Karnal or the Home of Karna, a prime character of the Hindu mythology Mahabharata, is now a part of the northern Indian state of Haryana. Karnal is also the institutional hub of some important educational institutions like CSSRI (Central Soil Salinity Research Institute), DWR (Directorate of Wheat Research), IARI (Indian Agricultural Research Institute) and NDRI (National Dairy Research Institute). With the river Yamuna flowing on the western side of it Karnal is a fertile land. It is also known as the ‘Rice Bowl of India’ for being the producer of Basmati rice of premium quality. Apart from its rice production Karnal also leads in production of wheat and milk. Karnal is the midpoint of Delhi and Chandigarh on National Highway 1(NH1), also known the Grand Trunk Road. Karnal has witnessed reigns of many rulers that have come and gone but the city stands still and speaks the stories of the past and evolution of India with time. Here is a list of top 5 places that are a must see when in Karnal.
1. Karnal Lake
With the mythological resemblance, Karnal Lake is a famous tourist attraction of the city. It is believed that Karna, a character of the epic Mahabharata used to bathe here in the tranquil waters of this lake. The lake is blessed with a beauty that deceits its existence in a busy city. The lake has an island in the centre. A lot of birds get attracted to this place because of the lush foliage of the island. The facilities of boating are also available here for the tourists. Locals also love to have leisure walks on the periphery of the lake. With the birds quenching their thirst here and the skies being reflected in the lake the place will mesmerize the onlooker.
2. Cantonment Church Tower
Being a fine example of the unique architectural style of the British era, Cantonment Church Tower stands tall in Karnal. The tower is about thirty-five meters high and has an ornamental cross on the top. The tower is visible from a radius of 7 km around the church. The church was dedicated to St. James, a disciple of Jesus Christ. The church got dismantled when the cantonment was shifted from Karnal to Ambala however the tower was permitted to stand here. Adjacent the tower is a cemetery of the European soldiers on the left side. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has certified this Cantonment Church Tower to be a historic monument of the country.
3. Qualander Shah’s Tomb
Form Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Built in the memory of Bo-Ali-Qualander Shah, the famous Muslim sage, this place of honour was constructed by Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, the ruler of Delhi. The well sculpted memorial was constructed in marble. The tomb is important because of the stories that are related to Qualander Shah. This Sufi sage was famous for his new-age thinking and his ideas that have been respected and appreciated by people of all religions. The saint was said to be blessed with miraculous powers. The tomb premises are fenced by walls and hoses beautiful fountains and lush garden surrounding the tomb.
4. Karnal Fort
Built in the mid eighteenth century by Raja Ganpat Singh, Karnal Fort now houses an important office of the city. Being conquered by different Emperors in different eras, Karnal Fort has seen glorious victories and unimpressive declines of the rulers. Conquered by the Marathas from Raja Bhag Singh, Karnal Fort has been a witness of the tussles between the Sikhs and the Marathas until Karnal was overtaken by the British. The fort was used a jail during the initial British-Raj. The stately construction of the fort is outstanding and it is known as the Old Fort by the locals.
5. Pukka Pul
Pukka Pul is also known as Sayad’s Shrine is located at a distance of 7 km from the main city of Karnal and is considered to be a sacred monument by the Muslims. The shrine is in the vicinity of the Mughal Bridge and is known for having powers to counter the ghostly spirits and cure serious diseases. Every Thursday the shrine is illuminated with lamps. Devotees around the world come here to seek the blessings so as to lead a positive life ahead.
Karnal has been a city of historical importance from the time of Mahabharata. The place has been a spectator of different eras and been a part of the Indian history. Karnal or the Karnabhoomi will leave you mesmerised with the ancient stories that the city contains.
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