A festival was recently held in Norfolk to honor the life of a Sikh king who resided at Elveden Hall near Thetford. The Festival of Thetford & Punjab 2023 marked the 130th anniversary of the
passing of the king, By Capt. Goldingham of London.
Singh ascended to the throne of the Sikh Empire at the young age of five in 1843. As regents ruled on his behalf, they exploited his youth for their own advantage. His reign coincided with both the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars. After the British emerged victorious in the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, Singh was dethroned following the annexation of Punjab. It is worth noting that the British Royal Family acquired the Koh-i-Noor diamond from him when he signed the Treaty of Lahore.
Singh arrived in England in 1854 and became a favorite of Queen Victoria. He embarked on travels across the Continent before residing in various locations in England and Scotland for several years. In 1863, the India Office purchased Elveden Hall for him. Situated on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk, this country house served as the residence of the Maharajah and his family until his passing in 1893.
The Elveden estate has gained popularity among Sikhs in England, with many community members regularly visiting his grave. The festival serves as a tribute to his enduring legacy, and all are welcome to participate in the celebration. Photo by essexcdp.com.