Patiala Journals

Patiala: Punjab at its Most Vibrant

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A September 2009 trip to Patiala by phileasfogg

Looking towards the Lakshman Jhoola Photo, Patiala, India More Photos
Quote: The city of Patiala is known for its embroidery, its extra-large shots of liquor - and the larger-than-life lives of its erstwhile maharajas. With its palaces and colonial bungalows, Patiala makes for a rewarding weekend getaway from Delhi.

Sheesh Mahal

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Attraction | "Queen Victoria all the Way"

Looking towards the Lakshman Jhoola Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
Not to be confused with the Sheesh Mahal inside the Qila Mubarak, this palace was built outside the city as a pleasure resort of sorts. Like the many other Sheesh Mahals (‘Palace of Glass’ - or mirror) to be seen across northern India, this one too is so named because it is decorated on the inside with a mosaic of mirrorwork. Not that we get to see any of it; with our usual rotten luck, we end up at yet another tourist attraction that’s currently closed for renovation.The road to Sheesh Mahal winds past Fawwaara Chowk and the well-preserved colonial edifice of the Mohinder College, through a deliciously verdant area where the roadside fences are all draped with sprays of sugar-pink flowers. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 7, 2009

Qila Mubarak

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Attraction | "An Impressive Fort but Badly Kept"

Inside the Qila Mubarak Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
From whatever little tourist information we’ve been able to unearth about Patiala, it seems that the Qila Mubarak (literally, the ‘auspicious fort’, a name applied liberally to many medieval fortresses in India, including Delhi’s Red Fort) is one of the big attractions. According to the official Patiala Web site, the foundations of the fort were laid by Baba Ala Singh, who also founded the dynasty that ruled Patiala till the state became part of India in 1947. Baba Ala Singh began the construction of the Qila Mubarak in 1763, and his successors added to it as time went by.We ask passersby for directions to the Qila Mubarak, and are told that we’l...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 7, 2009

The Aviary and Rock Garden

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Attraction | "Avian Elvis Impersonators in a Concrete Jungle"

At the Aviary and Rock Garden Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
Although it’s officially part of the Baradari Gardens, the Aviary and Rock Garden is actually separated from the rest of the gardens by a narrow road—and it’s much newer than the rest of the gardens. Whereas the Baradari Gardens date back at least to the 19th century, the Aviary and the Rock Garden are much, much more recent: they were inaugurated in 2006 by Amarinder Singh, a prominent politician as well as a descendant of the Maharajas of Patiala.None of our (admittedly inadequate) tourist literature mentions the Aviary and Rock Garden, so it is a bit of a surprise—and we happen upon it by chance, when we take a wrong turn on our way to the Baradari Palace. My nephew sees the sign pointing to the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 7, 2009

Baradari Gardens

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Attraction | "Trees, a Maharaja’s Statue and a Disappointing Fern House"

Statue of Maharaja Rajinder Singh Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
The Baradari Gardens are right next door (literally) to the Baradari Palace in Patiala—in fact, the baradari or pavilion after which the palace is named, and which forms the heart of the palace, was once part of the gardens. The gardens, an expanse of cool green crowded with shady trees, shares boundaries with the palace on two sides. Looking out from the terrace outside our room, we can see birds in the trees and early morning joggers or yoga enthusiasts in the gardens.According to the rather scanty tourist information available about Patiala, the gardens were laid out by Maharaja Rajinder Singh in about 1876, when he ascended the throne of Patiala. I have to admit this sounds a little dubi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 7, 2009

The Baradari Palace

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Hotel | "A Non-Neemrana Non-Hotel"

Our room at Baradari Palace Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
The Neemrana Group of Hotels uses the tagline ‘a non-hotel hotel’. Singularly appropriate, since all the Neemrana hotels I’ve stayed in exude a hospitable charm that makes you feel you’re a family guest in a palace. All their hotels are well-restored historical palaces or mansions (the oldest dates to the 14th century), with a combination of traditional Indian and colonial furniture and furnishings. The meals are usually buffet, and the food is delicious in a home-cooked way. The staff is always helpful but unobtrusive.We’d read that the Neemrana group had opened the Baradari Palace in Patiala a year ago, and since we’d also discovered th...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 7, 2009

An Overview of Patiala and its Royalty

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Story/Tip

An old photograph at Baradari Palace Photo, Patiala, India
Quote:
In India (or at least northern India) Patiala is almost synonymous with everything colourful—literally colourful, as in even slightly risqué. At its most innocuous (and modern Patiala is pretty much that), this is a town renowned for its pretty leather slip-on shoes known as jooties; for the Patialashahi salwar, a heavily gathered and draped lower garment that resembles harem pants and is worn with a tunic; and for the Patiala peg, a large helping of liquor, invariably exceeding even the 60 ml that constitutes a double.The Patiala peg, according to this story, owes its origin to a game of polo in which the Maharaj...Read More