Khadur Sahib.—Situated at a distance of 19 km from Tarn Taran, the tahsil headquarters, and 43 km from Amritsar, Khadur Sahib is connected with both the places by road. There are a Khalsa High School and two Government Primary Schools. The Guru Angad Dev Degree college has been started from 1970-71. There are a post & Telegraph Office and the office of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer. There is also a panchayat in the village. Its population was 4,680 in 1961, as against 3,995 in 1951.
Khadur Sahib is important because of its long association with Guru Angad Dev who mostly stayed here and made it his headquarters. It was at this place that Guru Amar Das served him as a disciple. The succession of Amar Das as the Third Guru also took place there.
There are five gurdwaras of the time of Guru Angad Dev and Guru Amar Das. One of these is Gurdwara Angitha Sahib, where Guru Angad Dev was cremated. In this gurdwara, there is a small platform, indicating the place where Guru Amar Das, with a gagar (brass pitcher) of water on his shoulder, fell into the Khaddi (the pit in which the weaving apparatus is installed). Quite near to it is the ‘Thara Sahib’, where Guru Amar Das used to meditate when he would get spare time from the service of Guru angad Dev. Another gurdwara is called ‘Mal Akhara’ where Guru Angad Dev used to deliver religious discourses, teach boys and girls during the day time and witness wrestling matches in the evening. At a distance of about 200 metres, there is another gurdwara, called Tapiana Sahib. It is said that as many as eight Gurus visited this place on one occasion or another. A tank has been built at Tapiana Sahib and a fair is held there is Bhadra, four days after the mela at Govindwal. At Khandur Sahib, there is also a smadh of Bhai Bala, a close associate and disciple of Guru Nanak Dev.
There is a tradition that Emperor Humayun, after his final defeat at Kanauj, came to the Punjab and visited Khadur Sahib to seek the blessings of Guru Angad Dev. But, when the Emperor reached there, the Guru was in a trance and Humayun had to keep standing for some time. The haughty Emperor took it as an insult that the Guru had not shown proper respect to him. Consequently, he put his hand on the hilt of his sword. When the Guru opened his eyes, he saw the Emperor trying to draw his sword from the scabbard. Thereupon, the Guru said, “When thou oughtest to have used thy sword against Sher Shah, thou didst not do so. Now, when thou comest among priests, instead of saluting them respectfully, desirest to draw thy sword on them.” Humayun expressed his regret and then sought his blessings. The Guru replied that he had made a mistake by attempting to attack him and for that he must suffer for some time more, but he prophesied that he would recover his kingdom2.
There is another incident of the period of Guru Angad Dev about the authenticity of which some doubts are expressed. That incident is the rivalry of a tapa of Khadur Sahib. There was a penitent or tapa who lived near Khdur Sahib. He grew jealous of the growing popularity of Guru Angad Dev. He conspired with the people of the locality and instigated them to turn the Guru out of the village. This was done. When the Guru’s most devoted disciple. Amar Das, learnt of this happening, he remonstrated with the people for their folly. At last, the tapa was punished and the people brought the Guru back3.
Khadur Sahib, however, never attained importance as a commercial centre, as it was too near Govindwal which eclipsed it as trading centre.
At a distance of 6 km from Khadur Sahib, en route Govindwal, there is the Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. It is said that Guru Amar Das, while bringing water from the River Beas for the bath of Guru Angad Dev, used to rest there daily for a while. While coming from Khadur Sahib, Amar Das would go to the Beas with his face towards Khadur Sahib. From Damdama Sahib, he would turn his face. This ws done to show reverence to Guru Angad Dev.
Khem Karan.—The town is 32 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters, both by road and rail. From Amritsar, it is 65 km by road and 78 km by rail. Its population was 7,142 in 1961, as against 7,069 in 1951.
