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Khalsa College Amritsar: A heritage marvel

Khalsa College Amritsar:  A heritage marvel

The bird-eye view of the building of Khalsa College Amritsar.

It took seven years to build the historic Khalsa College in Amritsar, which is the oldest educational institute in the region. Tribune correspondent Neha Saini and photojournalist Vishal Kumar walk you through the heritage structure

The 126-year-old Khalsa College was conferred the status of a heritage institute by the UGC in 2017. The bird-eye view of the building which is a combination of Mughal, Sikh & Victorian architecture.

Several areas and spaces in the main building are reminisce of a bygone era with Italian marble pillars inspired by the Mughal architecture.

The college library is rich in its collection with over 6,000 books, including new and old manuscripts. In addition, there are more than 115 artefacts depicting the rich Sikh history, including ancient weapons, pictures of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and a range of paintings at the college.

The museum of Sikh history on the campus has several photographs about the history of its founding members and of the time when the college campus turned into a refugee camp during the Partition.

The college imparts regular religious guidelines but there is no compulsion for non-Sikhs. Prayers are held at the college gurdwara in the morning and evening and resident members and students are motivated to attend prayers.

The over a century-old furniture and benches in a few classrooms have been maintained and preserved since the time of its establishment. The furniture has been re-touched to maintain the overall heritage appeal of the college.

The stairway in front of the main entrance to the building is over 120 years old and is carved out in Victorian style of architecture.

The main building's restoration work was carried out three years ago, which includes work on the ceiling of the main hall, Italian marble pillars at the entrance and huge French glass frames and rosewood work on the windows.

One gains entry to Khalsa College, Amritsar, through this royal Gate No. 1.

The 83-year-old British clock installed on top of the main building was repaired recently. It has remained non-functional for more than 13 years now. While the central clock has been restored with its original parts, there are two other vintage clocks that have been kept in the museum and converted into digital clocks.

  • Conferred the status of heritage educational institution by the University Grants Commission in 2017, Amritsar’s Khalsa College is among the 19 colleges across the nation that has been given this significant status.
  • Founded in 1892, the Khalsa College was designed and created by Bhai Ram Singh, a famous architect.
  • The construction was started in 1904 and it took seven years to complete the college building (1911).
  • The college has Mughal style architecture and is a major attraction for not only locals, but tourists visiting Amritsar from various places as well. The college also has a British era clock, the oldest cricket stadium in north India and several residential quarters that date back to the British era.
  • Khalsa College has featured in several prominent Bollywood and Hollywood films, including Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Bride and Prejudice and Shahrukh Khan’s Veer-Zaara and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
  • Some famous alumni of Khalsa College include former leader and Chief Minister of Punjab Partap Singh Kairon, Olympian Balbir Singh Sr, writer Bhisham Sahni, Mulk Raj Anand, freedom fighter and communist leader Sohan Singh Josh. The contemporary alumni include popular Punjabi singers and actors Amrinder Gill and Ranjit Bawa.

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