Fateh Burj or The Victory Tower was constructed to mark the third centenary of the historical battle of Chapparchiri fought in 1710. The tower has an octagonal structure. This 328 feet high Burj, India’s highest, stands as a symbol of historical victory of Sikhs led by the great general Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. The Burj has three storeys, the first at 67 feet, second at 117 feet and third at 220 feet height. Its top is decorated with a dome and a khanda of stainless steel. The first storey commemorates the victory of Samana, the second storey for the victory of Sadhaura and the third for the victory of Sirhind which was fought at Chapparchiri.
The Mughal and Sikh forces met outside Sirhind in Chappar Chiri village. The Mughals were armed with artillery, well-equipped cavalry, and large infantry whereas the Sikhs had cavalry and infantry but no artillery. Wazir Khan deployed his cannons and lined up his elephants, cavalry and skilled warriors at a plain site beyond which lay the rough landscape of Chappar Chiri (chappar – pond, chiri – cluster of trees) and tibbas (mounds). On the eve of war Baba Banda Singh Bahadur reached the site in the evening. He climbed the highest tibba to take stock of the enemy forces, assessed his strengths, and drew a strategy for the war. The tibbas provided defense from cannon fire and the chin forced the enemy to engage in close quarter fighting.
The statues on the mounds symbolize the war of that time wherein the generals were commanding the Khalsa army fighting with the Mughal army of Wazir Khan (Governor of Sirhind). In the battle, Sikhs gave a crushing blow to the Mughal Empire. Wazir Khan (Suba Sirhind) was killed in the battle and Sikhs established their first Raj in Punjab. The statues of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji and his five generals- Bhai Fateh Singh, Bhai Aali Singh, Bhai Maali Singh, Bhai Baaj Singh, and Bhai Ram Singh have been placed in this memorial which is spread over 20 acres of land, was completed at a cost of nearly Rs 36 crore in just 11 months.
I just planned to pay a visit to this historical site. To my surprise, the approach roads were potholed and were dilapidated with no road markings. Six years since it was officially inaugurated with much fanfare, the memorial now lies in a state of neglect. The tower was earlier lit in three stages by color changing programmable lights but at present, it was nowhere to be seen. However, the benches installed for sitting purpose have an antique copper carving look which is indeed picturesque.
I hope the authorities might wake from the slumber and start maintaining this masterpiece. It is just 18 km from Chandigarh International Airport.