Malerkotla district takes its name from the erstwhile princely state of ‘Maler Kotla’. Its history can be traced back to the 15th century and to Haider Shaikh commonly called Shaikh Sadr-ud-din, Sadr-i- Jahan, a Sarani Afghan of Daraband in Khurasan.
Shaikh Sadr-ud-Din , a disciple of Pir Rukn Alam of Multan(The States Gazetteers, Maler Kotla State,1904) was renowned for his piety. He had settled at Bhumsi on the banks of a tributary of River Sutlej. Behlol Lodhi had halted there when on his way capture Delhi, with his Wazir Hamid Khan. He is said to have had a chance meeting with Shaikh Sadar-ud-Din.In this meeting Shaikh Sadar-ud-Din is said to have prophesied success of Behlol Lodhi in his campaign. Behlol Lodhi on becoming the Sultan gave his daughter Taj Murassa Begam, in marriage in 1454 A.D. with, a suitable dowry in a tract of land containing 12 large and 56 small villages, to Shaikh Sadr-ud-Din.Thus was laid the foundation of the habitation of Maler.
‘Kotla’, was founded in 1657 century by Bayzid Khan, a descendant of Haider Sheikh and father of the most well known of the Maler Kotla Nawab’s Sher Mohammed Khan.
The special relationship between Sikhs and Malerkotla goes back to the period when the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, was engaged in a series of battles with the oppressive Mughal rules of the region and Sher Mohammed Khan was the Nawab of Maler Kotla . Sher Mohammad Khan a General in the Mughal Army, who actively participated in the military campaign against Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, though having lost his brother and nephew in the battle of Chamkaur is said to have expressed his opposition to bricking up alive of the two young Sahibzadas of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, Zorawar Singh (aged nine years) and Fateh Singh (aged seven years), by the Subedar of Sirhind, Wazir Khan in 1705 and is said to have walked out, refusing to be a part of what he declared to be opposed to the tenets of Islam .
It is said that he uttered ‘haa’ or ‘hai’ in anguish of the punishment imposed on the two Sahibzadas. This became known as ‘Haa da Naara’.
On learning of this, Guru Gobind Singh blessed the Nawab and the people of Malerkotla with peace everlasting. This incident has been narrated over the years and gave Malerkotla a special place in the Sikh narrative. Gurudwara ‘Haa da Nara’ was built to commemorate this act of Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan.
Malerkotla survived in alliance with the neighbouring Sikh state of Patiala ,though much reduced in area from its heydays and no doubt helped by the blessings of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji.. Thereafter it continued under British protection till 1947 when it became the only Muslim majority Sikh state in East Punjab. After the dissolution of the princely states in 1948, Malerkotla became a part of P.E.P.S.U. or Patiala and East Punjab States Union . P.E.P.S.U. itself was dissolved in 1954 and Malerkotla became a part of Punjab.
Malerkotla is historically recognized for being a rare scene of communal harmony during the partition in 1947. In the darkest hour of partition, when the whole of East Punjab, including the princely states of Nabha, Jind and Patiala, was engulfed in a frenzy of communal violence, Malerkotla remained calm. In the popular imagination, Guru Gobind Singh’s blessings ensured that the princely state remained virtually untouched by the communal violence that engulfed the neighbouring areas.
Places of interest
The Shahi Maqbre/tombs of the Nawabs of Maler Kotla including that if Sher Mohammad Khan, who made a unique mark in Sikh history, are situated near Sirhindi Gate Chowk. Many tombs have been carved with marble and some have been beautifully enamelled. The tomb of Haider Shaik or Shaikh Sadar-ud-Din Sadar-i-jahan to which devotees throng from all over the world, is situated in the centre of the town, away from the other tombs and is a living example of inter-religious faith.
The Jama Masjid in the center of the city and near Mohalla Baradri. It was built during the reign of Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan and then Nawab Sikandar Ali Khan .Five old domes built during this period still stand. The exterior of the mosque was built after the partition of the country and is beautifully enamelled.
Diwankhana Sheesh Mehal:
Located at the city’s center point, Sheesh Mahal was the royal abode of the Nawab of Malerkotla and is known for its aesthetic appeal. The royal palace, Diwankhana Sheesh Mahal, was built by Nawab Sikandar Ali Khan and Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan. The glass work on the right side of the two-part Sheesh Mahal was done during the time of Nawab Sikandar Ali Khan after 1857 AD, while the beautiful glass work on the left side was done during the time of Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan around 1909 AD.
During the reign of Nawab Ahmad Ali Khan, a period of progress began in the area, with the construction of the Mubarik Manzil Mahal in the heart of the city, The Mubarak Manzil Palace is a 19th century palace built in the European architectural style. This 150-year-old Palace is one of the unique architectures of Malerkotla. The Mubarak Manzil Palace is in possession of Begum Munnawar un-Nisa, the begum of the Nawab family. Iftikhar Ali Khan, the last Nawab of Malerkotla .
66 kukas were blown away from the mouth of cannons under orders of the then British Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana in January 1872. Kuka Samarak was built to commemorate the 66 Kuka martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the struggle against British rule.
Fort Rehmatgarh was built on this place by Nawab Rahmat Ali Khan around 1850. Court of Nawab Sahib and the royal palace were built inside the fort. Remnants of the fort remain located on land owned by the Ministry of Defence.