Pinjore Gardens, a place many of us may have visited many times over. The gardens and their marvel take our breath away, but the story behind them is as intriguing! Nestled in Panchkula district of Haryana, the Pinjore Gardens were built by the Mughal Governor of Punjab, Fidai Khan, around 1760-61 CE. A man with a great eye for beauty and detail, he planned the entire garden and the various springs near it around the natural springs of Panchkula. This made the gardens verdant and the palaces around it, Sheesh Mahal, Rang Mahal and Jal Mahal cool summer havens!
When finally done, the Pinjore Gardens rivalled the other famous Mughal gardens, strewn across the other royal cities of those times. But the man who built it didn’t get to enjoy it for too long. The Pinjore Garden, 7 years after it was made, was abandoned; and for a very unusual reason. A quaint story still survives, how, when at length the work was finished, and Fadai came in state to spend his first summer there, his enjoyment of the garden and its beauties was short-lived; for the Rajas quickly frightened him away. The local king, the Raja of Bhawana dreaded the coming of the Mughal Court to Panchkula and feared losing more land to the Mughals.This led him to come up with an ingenious plan to oust the Governer away.
In the districts around Pinjore, and in fact all along the foot of the Himalayas, occasional cases of goitre were seen. The Raja used this to his advantage. He collected all people suffering from goitre and made them appear as local inhabitants when the Governer visited. People suffereing from goitre wereplaced as palace staff, gardeners and women carrying fruits and flowers to the zenana (women’s quarters). A panic reigned in the zenana; its inmates implored to be removed at once from such a danger; and finally, Fadai Khan had to give way, and take his ladies to some other place less threatening to their beauty. Thus, he was forced to move out of the place he had so painstakingly planned.
Later in the eighteenth century, as the Mughal power declined, Pinjore and the area around it was caught in the cross fire between the plundering Gurkhas who marched in and the local rulers who frantically tried to ward them off. Finally the local Rajas turned to the Patiala Sikhs for help. The Gurkhas were defeated in 1769, and the gardens of Pinjore and the adjoining lands were given to the state of Patiala as payment. Pinjore and its palaces, for many years, served as a holiday home for the Maharajas of Patiala, especially Maharaja Bhupindera Singh.
Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of the princely state of Patiala restored the garden to its former spledour. Later after India gained independence, Maharaja Yadavindra Singh (father of Captain Amarinder Singh) donated the Pinjore gardens to the nation.