Batala is a municipal council in Gurdaspur district in the state of Punjab, India. It is located about 30 km from Gurdaspur, the headquarters of the district. It is also a Police Tehsil. One of the older towns in the province of Lahore in the earlier times, Batala is home to many monuments of religious and historic importance. These monuments are connected with Sikh history and the Mughal period. The city consists of several churches constructed during the British Raj.
The city was founded in 1465 Ce by Raja Ram Deo, a Bhati Rajput, during the region of Bahlul Lodi on a piece of land given by Takar Khan who was the Governor of Lahore later, during the Mughal rule, Akbar gave it in jagir to his foster-brother, Shamsherkhan. The city grew & developed under him. The whole city was lying within a fort. It has 12 gates as entrance & exit . These gates are still known by their old name e.g. Shera wala gate, khajuri gate, Bhandari gate, Ohri gate, Thathiari gate, Hathi gate, Pahari gate, etc. Some of them still survive and are pleading for their condition. During the Political integration of India, Batala was included in the Punjab state. Other historic place in Batala are Gurdwaras where Guru Nanak stayed during his life time. There are also numerous other gurdwaras of significance to Sikh and therefore attracts thousands of Sikhs from around the glob.
GURUDWARA KANDH SAHIB
Batala is an important place for Sikh devotees. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion was married here to smt (bibi) Sulakhni, the daughter of Mul chand Chauhan in 1485. It is said Guru Nanak dev ji refused to marry according to relevant rights. As he was a reformer , he suggested a simpler wedding ceremony .The Brahmins resisted and Mul Chand Chuana ,would be father in law of Guru Nanak dev ji refused to marry his daughter to any other rites .He even threatened the party to go back .A discussion took place and Guru Nanak dev ji was given a seat near a mud wall which was about to fall.The idea was to bury him under the wall by giving a little push. However,an old lady informed him.He proclaimed this wall will not fall for centuries and this wall is still there and shielded in glass.Gurudwara Kandh Sahib is the pious place associated with Guru Nanak Dev ji s marriage .Here Guru Nanak Dev ji came as bridegroom from Sultanpur Lodhi in 1487 AD. Many temples and Gurdwaras related to the Guru’s marriage attract devotees from near and far. Every year celebrations are conducted on the anniversary of Guru Nanak’s marriage.
Batala was once called as Iron bird of Asia as it produced highest amount of C.I.Casting, Agricultural and mechanical machinery. Batala is still one of the leading cities in northern India in manufacturing of C.I Casting and agricultural and mechanical machinery. It’s an agricultural marketplace and industrial centre. Cotton ginning, weaving, sugar refining, rice milling, and manufacturing are some of other business taking place here.
JAL MAHAL AND BARING COLLEGE
The Jal Mahal and the palace of Maharaja Sher Singh were built by the Maharaja (CE 1780-1839). The palace is under the control of the authorities of the local Baring Union Christian College. The administrative offices of the college are housed in it. It is well maintained by the local government and is converted into a big park for providing beautiful natural scenes to the small town ,Batala .This place really adds to the beauty of Batala.
It is a church related college .The church of north India , the Methodist church in India ,the Presbyterian church of Canada ,the United Methodist church in USA are its co-operating bodies.
Maharaja Sher Singh used to hold meetings of his courtiers in Jal Mahal. The water reservoir was built by Shamsher Khan while the beautiful Baradari in the centre of the tank was constructed by Maharaja Sher Singh. It has a square room in the centre of a pavilion with a passage. The entry to the first floor is by a staircase with concave-shaped steps on the north-eastern canal. Jal Mahal has eight doors in the lower part of the building and four in the upper storey. The inner wall contained beautiful art glass carvings and wall paintings. However, major parts of the paintings have been erased or damaged. The roof of the pavilion has also fallen. The Municipal Council had provided a tubewell to fill up the tank till the eighties. All sides of the reservoir were lined with Nanakshahi bricks. However, with the passage of time the brick lining has been destroyed. Nowadays, on one side of the tank is located a vridh ashram owned and managed by the Dainik Prarthana Sabha. There also exists Bhadr Kali Mandir and Shivala. The upper portion of Jal Mahal is in a dilapidated condition and the time is not far when this magnificent structure will pass into oblivion
Locally known as Hazira, structure is near Baring College and was built by Shamsher Khan. The tomb stands on a raised platform surrounded by a low wall having bastions in the corners. The tomb is an octagonal structure crowned with a low dome. The spandrel of the arches have painted arabesque and geometrical designs. Hazira is now a recreational park and tourist attraction. It is well maintained by the local government and is converted into a big park for providing beautiful natural scenes to the small town ,Batala .This place really adds to the beauty of Batala.
The interior wall as well as the exterior of the tomb is richly adorned with paintings depicting floral, geometrical and calligraphic designs. The decoration is intact on the interior but on the exterior only its traces survive. Recently, the ASI had undertaken repairs. Preservation work has been done on its interior as well as exterior walls. The surroundings of this monuments, too, have been beautified.