Battle standards and cannons from the Anglo-Sikh Wars are housed at Kent's Dover Castle. © Dover Castle
Britain’s first heritage trail celebrating Anglo-Sikh history has been launched in the South East.
The online resource, developed by the Maharajah Duleep Singh Centenary Trust in conjunction with English Heritage, covers museums, galleries and sites around the region where all strands of Sikh history in the UK can be discovered.
Harbinder Singh, Director of the Trust, said: “Despite Sikhs’ high visibility in Britain, the long and remarkable history connecting Sikhs to Britain remains largely unknown and the trail aims to preserve the past whilst inspiring the future and keeping Anglo-Sikh history very much alive.”
Queen Victoria’s ornate Dunbar Room at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight features outstanding examples of Sikh decorative techniques. © Osborne House
The trail highlights sites including Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, which was used as a base to care for wounded Indian troops serving with the British army in World War One. It was believed that the Indian-influenced architecture would provide a suitable place for their convalescence.
Those Indian soldiers that did not survive their injuries were cremated on the South Downs above the town and the Chattri War Memorial was erected there to commemorate their sacrifices.
Osborne House and Dover Castle are also highlights of the trail, explained Tracey Walden, English Heritage Assistant Director of Visitor Operations for the South East: “Visitors to Queen Victoria’s ornate Dunbar Room at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight can see outstanding examples of Sikh decorative techniques … and the Regimental Museum of the Queen’s Regiment at Dover Castle holds Sikh battle standards and cannon from the Anglo-Sikh Wars.”
Wounded Sikh and Hindu soldiers from World War One were housed in Brighton's Royal Pavilion. © Royal Pavilion Brighton
Other artefacts from the Anglo-Sikh Wars, which took place in India from 1840-1849, are preserved at the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Museum (Maidstone), Canterbury Cathedral and Fort Nelson in Fareham.
Visitors to the Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail website can access information on all the locations. The 24 HM Brighton & Hove City Heritage Guide is hosting the South East trail (click here to read it) with a pdf version translated into Punjabi.