The capital of the princely State of Kapurthala, the city is often referred to as the ‘Paris of Punjab’ due to its architecture. The monuments and gardens in the city are evident of the Indo-Saracen and French style architecture. The State of Kapurthala was ruled by the Ahluwalia Dynasty but was founded in the 11th century by the Bhati Rajput clan from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The city is a famous tourist attraction in Punjab due to its distinctive architecture and gardens.
Jagatjit Palace was the residence of the erstwhile Maharaja of the State of Kapurthala, Maharaja Jagatjit Singh. The palace was built in 1908 and is has a remarkable Indo-Saracen architecture and is modeled after the Versailles Palace. The Jagatjit Palace is now inhabited by the Sainik School to train boys for the National Defense Academy.
Now this palace in Kapurthala now houses Sainik School. The Maharaja’s palace and gardens were modeled on Versailles. He hired a French architect M. Marcel, was inspired by the palaces of Versailles and Fontainbleau. Its plaster of Paris figures and painted ceilings represent the finest features of French art and architecture. It was built in renaissance style with the sunken park in the front (Known as Baija) and has many other similarities to that of Palace of Versailles. The construction of this palace took roughly eight years (1900-1908).The interior decoration of the palace, which is unique of its kind in India, was carried out by expert European and Indian workmen. The great Darbar Hall is one of the finest in India. The palace is full of imported art work from France, Italy, and Holland.
The roofs of the Palace were made in the ‘beaux-art’ style of the 19th century. Of these, the most impressive is the Mansard Roof with a double slope and oeil-de-boeuf windows like those of the Louvre. Lapis lazuli pillars were imported from Italy, as was the marble for the fireplaces; luxurious furniture came from France and artists were brought from there to paint the ceiling of the reception rooms.
It also houses an interesting collection of artifacts including a mechanical
Clock which shows the moisture, the planetary position, the varying temperatures, and the timings in about 12 countries of Europe and Asia, a rare pneumatic Orchestra with an automatic tune player. The Jagatjit Palace enshrines the finest aspects of Indian and French aesthetics.