It is said to have been founded by a Kamboj Raja, named Khem Karan. The town was in the form of a fort. There used to be a wall round it, with eight gates, During the Indo-Pak Conflict of 1965, the wall was almost dismantled and the gates were also either dismantled or considerably damaged. The town remained under the occupation of Pakistani forces for about six months. When restored to India under the Tashkent Agreement (January 1966), it was again inhabited by the people who were given liberal rehabilitation grants by the Government of India.
2K.S. Narang and H.R. Gupta, History of the Punjab (1526—1857) pp. 83-84.
There are a Municipality, a Government High School each for boys and girls, a Veterinary Dispensary, a Police-Post and a Post & Telegraph Office. The water-supply system has also been com completed. The Government has also constructed a few ultramodern buildings for public purposes. Originally included in the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District (Pakistan), Khem Karan was transferred to India under the Radcliffe Award4 and was included in the Amritsar District.
A few important places in the town are described below :
This is a gurdwara built in the memory of Guru Tegh Bahadur. It is said that the Guru had intimate contacts with Baba Taghana, a resident of Khem Karan, and had promised to see him before passing away. While the Guru was under detention at Delhi, he remembered his promise and, through his spiritual powers. Appeared on the south of Khem Karan. Through intuition, Baba Taghana learnt about the presence of the Guru and went to pay him homage.
Some eight decades back, a saint, called Bhai Sewa, was putting up at Hardwar. An elderly lady from a Budhwar family went there and distributed laddoos among the sadhus there. She had hidden 5 rupees in each laddoo as charity. Among others, when the laddoos were given to Bhai Sewa, he told her that such charity was useless and was of no public utility. On the saint’s suggestion, she left for Khem Karan for building Gurusar in the memory of Guru Tegh Bahadur at the spot where he had appeared. On her inability to locate the spot, she returned to Hardwar and after much search traced Bhai Sewa and brought him to Khem Karan along with her. Through intuition, the Bhai located the spot and started digging. It is said that he found a marble slab with some wirting on it about the Guru’s having visited the spot. The lady built there a gurdwara and beseeched Bhai Sewa to take charge of it. The saint did commendable work. His smadh (tomb) exists near the gurdwara. The marble slab, it is said, was taken away by the Pakintanis during the Indo-Pak Conflict of 1965.
Five acres of land is attached to the gurdwara.
4Sir Cyril Radcliffe was the Chairman of the Boundary Commissions appointed at the time of the partition of the country in 1947.
Bhai Khera was a disciple of Guru Amar Das. The Guru Blessed him with a tham (literally meaning a pillar, it was actually a reed or kana) equal to himself in height. He brought it to Khem Karan, raised a gurdwara and kept the tham therein. After some time, another saint had intuition that he should bring shisham wood from the Hathar area, and construct a tham equal to the reed in height and install it in the gurdwara. The saint went to the villages of Hathar and requested the peasants in possession of the particular three to give it to him as he wanted to make a tham out of it. The peasants, who were famine-stricken on account of drought, asked the saint to request his Guru to bless the area with rain and end the acute famine, and added that in case the rain fell, he could take away the tree. The saint sat in meditation and it so happened that in those days of Asadha it rained in torrents. The Muslim villagers requested the saint to take the wood and end his meditation. Out of that three, the saint got a tham made, enclosed it in a glass frame, and installed it in the gurdwara. It is said that if water is dropped on the tham from above, lassi (buttermilk) comes out of it from below. The gurdwara, along with the tham and its glass frame, was destroyed by the Pakistanis in 1965. It has since been rebuilt. A mela is held here on the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.
On the southern side of the town, quite near the Guru Sar, there is an old temple, called Baba Data Ram Ka Mandir. It is said that some three or four centuries back, the ship of a local trader, engaged in the import and export business, was caught in a storm. He beseeched saint Data Ram that if the ship arrived safely, he would build a temple after his name. Accordingly, on the ship escaping destruction, he build a beautiful temple at Khem Karan. In front of the temple, a big tank was constructed but it is now dry and out of use. The marble status installed in the temple were removed by the Pakistanis during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965. A few acres of land is attached to the temple.
