Batala town stands out as an exception due to the efforts of local civil society by establishing heritage tours and transport lines to make the town’s history available for all to explore.
Its weekly heritage bus service, which started in January 2021, has started getting a good response after a dry spell during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Service has been started to highlight the religious and historical heritage of the city. Batala city was established in the year 1465 and it is one of the old cities of Punjab. The city has been witness to great historical events and has a rich history. Today’s young generation knows little about it,” said District Public Relations Officer Batala Inderjit Singh, who has a keen interest in the heritage sites and is a member of the district Heritage Society. The society, with the support of the district administration, has been working to save and create awareness about the heritage of Batala and district Gurdaspur.
The Heritage Society had initially come up with the idea of starting a ‘Batala Heritage Walk’ to connect the locals with many of its heritage sites, such as the palace of Maharaja Sher Singh, historical churches, Jalmahal and Shamsher Khan’s tomb, Old Haveli, Gurdwara Sri Kandh Sahib, Gurdwara Sri Dera Sahib and Sri Kali Mandir, famous Shera Wala Darwaza and old buildings near Hansli Bridge.
But they went ahead with the idea of the bus service instead, which now routes through the historical destinations across the district. The special bus travels to Mojpur, an island village near the Beas river
“Mojpur village is very close to the Beas river and there is an archipelago in the middle of the Beas river which has been developed by the district administration as a tourist destination. We expect that tourists from Amritsar will soon start coming to Gurdaspur for its heritage attractions,” the district deputy commissioner said.