Kuri Bagh Tomb

On Edwards Road, close to the Mausoleum of Mauj Darya Bukhari, where once Kapurthala House was located, was a garden known as Kuri Bagh, or 'daughter's garden.' The garden was sold by Maharaja of Kapurthala before Independence and converted into a group of flats. According to historian Baqir, even after the construction of flats, the name of the garden was popular among old inhabitants.Kuri Bagh Tomb

Today, the name Kuri Bagh is unknown; however, there is a building known as Munshi Chambers, which provides access in its rear to a yard containing a tomb of Mr. Allard and his daughter Marie Charlotte. The structure with its distinctive Sikh styled fluted cupola is an important monument of the period, having been built by a French general in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. According to Latif, the tomb was built by Allard for his daughter in the garden attached to his house, which on that account came to be called Kuri Bagh (Punjabi 'kuri' means girl or daughter). The tomb, dating to 1827 carries the inscription: "Cette tombe a ete construite en 1827 sur l'ordre du chevalier general Allard sahib bahadur pour sa fille Marie Charlotte que dieu lui aporte sa benediction an paradis." The tombstone above the grave reads: "Marie Charlotte, decedee le 5me Avril, 1827, fille de M. Allard de St. Topiz Chivalier de la Legion d Honneur General de la Cavalerie".

Jean Francois Allard (1785-1839) was one of the European adventurers employed by Ranjit Singh to train the Sikh troops against the growing threat of the British East India Company. He had arrived at the court of Ranjit Singh in 1822 along with Ventura, and received a command in the cavalry with an annual fixed salary of Rs. 50,000. Allard, together with Ventura, Court and Avitabile, is credited with instilling a high level of discipline in Ranjit Singh's troops—the brigades commanded by them were considered the elite force of the Khalsa (Sikh) army.

Always a favorite of Ranjit Singh, on his death Allard's body, was brought with full ceremonial from Peshawar, with salutes being fired at every principal station through which the cortege passed on its route. On arrival at Lahore, the three mile stretch from Shahdara to Anarkali was lined with troops who fired minute guns during the progress of the body to its last destination.

*Photo courtesy of Syed Yasir Usman.

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