Quite near the temple is the smadh (tomb) of Raja Khem Singh—a Kamboj—said to have been the founder of the town.
In the heart of the town, near the municipal office, is an ancient baoli, where formerly the people of the town used to take bath. Now, it is in ruins and out of use.
Majitha.—Majitha is situated 16 km to the north-east of Amritsar, the tahsil headquarters. The town is connected with Amritsar both by rail and road. Its population was 6,973 is 1961, as against 7,368 in 1951. The town was founded by one Madhu, a Jat of the Gill got (clan). He was the eldest son of his father, and, hence, the place was named Madhu Jetha. Jetha in Punjabi means the eldest son. The word Madhu Jetha subsequently got contracted into Majitha. Madhu was, thus, the ancestor of the Majithia Sardars, some of whom held high positions during the Sikh rule.
Majitha is a class III municipality. It has a Police-Station, a Post Office, a Dispensary run by the Zila Parishad, a Veterinary Hospital, a Government High School for boys, Kesra Devi Girls’ High School, Bhagwanti Mandir Middle School, a Government Primary School for boys and girls and a Telephone Exchange. Some small-scale industrial units—ancillary to agriculture, like the manufacture of agricultural implements—have sprung up.
Mari Gur Singh.—Situated on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Road, it is 22 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters and 42 km (joined by an approach road from Theh Mari) from Amritsar. The village has a primary school. Its population ws 1,030 in 1961, s against 1,149 in 1951.
With regard to the origin of the place, it is stated that previously it was an uninhabited theh named Hari Muglani. Some eighteen generations back, a person named Bagra came from the village of Mansurdeva of the Zira Tahsil of the Firozpur District, and founded this village. He named the place after his father. It remained inhabited for twelve generations, after which a person where well irrigation was available. Thereafter, a new abadi also emerged at the previous site which was named after him as Mari Gur Singh. Since then, the village has continued to be inhabited.
There is a gurdwara named Shaheed Bunga Sahib. Melas are held on the 1st of Sravana, 1st of Magh and Hola Mohalla in the Phalguna. The last mela lasts for eight days.
Naurangabad.—The village of Naurangabad is situated at a distance of 6 km from the Tarn Taran Tahsil headquarters towards Govindwal. It spopulation was 1,387 in 1961, as against 1,411 in 1951.
The village has a pachayat and a Government Primary School.
Naurangabad was the headquaters of Bhai (Baba) Vir Singh, a saint of great spiritual reputation. There is a gurdwara in his memory. One hundred and fifty acres of land is attached to the gurdwara. Melas are held there on the 27th Baisakha, 28th Sravana and 1st Magh.
Quite nearby is a thara, a roofless two-storeyed building, in the memory of Baba Sahib Singh Bedi of Una, who is said to have stayed there for three days. He was the spiritual techer of Bhai Vir Singh.
Adjacent to the above-mentioned gurdwara another new gurdwara has been built. It is said that Bhai Vir Singh, in fact stayed at this place, in the first instance, instead of the place where the old gurdwara exists. Four acres of land is attached to this gurdwara.
Patti.—The headquarters of the subdivision/tahsil of the same name, patti is 45 km from Amritsar by road and 44 km by rail. It is connected by rail and road with Khem Karan and Amritsar. Previously, it was part of the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District (Pakistan) and was transferred, along with other villages, to the Amritsar District on the partition of the country in 1947. There are a market Committee, a Police-Station, a Serai, a Rest-House, a Hospital and a number of Dharmshalas. There are two high schools for girls, viz. the G.M. Arya High School and the Government High School, and two high schools for boys, viz. the Government High School and the Master Hakim Rai High School, besides a Government College. Its population was 15,833 in 1961, as against 14,297 in 1951.
