Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Amritsar
Constructed under the supervision of Fakir Azeez-ud-din, Sardar Lehna Singh and Sardar Desa Singh Majithia, nobles of the Lahore, this darbar cost Nanak Shahi (the currency at the time) 1,25,000. A retreat for Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1838 AD), the palace spreads across 84 acres and had a garden of rare plants, trees and flowers, surrounded by a boundary wall, 14 feet high and a moat all around it. This beautiful palace had also several equally beautiful built clusters which the British converted into clubs and libraries.
The entrance of the palace called the Darshani Deori has a unique design.
It has four two-storied towers in the cardinal directions. There are two tanks, one connecting the palace with water channels fitted with fountains and the other with the air-conditioning pipes circuiting the outer walls and the bathing tanks of the double-storied part of the residence. Some of the paintings and the mirror-work on the roofs can still be seen.
Moti Palace, Patiala
The Qila (fort) was also the residence of Patiala dynasty. The residential partwas called Qila Androon or the Inner Fort. Its living apartments have names like Jail Walla Palace for royal prisoners, the Moti (pearl) Palace, the Shish (mirror work) Palace, the Rajmata (Queen Mother) Palace, the Palace of Colours and the Palace of the Moon. The recreational structures were called the Putli (Puppet) Ghar and Bagh Ghar or the Garden House. Its richly painted chambers are peerless.
The Palace has an astonishing underground sewerage system and a unique air conditioning systemin the form of a tunnel which brings cool air into a room from the basement.
Lassi Khana (the royal kitchen) used to feed 35,000 people of all ranks everyday.
The Shish Mahal, Patiala
This palace, built in the reign of Maharaja Narinder Singh (1845-1862), was ensconced in a forest. It had amazing terraces, gardens, fountains and an artificial lake that is connected to Banasar Ghar, where all types of stuffed animals are kept. There are two watch towers in the north and the south. Shish Mahal, the residential palace, is connected with a suspension bridge, a copy of the Lakhsman Jhula at Rishikesh.
Part of the three-storied building is inset with pieces of reflecting mirrors and a large number of wall paintings depicting scenes from Bhagwat Puran and portraits of the Sikh Gurus. The palace has galleries displaying antique paintings, bronzes, sculptures and portraits of the Maharajas of Patiala. The highlight is the gallery which displays the world's largest collection of medals, decoration and orders of various countries.
The best and most impressive Palace in Punjab was that of the ex-ruler of Kapurthala which has now been converted into a Sainik School.
The palaces of Nabha and Faridkot are not open to public.