2004 World Monuments Watch
Designed around the idea of coexistence of the religious and secular, a core principle of the Sikh faith, the Quila Mubarak remains the most rare and outstanding example of Sikh palace architecture throughout the Punjab and India. Begun by the great Sikh ruler Ala Sing in 1763, the royal residence was embellished over a 150-year period – its five buildings marvels of Mughal and Rajput design. One of the buildings, the Quila Androon, holds a sacred flame brought from the Himalaya. Local lore holds that, as long as this fire burns, the city of Patiala will continue to flourish. After years of inappropriate additions and use as government offices, Quila Mubarak was vacated in the 1960s. Since then, it has fallen into a slow decline. Rising damp, improper replacement of the roof, and structural instability have accelerated its decay. Although the Chief Minister of Punjab recently made some positive moves towards conservation of this site, including the initiating of an action plan based on public-private partnership, more support is needed to attract the funding necessary to conserve this rare Sikh piece.