Before the partition of 1947, Patti, also called Naulakhi Patti in the revenue records, was primarily inhabited by Muhammadans, next to whom ranked the Jain Community—a notable trading class. Some of the Jains (sub-caste Nahar) are sated to have settled here in the thirteen century after having left Nadaun (in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh).
Though situated quite near the border, Patti is a flourishing town. Before the partition, it was a centre of small-scale handloom industry. Hundreds of hand-looms were installed by Muhammadan skilled workers who manufactured lungis. The cheap liungis of Patti were widely used by the labouring class throughout the Punjab. Seven cotton-ginning mills also existed here before 1947, as the area was primarily cotton-growing. After 1955, owing to heavy floods, the water level rose and the cultivators switched over from cotton to rice. Only two cotton-ginning mills are, therefore, left, whereas the rest have been shifted to other places. The hand-loom industry also no longer exists here.
At Patti, there are some old buildings which need to be mentioned. In the interior of the town, there is a temple called Shivan-da-Mandir which is said to have been built over 500 years back. Barring the temple, the other adjoining construction is in ruins. The other one, called the Thakarduara near the Bus-Stand, is also some 300 years old. It is managed by the Giri Mahants, the present one being the fourth in succession. Near rohi, outside the town, there is another temple of Lord Shiva, which is also said to be quite old. It is in a good state of preservation. The Shivratri festival is held there. A free langar is run. A small fort, built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is in a fairly good condition and at present the Police-Station, Patti, is housed in it. The Jain Mandir inside the town was built about a hundred years back by Swami Atma Ram.
Prit Nagar.—Situated in the Ajnala Tahsil at a distance of 27 km from Amritsar, this dream colony of Gurbakhsh Singh is connected by road with Amritsar and Atari. There are a Government Primary School and a Post-Office. The Punjab Dairy Development Corporation has also its milk-collecting centre here.
The place is not altogether devoid of historical importance. At a distance of about 200 metres lies he mazar of Shah Mukhtar, a renowned Muslim Pir. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built, through a Hindu Wazir, a pucca mazar, a mosque and a well attached thereto, besides a big square tank, covering 2 acres, at a distance of about 200 metres. Near the tank, a baradari, with a 3-foot-wide and 7-foot-high wall all round, was also built for his personal use by the Wazir who resided in the nearby village of Lopoke. In course of time, the descendants of the Wazir fell on evil days and were even constrained to sell their land. The site of the present colony, covering 200 acres, along with the premises of the baradari and the tank, was purchased in 1937 for Rs 40,000 by the founder of the colony, Shri Gurbakshsh Singh, an eminent Punjabi writer and editor of the Preet Lari. A society was formed for building the colony and running a school which was started in 1939. The partition of the country, however, adversely affected the development of the place which fell on the border. Two Punjabi magazines, Preet Lari and Bal Sandesh, are published from here.
Puhla.—The village of Puhla is situated near Valtoha, on the Patti-Khem Karan railway line, at a distance of 25 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters, and 65 km from Amritsar. It has a panchayat and a primary school. It population was 598 in 1961, as against 602 in 1951.
There is a gurdwara built in the memory of Baba Taru Singh Shaheed. Thirty acres of land is attached to it. A mela is held here in July every year.
Ramdas.—It is situated at a distance of 45 km both by road and rail from Amritsar towards Dera Baba Nanak. In the Ajnala Tahsil, this is the only town which has a municipal committee. There are the Baba Budha Khalsa High School (co-educational), a Government Primary School, a D.A.V. Middle School for Girls, a Hospital, a Primary Health Centre, a Civil Rest-House, a Police-Station and a Post & Telegraph office. Its population was 3,153 in 1961 as against 3,046 in 1951.
The town is said to have been founded by Guru Ram Das when he happened to go there to bless Jhanda, the grandson of Baba Budha. The Guru named the place as ‘Jhanda Ramdaspur’ which later came to be known as Ramdas. Jhanda invited the trading class, mostly Khatris, from the surrounding areas to settle there. They converted the place into a trading–centre which continued to flourish till the end of the nineteenth century. After 1947, with the migration of the Muslim Arains to Pakistan and because of its situation on the Indo-Pak border, the place was almost deserted. However, after 1966, the population of the town increased and the revenues of the municipality improved. This change was brought about by controlling the floods.
