Faridkot was constantly subjected to raids by rival chieftains. Maharaja Ranjit Singh also regarded this fort as a place of strategic importance and surrendered it unwillingly to the British in 1809. Only after 1837 did the town begin to expand and was made the capital of the newly constituted state of Faridkot by the British. The merger of Faridkot with Pepsu in 1948 dealt a severe blow to the importance of the city. From the capital of an independent state it was reduced to the position of administrative headquarters of a subordinate unit.

However, it regained its past glory at the hands of former President of India, the Late Giani Zail Singh, who was the then Chief Minister of Punjab. He carved Faridkot as the 12th district of the state on August 7, 1972. The status of the fourth revenue division of Punjab was also given to this town by Harcharan Singh Brar, the then Chief Minister of the state, on January 26, 1996.



No doubt a number of educational and medical institutions like Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Dasmesh Dental College and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences have been set up at Faridkot, but, unfortunately, no sincere efforts have been made to maintain and preserve its ancient buildings, including Qila Mubarak.

According to the compiler of the Gazetter of Faridkot State (Lahore, 1914), the old fort was built by Raja Mokulsi on square-shaped land, measuring more than 10 acres. Around 1775, it was reconstructed by Raja Hamir Singh. The main building seen at present and other important structures were built around 1890 by Raja Bikram Singh (1842-1898) and by Raja Balbir Singh (1869-1906). Raja Bikram Singh, who ruled for 24 years, contributed a lot to Faridkot state. Raja Balbir Singh died in 1906 and was succeeded by Raja Barjinder Singh, who ruled up to 1918. The next and the last ruler of Faridkot state, Raja Sir Harinder Singh Brar Bans Bahadur, ascended the rajgaddi in 1918 after the death of Raja Barjinder Singh. On assuming power, he established many educational institutions and other important buildings in the town.

The beauty of this fort lies in its magnificent architecture. Elegantly designed in European style and constructed by skilled masons, it is a masterpiece of workmanship. Its floors, ceilings, walls and arched openings have been executed with artistic precision.

Fashioned out of small Nanakshahi bricks and lime mortar, more than 20-foot-high ramparts and large bastions (burjs) constructed for the security guards and to mount the guns are still safe and sound, thanks to the repairs carried out by the Maharawal Khewa Ji Trust, Faridkot. But the main building and other structures of the complex (except Sheesh Mahal and Moti Mahal) need massive repairs and restoration work.

The entrance to the fort is provided through a beautiful multi-storeyed deori. It has a 14-foot-wide and 22-foot-high heavy wooden gate, which was used as a protective shield during war. The splendid artistic pattern on the ceiling of the deori is praiseworthy and attracts visitors. On the first floor of the deori is the beautifully designed Sheesh Mahal or hall of mirrors. The concave and convex glasswork is quite romantic. Some beautiful paintings decorate the walls. The desire of Raja Sir Harinder Singh to have a large museum in Sheesh Mahal is yet to be fulfilled. To make the fort impressive, two big guns placed in the baradari welcome visitors to the fort. The main building and other structures of the fort have been constructed on a ground which is 12 feet above the main road and entrance gate, for safety reasons.

The huge building of Moti Mahal built to the south of the entrance, now houses the offices of the Maharawal Khewa Ji Trust (which looks after the properties of Raja Harinder Singh). Gurdwara Sahib and Modi Khana (military barracks) have been constructed to the north of the entrance. For the protection of the royal family from air attacks, an air-raid shelter was also built in the fort complex.

The 34-foot-wide, 90-foot-long and 22-foot-high Darbar Hall of the main building has been built in such a way that it remains cool even during the hot season. The architectural beauty of the Darbar Hall dazzles one and all. Although the false ceiling stands damaged at many places, the artistic work done on the false ceiling in plaster of Paris and woodwork executed on big arches of the Darbar Hall is unmatched. Carved wood panelling on the Darbar Hall walls and its marble flooring still look graceful. But artistically designed wooden chhajjas built around the main building on the first floor are unsafe. The fort building, except Sheesh Mahal and Moti Mahal which is vacant these days, was earlier used by the District Administration. It did not pay any rent for a long period even after the dissolution of the state.

The Archaeological Survey of India maintains around 3600 ancient buildings all over the country and 30 important historical buildings in Punjab, but it has not given protected status to Qila Mubarak. There are a number of historical buildings in Faridkot like the Civil Secretariat, Darbar Gunj, Clock Tower, Raj Mahal, Shahi Samadhan, Panchvati, Thakur Dwara, Gurudwara Godri Sahib and Tilla Baba Farid. If the town is developed as a tourist place, it could earn revenue.

According to available information, the repair and restoration work of the Darbar Hall is being entrusted to a Delhi-based company. The company has worked for UNESCO and other organisations. It will complete this gigantic task in 15 months and it will cost the trust approximately Rs 50 lakh in the first phase.

Aagman Purb of Baba Farid is celebrated every year from September 15 to 23 by the Faridkot District Cultural Society with great fun and fare. The Government of India has sanctioned national status to this Farid Mela. People from all walks of life participate in it. Devotees also pay obeisance on every Thursday at Tilla Baba Farid. History or civilisation of a town can be studied to a great extent through its temples and forts. The fort should be opened to public on such occasions and information boards carrying the history of the fort and town should be fixed inside and outside the fort for the knowledge of the public.