Remembering The Past In Ludhiana

This is a businessmans town and is unapologetic about it. Here is a list of what you need to see in this city
The fortified city of Ludhiana was built by Sikander Lodhi
The fortified city of Ludhiana was built by Sikander Lodhi

The fortified city of Ludhiana was built as a strategic post by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Sikander Lodhi (1489-1517). He directed two of his generals&mdashYusaf Khan and Nihang Khan&mdashto set his house in order. While Nihang Khan identified the village Hota Meer, on the eastern embankment of the Sutlej River, as the site for the fort, Yusaf Khan crossed the river to quell the rebellious Khokhars from a base that later gave birth to Sultanpur Lodhi. As the development of the village continued it came to be known as &lsquoLodhi-ana&rsquo. 

Under Mughal emperor Akbar it was a part of Sirhind Subah. The Sikhs held the district from 1701-1835 as successive invasions such as those of Ahmed Shah Abdali resulted in weakening the hold of the Mughals. Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured it in 1805&mdashbut he held it only for a short while because in 1809 he was forced to sign a treaty of &lsquoperpetual friendship&rsquo with the English&mdashwhich restricted his advance to the right bank of the Sutlej. This is a businessman&rsquos city and is unapologetic about it. Commerce is at the very heart of the city&rsquos culture. Once it looked to Japan and Germany for inspiration, now it surges on its own steam. Here is a list of what you need to see in this city

Ranjit Singh War Museum 

Not many are aware of this museum on GT Road, a 5km drive from the railway station. History learned in the sanitised environs of a classroom can be a real bore, so kids may find this museum interesting. At the entrance you are welcomed by a life-size statue of a seated Ranjit Singh, flanked by tanks, a Sukhoi fighter aircraft and a model of the INS Vikrant. The corridors of the hallway are lined with portraits of Punjabi luminaries including winners of the Paramvir, Mahavir and Vir Chakra awards along with its top generals, admirals and air-chief marshals. It also features dioramas of the 1st and 2nd battles of Panipat and the Anglo-Sikh War (Battle of Aliwal) and several multi-media kiosks. Picnicking families often club it with a visit to the zoo next door. 

Lodhi Fort 

Having lost the battle to years of neglect, this historic site on the bank of the river Sutlej marks the impress of the Delhi Sultan Sikandar Lodhi who founded the Ludhiana settlement. The Lodhis, unlike other Afghan leaders, were born in the subcontinent and, in that sense, were Indians. Sikandar&rsquos father, Bahlul Lodhi, was born in Sirhind and served as governor there before taking the Delhi throne. The Lodhi Fort is a fading symbol of that reign. The barracks of the fort have long collapsed and the structure is more or less a ruin.

Victoria Memorial Clock Tower 

Most citizens hurtling past Ghanta Ghar or the Clock Tower barely look at this iconic English landmark at Chaura Chowk. There was a time when people set their watch to its chime. It was designed by the municipal chief engineer of Amritsar, John Gordon, and completed in 1906 as memorial to the Silver Jubilee year of Queen Victoria&rsquos reign. Many citizens were made to contribute funds for its erection. This tower is more of a victory tower than a clock tower. One of Punjab&rsquos chief ministers, Giani Zail Singh, had re-christened it as Bhagwan Mahavir Clock Tower, but the name did not stick and it continues to be known as Ghanta Ghar.

Nehru Rose Garden 

The annual spring flower festival brings the citizens out in droves in this important green lung of Ludhiana. It&rsquos a wonderful outing for everyone before the onset of scorching summer, which makes people seek refuge in air-conditioned comfort. In the mornings the garden fills up with yoga enthusiasts, walkers and joggers. Some people prefer to go to the adjoining green grounds of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The rose garden makes for a nice visit with kids as they have swings and a musical fountain&mdashand a planetarium located at the entrance. 

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