The old town had a mud wall around it. The wall has disappeared with the lapse of time. The town has historical importance also. There is a gurdwara built in the memory of Baba Buddha, who is said to have been born at Kathunangal and to have died at Ramdas. The gurdwara was ransacked by Nadir Shah. The building was reconstructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Fourteen hundred acres of land is attached to the gurdwara. On the 4th Badi (i.e. the 4th day after puranmashi—the full-moon night), a fair is held here.
Adjacent to the gurdwara is a raised platform and the four-storey-deep Tara Khusi. This residential building was built the period of Sikh misls by Sham Singh, the eighth descendant of Baba Buddha. Its various gates, their locking and interlocking system and the preventive arrangements against setting the gates on fire by the enemy are quite interesting. Within this building, there is a well for supplying water, especially during an emergency. In his days, Sham Singh exercised authority over the town of Ramdas and led a princely life.
At a distance of about ½ km, there is a tank built in the memory of Krishan Kanwar, the sixth descendant of Baba Buddha. The former is said to have shown a miracle to a caravan going towards Dera Baba Nanak. His father, Baba Gurbax Singh, resented the action. The boy took the resentment to heart and died voluntarily. The then Raja of Patiala had a mind to engage his daughter to Krishan Kanwar. But, on the boy’s death, the Raja is said to have built a tank in his memory with the money equal to the cost of the tikka (engagement gift). At present, there exists near the tank the dera of Baba Jaswant Singh.
At a distance of about ½ km, there are smadhs (tombs) of Baba Buddha and te members of his family. A gurdwara has been built there. Nearby is a baoli, known as Baba Buddha Ki Ganga, where people take bath. The residents of Ramdas and the villages near about visit the place quite often.
Ram Tirth.—Situated 11 km to the west of Amritsar, the tahsil headquarters, on the Amritsar-Lopoke Road, Ram Tirth is an ancient pilgrimage centre, the origin of which is obscure. There is a big tank of peculiar shape which is said to have been dug by Hanuman—the famous devotee of Shri Ram Chandra. He is said to have dug it with dhati tap (i.e. with two and a half cuts), two lengthwise and a half breadthwise. The circumference of the tank is about three kilometres. There are some small temples on its sides. There is a baoli after the name of Sita, the wife of Shri Ram Chandra.
It is said that Sita spent her period of exile at this place in the cottage of Rishi Valmik. Lav and Kush are also said to have been born to Sita at this place and the great epic Ramayana was composed here. The fight between Shri Ram Chandra’s forces and Lav and Kush is also said to have taken place at Ram Tirth.
The place remained neglected for centuries till Maharaja Ranjit Singh got it repaired and renovated during the first half of the nineteenth century. Some four decades back, a saint, popularly known as Baba Phaury Wala, stayed at this place and endeavoured to improve it, but in vain. However, he built a serai for the pilgrims. To revive the old glory of the place, the temples, the tank and the surroundings have been now renovated and developed as a place of pilgrimage and tourist resort.
On Turki Mela day, about a fortnight after Diwali, a big fair is held here.
Rattoke [Gurdwara Bhai (Baba) Vir Singh]. The village of Rattoke is 64 km from Amritsar byroad on the Khem Karan-Gajal Road, and 30 km from Patti, the tahsil hedquarters, and 71 km from Amritsar by rail on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Railway Branch line. There is a Government Primary School. Its population was 2,805 in 1961, s against 2,702 in 1951.
