Bhadaur Fort at Bhadaur town near Barnala is more than 300 years old and belongs to the Bhadaur Chieftain Sardars of Bhadaur. Bhadaur was the only princely town where the royal family held eight residential forts individually. Bhadaur was founded by Chaudhary Rama (father of both Raja Ala Singh and Chaudhary Dhuna). The fort was built in 1686 A.D by Chaudhary Ram Singh, son of Chaudhary Phul Singh . Raja Ala Singh lived here till 1718 before he moved and founded Patiala. His elder brother, Chaudhary Dunna Singh stayed here as head of Bhadaur branch. It is evident from the two imperial Firmans of Aurangzeb by which he was authorised to collect revenue of Rs 85,000 from his brothers including Raja Ala singh. Duna singh was a man of peace and he did not join his kinsmen in rebellion against the Muhammandan empire, by which he was entrusted with authority, as “Chaudhri ”, over Sangrur, Bhadaur and other districts. Bhadaur is the first joint capital of Phulkian dynasty founded by Rama 2nd son of Phul. The princely state of Patiala is rooted to Bhadaur. The family Sidhu Jat, descendants of Chaudhary Phul Singh settled here after conquering the area from muslim invaders, leaving the village of Mehraj, Phul and Dhipali. Ram Singh, the son of Chaudhary Phool established the house of Bhadaur for his sons, the elder one Chaudhary Dunna Singh and the younger one Raja Ala Singh (First Maharaja of Patiala). After spending 17 years in joint family at Bhadaur, Ala Singh moved to Barnala and then founded the city of Patiala. He became the first ruler of Patiala Kingdom and Bhadaur state was left to his elder brother Dunna Singh, whose descendants still live in Bhadaur.

At present, the fort is the property of Sardar Harpreetinder Singh Phoolka alias Hapie, son of Sardar Kuldeepinder Singh Phoolka, the Raisof Bhadaur. He is an alumnus of Punjab Public School, Nabha and graduated in immigration law from Ashton College, Vancouver. At present, he lives in Surrey BC Canada with his wife Aman Phoolka. Hapreetinder Singh inherited the Zenana section (female section) whereas the main part went to his cousins which does not exist now. The fort has about 105 rooms and 15 wash rooms. Some of the portions are not painted in order to preserve heritage of Bhadaur iintt(brick) and original looks.

The Bhadaur Fort stands in its full glory in the heart of Bhadaur, carrying the glorious past. This fort is living history and a fine example of Punjabi ancient culture. The tallest building, this majestic fort stands out and is made of the famous Bhadaur iintt (small bricks). The nearby villages can be seen clearly from the rooftop of the Fort. The walls of the rooms are 6 feet wide, so it remains cool in summers and warm in winters. Planned keeping in mind the weather, the air ventilation here is awesome.

This iconic fort has been witness to many historical events. Akali Phoola Singh, who then became a famous general of the Sikh empire was sheltered here before he was sent to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, annexion meetings of Cis-Sutlej states by British East India Company were held here. Other notable events like the British discussion meeting with Sir Attar Singh Sahib of Bhadaur whether Maharaja Dalip Singh should be permitted to visit India or not, the revolt of 1857 make this place historical. Another event is the war with Marathas when they invaded Patiala. Sardar Chuhar Singh Bhadauria was the Chief in commander of the army expedition against Marathas, and it’s he who repulsed the Marathas from Bahadurgarh. Other events include the invasion on Malerkotla Afghans whose 17 villages were seized by Bhadaur Sardars, Battle of Barnala, Marriage of Bibi Attar Kaur of Bhadaur with Prince Naunihal Singh Of Lahore, the grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh ji. After 1947 riots, Muslim refugees were sheltered in this fort by Sardar Harjang Singh ji. After riots, they were asked to choose where they wanted to live. Those who chose to live in India were given lands and houses by Sardar Harjang Singh and those who chose to go to Pakistan were made to cross the border safely by the gun men of Sardar Sahib.

Bhadaur was home to the Phulkian sardars, who owned and ruled 84 villages. Most of the land in and around Bhadaur belongs to them. The royals of the House of Bhadaur are known as Bhadaurias and Bhadauriye Sardar.

Sardars of Bhadaur were known for their bravery and charity. They have built many religious places like famous Radha-Krishna temple at Ghat in Pehowa in Haryana which is famous for salvation. Sardar Shamsher Singh Phoolka donated 1 kg gold for Sheetla Mata Temple at Bhadaur and famous 11 Rudra Shiv temple Pathran Wali at Bhadaur. It’s very rare to have 11 rudras together. There are brass pipelines connected to the temple from all the forts of Phoolkian family to offer pure Ghee for jyot (holy fire). There are very interesting stories about Phoolka sardars and their justice, bravery, hunting expeditions, style, riches etc. Sardar Chatur Singh Bhadaur was the greatest ruler of Bhadaur. Peoples still sing ballads of his bravery and justice, which are written in the famous book The Legends Of the Punjab written by Sir Richard Carnac Temple.

Written by :-

  • Mrs. Opinder kaur Sekhon
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