Introduction

The city of Patiala awaits you with its quiet splendors. Its royal mystique, its grandeur, a whole host of magnificent buildings, gardens and parks and above all an ambience all of its own invites you quietly but surely. Being the south-eastern district of Punjab and being also one of the youngest cities of the state, Patiala still holds its own when it comes to retaining the old-world charm and the many-faced delights of its rich heritage. Patiala has something for everyone.

To the lover of history and things historical, it offers a glorious chapter in the history of 18th and 19th century Punjab, in particular the history of the Malwa region of Punjab. In addition to this, it offers fascinating glimpses of the city’s transition from the pre-independence royal past into the post-independence 21st century present.

For the aficionados of architecture, the city is a veritable feast. Beginning with the majestic Qila Mubarak and the charming Sheesh Mahal Art Gallery on to the luxuriant grandeur of the Moti Bagh Palace and the colonial Rajindra Palace/Kothi nestling in the verdant luxuries of the Baradari Gardens and ending in the old glories in the battlements of the Qila Bahadurgarh on the outskirts of the city, Patiala becomes an architectural banquet like no other, replete in dishes and desserts of all tastes and kinds. In fact, Patiala is ready to be relished, savored and later on cherished by all kinds of architectural taste-buds. The above-mentioned monuments, museums and art-galleries along with a host of smaller discoveries and pleasures will more than fill the refined palates of the lovers of art and heritage.

For a not-too choosy tourist, as most of us are, Patiala proudly offers a tantalizing medley-meal—a sort of buffet— where one can just have one’s pick. One can have a brief walk in the forts and corridors of history, get a little awed at the amazing craftsmanship and the numerous objects d’art displayed in the museums and art galleries, breathe in the city’s clean unpolluted air, shop around for a whole array of artifacts in the heart of the old town, have a small picnic in the Baradari Gardens and sample the laid-back life of unhurried rhythms at least for a few days.

For the pure unadulterated shopping-addicts, the city of Patiala is full of temptations of all hues and shapes. One could go for the Punjabi suits with the excellently embroidered phulkaris or baghs as stoles. One could choose to indulge in the multi-colored silken gorgeous-looking parandis or the tasseled tags for braiding hair or go for the nativised footwear referred to as the desi jutti. Above all, one could always splurge on a whole range of Punjabi suits (comprising long top and loose pants) spread over a wide range of colors, embroidered patterns and prices.

For the upcoming as-yet small tribe of tourists who would like to visit places which are not thronged by the ever-burgeoning rush of tourists, places that are quiet and secluded and can be counted as being more personalized on one’s indigenous must-see map, the city of Patiala happens to be the perfect recipe ready to be tried and tasted. Its quiet but rich heritage-laden milieu is made to be absorbed, its relaxed pace is remarkably bracing, its wonders are ready to be discovered, its distinct culture and history are to be comprehended and appreciated and most of all its Patiala ambience is to be lived in and lapped up. For a tourist who would shudder to be a part of the mass touristy rush, the magic of Patiala will unfold and help him/her unwind, get invigorated and bring strength back into the frayed nerves, once again, to face the hurry and scurry of the world.

Respond to the call of Patiala and for years you would look back with nostalgia and yearning for days well-spent, for splendors matchless, for history re-learnt and enriched, for buys well-chosen and above all for times pleasured and relished.