The gurdwara at Rattoke is one of the five prominent gurdwaras built in the memory of the great saint Bhai (Baba) Vir Singh, the other four being at Naurangabad, Muthianwala, Sobraon (Sabhra) and Paddri. One hundred and twenty acres of land is attached to this gurdwara. A mela is held there on the martyrdom day of the Bhai on 27th Baisakh. It lasts for three days. Another mela is held on 1st Pausa in the memory of Baba Mohar Singh, a disciple of Bhai Vir Singh.
The village of Rattoke was originally inhabited by Jats of Ardgill got. Being situated on the border, it was damaged much during the Indo-Pak Conflict of 1965.
Serais Amanat Khan, Nurdin, Naurangabad and Fatehabad.—During the Mughal Period, the Bdshai Road passed from Atari to Govindwal, via Serais Amanat Khan, Nurdin, Naurangabad and Fatehabad, all of which are situated in the Tarn Taran Tahsil. The serais are almost of the same design and dimensions. These places virtually formed fortified habitations, the whole population residing within the four walls of the serais, which had two gates on the opposite sides.
Over 100 yards in length as well as breadth, Serai Amanat Khan is 29 km from Amritsar and 4 km from Atari. It was during the reign of Shah Jahan. The outer walls of the serai have fallen, whereas its two gates still stand, although not in a good state of preservation. Outside the serai, there is the tomb of Amanat Khan, which is now in ruins. There is a small tank in the premises of the tomb. A shower, fitted in the tomb, still exists.
At a distance of about 12 km from Serai Amanat Khan, on the Tarn Taran Road, is another serai, called Nurdin. It is said to have been built by Nurdin with the bricks which Guru Arjan Dev got prepared for constructing the tank at Tarn Taran. The design of this serai is also the same as that of Amanat Khan. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, its walls were demolished and the bricks were transported to Tarn Taran for the construction of the tank there. Outside the serai, there is a tomb, the numerous inscriptions on which date from 983 A.H. to 1023 A.H.
At a distance of about 11 km from Nurdin towards Govindwal is a serai at Naurangabad. The design of the serai is the same, but it is in ruins.
The serai at Fatehabad is also of the same design. Both the gates still exist, though not in a good state of preservation.
Singhpura.—It is situated on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Road, with which it is connected by a ¼ km approach road. It is 22 km from Patti, the Tahsil headquarters, and 33 km from Amritsar. The village has a panchayat. Its population was 521 in 1961, as against 590 in 1951.
The area was uninhabited over three centuries back, when one Nilu Singh, son of Mal Singh, Virk Jat, of the village of Thakron in the Gujaranwala District (Pakistan), settled here by paying a nazrana of six hundred rupees to Mirza Faiz-allah Beg, who was in charge of the area at that time. After the latter’s name, the village was named Faizalpura.
Faizalpura or Singhpura, as it was later named by Nawab Kapur Singh, was the first important village which was wrested from Faiz-allah Beg by Kapur Singh, the founder of the Faizalpuria or Singhpuria mist. This was also the first mist to come into existence. Kapur Singh was the son of a Jat peasant, Dalip Singh. He took the Pahul from Bhai Mani Singh. In his time, Kapur Singh was the most renowned of the Sikh chiefs and was practically the head of the Khalsa in almost all political and religious affairs from 1734 to 1748 when he gave the command of the Dal Khalsa to his deputy, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Kapur Singh died in 1753 and was succeeded by his nephew, Khushhal Singh. The latter died in 1796 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Budh Singh. In 1816, Ranjit Singh annexed the Singhpuria territories to his dominions.
There is the smadh of Nawab Kapur Singh in the village of Singhpura where a mela is held on 9-11th Asvin (September-October) at his death anniversary. There is also a gurdwara in te memory of Bhai Vir Singh. Here, a mela is held on 27th Baisakh (May).
Sirhali Kalan.—It lies on the Amritsar-Harike Road at a distance of 19 km from Tarn Taran, the tahsil headquarters, and 43 km from Amritsar. The village is predominantly inhabited by Sandhu Jats. The Sandhu Jats, known as Sandhu Brars, are the same Brars who have several villages in the Firozpur District. Both claim to have the same origin, i.e. from Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). This topic has been elaborately delat with in chapter-III, ‘People’, on page 96.
