Tuesday, 11 December 2018

096 - An old garden at Qila Mian Singh, Gujranwala. (Qila Mihan Singh)

About ten kilometers from Gujranwala, there is a village known as Qila Mian Singh. Now word Qila in Arabic / Urdu / Punjabi means fort. So I thought there could be a fort or remnants of an old fort. A search on the internet indeed showed some old structures in the village. To further probe into the matter I marked this place and finally reached there on 24th of July, 2018. 

I found no signs of any fort but a boundary wall of probably a garden still exists. It is a huge compound in a square shape, with each side measuring 150 meters, encompassing an area of over 5 acres. The walls are deteriorating and some portions have fallen. The land inside the boundary walls is now cultivated and there are no signs of any garden. It is at located at 32° 6' 0.09" N;  74° 4' 42.62" E.

However, two buildings or rather one and half a buildings still exist inside. One is probably a smadhi and the other is a portion of now mostly collapsed baradari. 


The above two pictures are of a Samadhi in the garden. (24.07.2018.)





The boundary wall, with buttresses.  (24.07.2018.)





The above three pictures of paintings depicting different scenes of a story. 


Paintings of Kokila or Koyal, a bird representing singers. 


It was intriguing to see a graffiti in Hindi inside the samadhi, The word Ram is repeatedly written here. On the left side of the human figure, Dwarka Nath Dham is written. 

It is obvious that it was written much later. Most probably much after the partition and maybe not a very long time ago. But it is difficult to guest that who could have written it. It was more probable to find something in Gurmukhi, the script Sikhs use to write Punjabi. Anyway, Dwarka is a famous temple in Indian state of Gujarat and one of the four dhams or holy places of Hindus, the other three being Badrinath, Puri and Rameswaram.

Word Ram is repeatedly written here. 

Frescoes inside the samadhi depicting scenes from mythology. (24.07.2018.)




A few more sections of the boundary wall. (24.07.2018.)







The above few pictures are of a baradari style building, major portion of which already has collapsed. (24.07.2018.)

A buttress at one of the corners of the boundary wall. (24.07.2018.)

I do not have much information about the garden or Mian Singh himself (some sources suggest the name as Mihan Singh, that makes more sense). I found the following words about him in an article in Dawn newspaper:
Mian Singh di Haveli inside Yakki Gate was taken over by the British in 1849. This modest ‘haveli’ belonged to the Sikh chieftain of the Sukherchakia Misl of Gujranwala, and Mian Singh had a stronghold there which is still named Qila Mian Singh, just near Qila Didar Singh.
The above mentioned article, titled "Amazing speed of the British after taking Lahore", was written by Mr Majid Sheikh and published on 24 May, 2015. The link is given below:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1183916

So it can be safely assumed that Mian Singh, a chieftain of Sukerchakia Misl, lived during the last half of the eighteenth century and due to his services was granted a jagir in this area. The power of Sikhs rose in this region in the 1760s. And perhaps he himself or his descendants built this huge garden, of which only a few traces survive today. But perhaps will not survive for long, because apparently it is not on the radar of any government department and there is no protection or maintenance. 



The above two pictures were taken by Mr Ijaz Ahmad Mughal, most probably just a few years ago and uploaded on Panoramio. These clearly show the baradari in its complete shape. Now two thirds of it have collapsed. This show how bad is the condition and definitely, all traces will disappear very soon. 

At the end, I would like to thank my colleague, Mr Sameer Kashinath, who helped me in reading the graffiti in Hindi and understanding the paintings inside the Samadhi. Though this structure looks like a Samadhi, but in his opinion, it may not be a Samadhi because decorations were hardly allowed in a Samadhi. 

I hope some readers will add to our knowledge about this place.

Update: 17.06.2021.
A few months ago Mr Arv Singh ji, who is one of the descendants of Sardar Mahan Singh ji, provided some information about this place. He confirmed that the name of the place is actually Qila Mihan Singh. Perhaps due to mispronunciation people started calling it Mian Singh, as it is known today. You can see his comments below.


Tariq Amir

December 11, 2018.
Doha - Qatar. 

6 comments:

  1. Surprised to see this. Thumbs Up!

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  2. Sardar Mihan Singh of Qila Mihan Singh was my ancestor. He was grandfather of my grandmother. He indeed was a Sardar of Sukerchakia Misl and related by marriage to Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. He was appointed as the Governor of Kashmir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to keep an eye on the Dogras. He implemented various reforms and stabilized the region. Mihan Singh (Bhandari) was in-charge of Bhandar or the ammunition supplies for the Sikh Army during the Anglo-Sikh battle of Sabhraon. Mihan Singh was assassinated by Dogra soldiers days before the battle with the objective to disable the ammunition supplies to the Sikh Army. Dogra Raja Gulab Singh was rewarded by the British for his cooperation while Mihan Singh's property was annexed.

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  3. Dear Arv Singh ji, Thank you for your message and making the correction that it is Qila Mihan Singh and not Mian Singh as commonly known. Kindly contact me on my email at:

    tariqamir1015@gmail.com

    Kindly inform me more details about the history of Sardar Mihan Singh. So that we can share authentic information in this post. Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Do you have any pics of S. Mihan Singh Sandhu

    ReplyDelete