Volume 68 Number 3, March 2017
Punjab: Building the Land of the Five Rivers
|Specifications:||148 pages, 154 illustrations|
|Dimensions:||305 x 241 mm|
Through the centuries Punjab has been a historic rite of passage for invaders seeking control of the throne of Hindustan. In Mughal times, Punjab remained the vital highway linking the capitals of Agra and Delhi to Kashmir, Kabul and lands to the north. This region has also been traversed by people of different religions with Sufi saints and Sikh gurus profoundly influencing its cultural heritage. As the Mughal empire declined, the centre of power shifted and a new Sikh kingdom was founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore. The 19th century saw a parallel line of control by the British in the Cis-Sutlej states and in princely domains, where dynasties had already been established by local chieftains.
With its architecture enriched by the ideas and influences that each new wave brought, Punjab’s built inheritance encompasses a vast spectrum. This book examines these sites and the religious and cultural traditions that shaped them. Focusing both on small towns and major cities such as Lahore and Amritsar, it commemorates the 70th year of Independence and Partition.
Abha Narain Lambah is a conservation architect whose practice covers a range of projects from medieval monuments to colonial buildings. She has edited/co-edited a range of books on architecture.
Abha Narain Lambah
The Mughal and Sur Monuments of Punjab
Catherine B. Asher
Sikh Architecture: Identity and Symbolism
Gurmeet S. Rai and Manpreet Kaur
Mapping the Sufi Shrines of Punjab
Fauzia Qureshi and Subhash Parihar
Forts of Punjab
Princely States of the Cis-Sutlej: Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Malerkotla, Faridkot
Abha Narain Lambah
The Architectural Legacy of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
Jyoti Pandey Sharma
Amritsar: Past Perfect, Future Imperfect
The Cultural Legacy of Lahore
Nayyar Ali Dada
The Princely Cuisine of Punjab: Food from the Royal Kitchens
The introductory essay traces the history of Punjab, the land of the Five Rivers, through its chequered geo politics. The entry point to Hindustan for invading armies, these fertile lands have been continuously ravaged, and yet its robust people continued to retain a unique identity through the assimilation of many cultures. The chapter examines the Hindu-Sufi-Sikh cultural moorings that find a representation through the architecture of the region.
This essay examines the important Sur and Mughal monuments of Punjab that had direct control over the Sur and Mughal empires’ military, political and economic matters. Among those to be considered are Sher Shah’s massive fort at Rohtas (Pakistan) the construction of which was executed in only a few years and his grandfather’s tomb in Narnaul that played a role in elevating this ruler’s lowly image. Mughal works include the Lahore Fort built under Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and even the Sikh rajas and Aurangzeb’s enormous Badshahi Mosque (Pakistan). Female patronage too is discussed, for example, NurJahan’s sarai on Punjab’s major trade routes, thus enabling her to control taxes and Jahangir’s mother’s Lahore mosque. In addition to imperial patronage the contributions of lesser nobles and holy men are included as they provided gardens, charitable institutions and public works necessary for well-run states.
The essay looks at the architecture of Sikhism and examines the evolution of Sikh identity through its architectural expression. In particular, it traces the architectural evolution of gurdwaras –doorways that lead to the master.
This chapter traces the influence of Sufism on the region’s art, architecture and culture. It explores the history and architecture of Sufi dargahs and shrines across Punjab, on both sides of the border – Fauzia Qureshi examines the roots and spread of Sufism in Pakistan’s West Punjab while Subhash Parihar looks at the Sufi shrines in Indian East Punjab that draw people from all faiths, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh.
Punjab was the first point of call for invading armies and rulers wanting to establish control over Hindustan. The flat, alluvial plains of the region were dotted with forts and defensive posts against invading armies. From rudimentary fortifications with mud walls, to ambitious monumental constructions in brick, these forts present an intriguing insight into the political landscape of Punjab and its politics of power. This chapter provides a survey of Punjab’s forts.
The political vacuum created in Punjab after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was partially filled by Sikh chieftains of among the twelve misls of the Sikh confederacy. Each of these dynasties contributed to the architectural development of Punjab in the 19th and early 20th centuries, commissioning forts, palaces and public architecture and the essay explores these influences. Sikh rulers were patrons of art, with painting adorning interiors of forts and palaces, samadhis and gurdwaras that bear a strong stylistic influence combining Mughal, Rajput and Kangra painting traditions. Sheesh Mahals and wall paintings can be seen in a range of structures, which include Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s interventions in the Lahore Fort, interiors of Nabha Fort, Qila Mubarak and Sheesh Mahal Palace Patiala as well as temples in Nabha. There is also the recurring use of Vaishnavite imagery, where scenes from tales of Radha and Krishna and Lord Rama are juxtaposed with images of the Sikh Gurus.
Maharaja Jagatjit Singh was a Sikh ruler of Kapurthala state in British colonial Punjab. While the rest of the princely states followed Sikh and later British architectural models, Jagatjit Singh, a Francophile, looked to France and Morocco for his architectural inspiration. The Maharaja commissioned building projects for public welfare notably in the state capital, Kapurthala, besides also indulging his personal architectural whims. Buildings for governance, education, industry, leisure and religion marked the former, while a palace and retreat were built for private use. Kapurthala’s built heritage survives to this day as a silent testimony to its patron’s feisty spirit and calls for engagement by both the scholar and the public as a cultural resource driving sustainable development.
This chapter explores in depth the evolution of Amritsar, from a quiet mercantile and religious town to a prosperous modern city wherein the built heritage is the silent sufferer.
The chapter is an ode to Lahore, its art, architecture and culture. As the cultural capital of pre-Partition Punjab, Lahore was the premier city of the region. This essay examines the myriad cultural and architectural layers of Lahore from Pre-Mughal and Mughal to Sufi, Sikh and British influences.
The essay focuses on the royal kitchens of Kapurthala, Faridkot, Patiala and the hill states of Jubbal, Kangra and Chamba. While focusing on the princely spaces of kitchens and dining halls, the essay also rediscovers the gastronomic legacy of royal Punjabi cuisine.