Sirhali Kalan has the Guru Gobind Singh Higher Secondary School, a Government Middle School for Girls, and an Industrial Training Institute, with the Junior Basic Training Course. There are a Veterinary Dispensary, Police-Station and a Post & Telegraph Office. The village has also a panchayat. Its population was 6,946 in 1961, as against 6,766 in 1951.
There is a gurdwara, known as Chabacha Sahib, built in the memory of Guru Arjan Dev. It is said that, while coming from Bir Sahib, Guru Arjan Dev stayed at Sirhali Kalan. He wanted to make it a place of religious importance. At Sirhali Kalan, the Jogis, known s Naths, were very popular. At their instigation, the people declined to give land to the Guru who got annoyed. He broke a brick into four pieces and threw them in four directions, symbolizing the desertion of the place. The next day, people of the village came to the Guru and apologized to him. The Guru was satisfied and asked the residents to collect the pieces of the brick. Only three pieces could be found and these were joined. The Guru said that the land where the missing piece had fallen would go alkaline.
Baba Buddha collected in a chabacha (water-pit) the water with which the Guru bathed. This water-pit is known as Chabacha Sahib which is said to have healing properties. The gurdwara is on the first floor of the building.
Sabraon (Sabhara).—It is 18 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters, and 62 km from Amritsar by road. The village has a Primary School, a High School, a Veterinary Dispensary, a Police-Post and a Post & Telegraph Office. It population was 5,255 in 1961 as against 4,651 in 1951.
There is a gurdwara built in the memory of Bhai Vir Singh. Here, a mela is held on his martyrdom day on 27th Baisakh.
Sur Singh.—It is situated on the Amritsar-Khem. Karan Road at a distance of 25 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters, and 33 km from Amritsar. The railway station nearest to this village is Kairon. There are a Primary School, a Middle School, a High School, a Library, a Post & Telegraph Office. Its population was 5,255 in 1961, as against 4,651 in pensary. The population of the village was 6,341 in 1961, as against 6,506 in 1951.
There is a smadh (tomb) of Bhai Bidhi Chand, a disciple of Guru Hargobind. Hence, a mela is held in Bhadra. The house, where Bhai Bidhi Chand and his family resided, still exists.
Guru Hargobind is said to have rested at the place where a gurdwara has been built by Sohan Singh, a descendant of Bhai Bidhi Chand. A mela is held here on 9th Jyaishta, the day on which the foundation-stone of the gurdwara was laid in 1992 Bikrmi (A.D. 1935).
Tarn Taran.—The headquarters of the subdivision/tahsil of the same name, Tarn Taran is connected with Amritsar by rail by the Amritsar-Khem Karan Branch Line and by road by the Amritsar-Harike and Amritsar-Patti Roads. Both by rail and road, it is 24 km from Amritsar. Tarn Taran is a class II municipality. Its population was 20,961 in 1961, as against 16,344 in 1951. There are a Civil Hospital, the Mission Hospital and the Leprosy Home, and the Central Chief Khalsa Diwan Hospital. There are a Veterinary Dispensary, a Civil Rest-House, the City Police-Station and the Sadr Police-Station, a Post Telegraph office and a Telephone Exchange.
Tarn Taran is an important religious centre in the heart of the Majha tract, lying between the rivers Beas and Ravi. Various derivations of the name of the place have been given. According to one, it means ‘salvation’, according to another, ‘cleansing water’, whereas the third and most appropriate and probable gives the meaning as “aiding to swim across” from tarna or taru karna, to swim. If the interpretation made in the last is correct, it is connected with the tradition that the water of the sacred thank has healing properties and produces miraculous effects on the persons afflicted with leprosy. This belief is held by all the people of the neighbourhood and the town has, for long, been the resort of lepers from all parts of the region and even from beyond.
