A town with religious, historical and romantic history, re-established by French adventurer in the 18th century, Sardhana is a lesser known destination situated near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. A land which has seen much social change and shift in powers, Sardhana has always been an important pilgrimage destination in the state. Tracing its history back to the time of Pandavas, it is believed to be the place where they prayed before leaving for Lakshagraha. Being close to Hastinapur, the town serves as a pilgrimage destination and also a colonial reminder, courtesy of its re-establishment during British rule.
Seldom do you find a place which is so steeped into a mythology which is further re-established in the later years. Sardhana is one of them. Having its mention in the mythology of Mahabharat, Sardhana was established by a French adventurer Reinhardt Sombre, who was married to Begum Samru. Sardhana was the capital of Begum Samru who was the only Catholic ruler in 18th century India.
A jagir that was awarded to the French adventurer by Najab Khan of Bengal, Sardhana was once known for its mentions in mythology, Mahabharata. It was believed that Pandavas prayed here before leaving for Lakshagraha. Having its origin in Hindu mythology, Sardhana witnessed an overhaul during the era of Begum Samru, who constructed many Catholic churches in the area. While Uttar Pradesh doesn’t have a significant Christian population, Sardhana was the first place in India to have built a Catholic structure.
Located in Uttar Pradesh, off the traveller radar, Sardhana is a Christian pilgrimage destination which exhibits the coexistence of diverse culture and religion. While India has always been a land of diverse culture and religion coexisting, it’s the places like Sardhana which affirms such narratives. The major attractions in the district are the Church of Sardhana and Basilica of Our Lady of Grace. While many visit Sardhana for its religious heritage, one can also explore the centuries-old Havelis. The most famous ones are Anthony Kothi and The Begum’s Palace. Anthony Kothi was the home of the architect of the town while The Begum’s Palace was home to Begum Samru. A town of diverse heritage and culture, Sardhana definitely upholds the motto of unity in diversity.
A lesser-known pilgrimage destination in Uttar Pradesh, Sardhana is known for its Catholic heritage and diverse culture. While one enjoys the divinity and tranquillity of the churches in Sardhana, they can also explore the centuries-old palaces in Sardhana.