Located midway between Lahore and Amritsar, Pul Kanjri is associated with the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, around which are sown many tales and legend. The Maharaja is believed to have often camped there for rest and leisure while passing by along with his royal troops. Legend says that he was often entertained by Moran, his favorite dancer or Kanjri. It is said that once when she was coming to perform for the Maharaja, she lost one of her silver sandals while crossings a nearby canal built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to carry water to the Shalimar Gardens of Lahore. Disappointed as she was over her loss, she refused to perform before the Maharaja. The Maharaja immediately ordered a bridge (Pul) to be built over the canal and the place hence came to be known as “Pul Kanjri”.
The township was once a thriving trade center that suffered the brunt of the partition of the Punjab and a short occupancy by Pakistan during the 1971 war before being gloriously recaptured in battle. Pul Kanjri, a UNESCO World Heritage site, now encompasses a ruined baradari, a historic sarovar with a temple, remnants of an old canal, and a mosque that bespeaks its historic and secular concerns.
On Friday during the long Diwali weekend we took the chance to visit Pul Kanjri. First we stopped at Sarhad Chaubara to have lunch and then we continued with our journey to the historic site, where we felt immersed in the ancient time and the beauty, quiet and energy of the ruins.