In the centre of the town, there is the gurdwara founded by Guru Arjan Dev, who also arranged for the digging of the tank. The site of the gurdwara and the tank was an open place at that time. The Guru visited the place while coming from Khare, a village lying towards Govindwal, and purchased 80 bidhas of land from one Nurdin Mughal. Baba Buddha laid the foundation-stone of the temple and the tank on the Amavas day of Chaitra 1643 Bikrmi. It took five years and three months to complete the construction. It is said that the people of the area took very keen interest and built kilns on voluntary basis and prepared high-class bricks.
Nurdin, who belonged to a nearby village, forcibly took away these bricks. Guru Arjan Dev did not interfere, nor did he allow his disciples to resist, but prophesied that “The bricks meant for this tank will ultimately be used for its construction”. It is said that during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the serai of Nurdin was dismantled and with its bricks the tank at Tarn Taran was constructed. The Maharaja renovated the gurdwara with golden plates. The pavement around the gurdwara was also constructed by him. The gurdwara stands on the edge of the tank. The dome has been everlaid with gilded copper plates after the style of the Hari Mandir at Amritsar. At the north corner of the tank, a little away from the gurdwara, is a lofty column or minar, with white stucco-covered top, reached by a winding staircase inside the column. This is a landmark is this area and on a clear day, with the aid of glasses, the tower of Baba Atal and other prominent buildings in the Amritsar city can be clearly made out from its top. The length of the tank is on the north 955 feet, on the south 935 feet, on the west 770 feet and on the east 700 feet. A paved walk runs round it. Numerous bungas built by chiefs and sardars for their accommodation and for their retinue on the occasion of their visits overlook the paved walk. The length of the paved walk, popularly known as prikarma is on the north 1,044 feet, on the south 1,020 feet, on the west 860 feet and on the east 861 feet. Most of the bungas have been remodelled and are now available for accommodating the visitors at the monthly fairs. The Tarn Taran Amavas—a religious fair held on the last day of the old moon—is celebrated in the Majha. A large number of people visit the gurdwara on the occasion. The fair on the Amavas in Bhadra (August) and Chaitra (April) is largely attended. The significance attached to these Amavas days is that the digging of the tank was started by Guru Arjan Dev on the Amavas of Bhadra (A.D. 1590) and it was completed after six years of the Amavas of Chaitra. The rural folk are also comparatively free from work during these periods, as both these months fall before the harvesting seasons. The gatherings on Baisakhi and Dussehra are also quite large.
There are also three old wells; the first situated in the gurdwara itself, and the second and the third, known as Guru-ka-Khuh adjoining a small gurdwara, and Bibi Bhani da Khuh, situated on the western side of the town, respectively. A small gurdwara, in the memory of Bhai Phula Singh, has also been built.
Valla.—Valla is situated on the Amritsar-Sri Hargobindpur Road at a distance of 8 km from Amritsar, the tahsil headquarters. The village has a panchayat, a Primary School and a Branch Post Office. Its population was 3,468 in 1961, as against 2,941 in 1951.
On his way back from Amritsar, where he had gone to pay homage to the Hari Mandir, Guru Tegh Bahadur passed by Valla. A woman of the village was going to the fields with food for her menfolk. When she was the saint with his disciples, she enquired if she could be of any service to them. The Guru asked for food. The woman served the party with light meals and promised to provide them with full meals in the village. Meanwhile, she left for the fields with the remaining food. There, she was surprised to find that the quantity of the food had increased far beyond what she had actually brought. She instantly learnt through intuition that the saint could not be any other person than Guru Tegh Bahadur. Therefore, along with her relations, she rushed to the place where she had met the Guru and brought him and his disciples to Valla where they were served well. The Guru was immensely pleased and blessed the village saying: ‘Valla, bharia rahe galla’ i.e. let there always be abundance of everything in Valla). It was also at this village that the women of Amritsar