Saturday, April 21, 2001  

Tales Lost to Time

Malerkotla is one of the oldest princely states in the region, and the tombs of its rulers represent the depth and breadth of the state’s history and culture. These burial places symbolise the values of individuals, communities and the historical periods in which they were constructed. The forms of the memorials are determined by the cultural, artistic and religious sensibilities of the builders, writes Anna B. Bigelow.

EVERY memorial has a story. Some tales are known only to a few beloved and bereaved, and many are lost to time. Others are widely known, indicating the scope of the deceased’s impact on the living. The Shahi Maqbara in Malerkotla contains all types of graves — of rulers and ruled, known and unknown, saints and soldiers. Nearly every nawab since 1712 and many of their relations are buried in close proximity to one another in an amazing complex of tombs unlike any other in eastern Punjab.