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Clock Tower Ludhaina, (Ghanta Ghar)
Ludhiana City’s best icon Clock Tower, popularly known as Ghanta Ghar, is more than 100 years old. It was on October 18, 1906, that the Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, Ludhiana, was inaugurated by the then Lt- Governor of Punjab and its dependencies, Sir Charles Montgomery along with Deewan Tek Chand, the then Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. The rulers of the day had chosen the spot for the tower keeping in mind the proximity of the business centre and the railway station.
The Clock Tower, the prime landmark of the city, has also come up as the representative emblem of Ludhiana. The tower had been erected as a memorial to the silver jubilee year of Queen Victoria’s regime. Although Giani Zail Singh, during his tenure as the Chief Minister of the state, at the insistence of the town’s Jain community, had re-christened it as Bhagwan Mahavir Clock Tower, obviously with political motives, nobody knows it with any other name than Ghanta Ghar.
In 1906, the tower was erected with the contribution of leading people of the city. At that time, it had been erected in the heart of the city, with Chaura Bazar, the courts and the tehsil office in the vicinity. Even today, the Clock Tower area is considered to be the epicenter of the city that has spread out far and wide over the last century.
The original watch, installed nearly when the tower was built by the British, had to be wound manually and was replaced with an electronic watch about twelve years ago as the old watch had warm out.
Over the years, the Clock Tower had become an epicenter of various activities in the city. Besides commercial activities, because of Chaura Bazar being nearby, a lot of political activity would take place there. All political parties, even now, stage dharnas and demonstrations around the tower so that the message is conveyed to maximum people who remain around.
There have been clock towers in other Punjab towns as well, but over the years Ludhiana came to be especially known as the city of the Ghanta Ghar. The clock tower at Amritsar had collapsed long ago. In those times, the common people depended upon Ghanta Ghar to keep a track of the time. Old timers recall very vividly the time when city residents used to synchronize their watches with the Ghanta Ghar clock & also earlier the tower could be seen from a few miles. However, with the pollution increasing in the city and high-rise buildings coming up, the visibility has become low.
Though this Clock Tower is being maintained by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation yet regrettably, due to the poor maintenance, the tower has started showing signs of dilapidation with cracks having appeared from inside. It needs immediate attention, lest an important relic of the Raj disappears.
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