BATHINDA (30Â° 14`N, 74Â° 59`E), an old town in the Punjab, was called Vikramgarh during the preMuhammadan period. Tradition ascribes its foundation to Bhati Rao, a Rajput chief who also founded Bhatner, present Hanumangarh, in Rajasthan. The two towns together commanding the area between Hissar and Bikaner known as Bhatiana, land of the Bhattis, also commanded the DelhiMultan route used by early Muslim invaders. The early Muslim historians refer to Bathinda as TabariHind (lit. axe of India). Its great Fort with 36 bastions and turrets rising up to 118 feet above the ground level of the surrounding country, is said to have been constructed by Raja Vinay Pal.
In 1754, the combined forces of Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh of the house of Bhai Bhagatu and Ala Singh, founder of the Patiala family, conquered Bathinda. During the time of Raja Amar Singh of Patiala (1748-82), who occupied it in 1771, it became part of Patiala state. Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala (1798-1845) named the town Gobindgarh after Guru Gobind Singh, though the old name, Bathinda remained in common use. According to Bhai Santokh Singh, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, Guru Gobind Singh, during his stay at Talvandi Sabo visited Bathinda in 1706 to survey the strategic importance of the Fort.
He was told that the Fort had long been deserted, for a demon resided there. The Guru entered the Fort with his Sikhs and the legend has since prevailed that he exiled the demon. Two shrines were established laterone inside the Fort where Guru Gobind Singh had put up, and the other outside it where the Sikhs were encamped. GURDWARA SAHIB PATSHAHl 10, QILA MUBARAK, inside the Fort, a 5metre square domed sanctum, was constructed by Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala. Its interior is decorated with intricate designs in stucco, paint and inset work.
GURDWARA GOBIND NAGAR PATSHAHl 10, in the Haji Ratan locality adjacent to the Muslim shrine of Haji Ratan, was reconstructed during the 1970*s. The main building is a mosaicfloored hall, with a square marbled sanctum marked off by arches in pipaMeaf design topped by multicoloured friezes. Above the sanctum are two storeys of square pavilions with a lotus dome on top. Both these Gurdwaras are managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee through a local committee. Recitation and kirtan of gurbani takes place morning and evening and all major Sikh anniversaries are marked by special divans.
1. Tara Singh, Sri Gur Tirath Sangrahi. Amritsar, n.d.
2. Thakar Singh, Giani, Sri Gurduare Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
3. Ma/va Desh Ratan di Sakhi Pothi. Amritsar, 1968