Saturday, 4 February 2012

The tomb of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Photograph of the Ranjit Singh's Tomb, Lahore from the Brandreth Collection: 'Views in Simla, Cashmere and the Punjab' taken by an unknown photographer in the 1860s. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), known as the 'Lion of the Punjab' was one of the most celebrated rulers in India, he persuaded rival Sikh chieftans to unite forming the first Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. Gujranwala was their headquarters until Ranjit Singh captured Lahore in 1799 and made that his capital.

Ranjit Singh's tomb or samadhi in Lahore was started by his son Kharak Singh on the spot he was cremated and completed by Dalip Singh in 1848. With it's with gilded fluted domes and cupolas and an ornate baulstrade round the top, it is an excellent example of Sikh architecture. Ranjit Singh's ashes are contained in a marble urn in the shape of a lotus, sheltered under a marble pavilion inlaid with pietra dura, in the centre of the tomb. Other tiny urns contain the ashes of his four wives and seven other women who threw themselves on his funeral pyre.

The Friday Times, 3rd Fen 2012


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