Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bhatinda (Bathinda) a frontier of cultures.

I am from Bhatinda and I love this place so I am writing a post for my town. It is said in whole Punjab that Bhatinda People are very gentle people. It is an ancient town where borders of cultures terminated. Vast deserts of Rajesthan are at its west and fertile Ganges-Yamuna plains at its east. In the north invaders came into India and from South East came the armies of Rajputs to repel them.
Railway Station
Railway Station
It is a worth a day at least in case you stumble upon this place. Morning can be spent at Bhatinda fort.
A huge ancient fort in the middle of town was built by Kanishka and Raja Dab around 100 AD. Mahmud Ghazni captured it in 1004 AD and then Mohammed Ghori captured it. In 1045 Pir Hazi Rattan settled here. In 1191 Prithvi Raj Chauhan captured it. In 1240 Rajia Sultana was imprisoned here. Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh visited this place. Maharaja Patiala built a Gurudwara here in the fort.
Bhatinda fort inside
Bhatinda Fort inside view
It is a huge fort and require at least 3 hours to see it. To me it is not just a fort or history but I spend several hours here; anytime I visit here because views are suburb from the height of the fort. You can see whole town and railways station. Miles of scenes can be witnessed from the top of this fort. A big passageway traverse at the most of the fort on its top area. There used to be dungeons but now closed up and are off limit for public. Several secret escape tunnels originated from this fort to some miles far away for the escape of residents when attacked. All of those escape tunnels are plugged and off-limit now. When I was a boy, during a railway trenching an escape passage was uncovered near railway station that too was plugged for public safety. At the south side of the fort; are the narrow streets of the old town. Those narrow streets lead to the shrine of Pir Hazi Rattan.
Views from Bhatinda Fort.
Views from Bhatinda Fort
It is said that Hazi Rattan was was a Hindu Rajput, his name was Rattan Pal and a minister of King Vina Pal; Rajpur Raja of Bhatinda. At the time of Mahammad Ghori’s invasion he betrayed the fort to the Muslims. He was converted to Islam and performed the hajj. Near the shrine is Hazi Rattan Gurudwara. It is located in peaceful surrounding. There is a sarovar (tank in the gurudwara premises where a holy bath can be taken). There are several Gurudwaras in the town but I am writing this post on the prospective that you have a day to spend in this town; and this town offers at-least one good memorable day.
Bhatinda was always strategically placed at the borders of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. British built a railway junction here and that was the biggest railway junction at that time. Seven railway lines converged here. Now it is a junction of 6 lines, 7th line is no more due the gauge conversions. All lines are broad gauge now.
Probably you will arrive in Bhatinda by train. Nothing spacial about the station or the town. Bazaars are large, good and very colorful. Most rural folks come from villages to city bazaars to make their purchases.
Assuming you have a day here so some hours can be spent on the fort that you may like to visit again sometime. Then a canal (Sirhind Canal) flows at the outskirts of town in the North. Canal touches the town tangentially from east to west. A tree lined road is all the way on the canal at its south bank. A walk by the canal is a worth the visit there. It is 3 kilometers away from the town. Assuming you arrived at this canal near thermal plant. There is a small bazaar at the bank of canal, here you can have food or tea and then walk towards east and it is very peaceful and serene walking here. There is no designated bird century but you may witness migratory birds on the canal. After about 1 km of walking you are in the typical Punjab farming area with miles and miles of lush green agriculture flat land. After 4 kilometers you will come at the village of Bibiwala and some shops are in the village. You can fetch a bus back to town or you can walk back. On this walk, you can cut your walk short at anytime because you will see several rural paths leading towards the town.
Best restaurants are near railways station. Pappu Da Dhaba and Grand Dhaba are two best restaurants among the best. Food is excellent at both places and both serve only vegetarian food. Main Bus Stand area becomes deserted after sunset. Markets are woven in between Railway station and Bus Stand.
Bhatinda word may be funny because in many books and movies this name was used to offer some amusement. I hope you’d also have lots of fun in Bhatinda.

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