Lost & Neglected Glory in Ludhiana: Mughal Sarai in shambles


Lost & Neglected Glory in Ludhiana: Mughal Sarai in shambles

By Nidhi Bhanot

March 29, 2018

Nidhi Bhanot


One of the oldest heritage site ‘Mughal Sarai’ is situated in the Doraha Village of Ludhiana District. It was built in the 17th century and could have been a major attraction for the foreign tourists. 

But it’s in utter state of neglect despite of the bollywood movies shooting in ‘Sarai’ including blockbuster movie ‘Rang De Basanti’, there is no improvement in its state of affairs. It is in shambles and notice board of Mughal Sarai speaks volumes of its apathy at the entrance of sarai only, what to talk of inside the premises. 

                             ‘Rang De Basanti’ movie team posing in Mughal Sarai 

Built by the Mughal emperor Sher Shah Suri and located south of the present day Ludhiana-Khanna road, it was most sought-after place for weary travelers. This was brought in to a bit limelight at the time of Aamir Khan’s movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ and Dharmendra Productions movie. But after that once again it’s just a normal dilapidated building only. One can see couples dating and stray animals moving inside the Mughal Sarai without any fear of anyone. 

It is worth mentioning that it’s a beautiful ‘Sarai‘ spread over approximately 168 square meters of land. There are imposing gateways in center on the northern and southern sides. The northern gate has remains of floral designs while the southern gate has floral and formal paintings. The ‘Kutcha’ (makeshift) pathway connects both the gateways in the Mughal Sarai.

The big compound is now being maintained as a lawn by archaeology department and ‘Sarai’ is protected under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Movements Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964. But even than one can see the broken structures and congress grass spread all over in sarai. 

This ancient wonder is in ruins today and appears to be waiting for nature’s fury to crumble. Time has already effaced its the magnificence. The paste coming out of the walls, vanishing wall paintings, faded carvings on ceilings are a proof of neglected glory of the ancient India. The villagers and visitors on the way say that before the ‘Rang De Basanti’ movie, they were not aware of the fact that any Mughal Sarai exists in the Doraha. They only use to think its an old dilapidated building.

Raj Kumar, a senior citizen who visited site recently said, “We should maintain our heritage sites well so that the coming generations should know the importance of these places. Moreover the tourism department of Punjab should spend money on its well maintenance in order to attract the tourists from not only in Punjab but from various parts of the country.”

 A villager, Bhagwant Singh said, “Lot of NRI’s visit our and various other villages in Punjab. They remain curious to know about old Punjab and its heritages, so they would love to visit such heritage sites if these would be marinated well. As NRI’s are very conscious about going to clean and hygienic places only. But Mughal Sarai is full of congress grass and many type of reptiles inside them. It could prove dangerous for anyone.”  The concerned authorities always give the plea of insufficient funds with their department from the Punjab Government to maintain heritage sites in state.