Mai Ji Di Sarai (Inn)- A marvelous structure of erstwhile Princely State of Patiala was built by Maharani Aas Kaur, wife of erstwhile Princely State of Patiala ruler, Maharaja Sahib Singh, to provide resting place for the tired travelers, in the late 18th century. She got a serai (Inn) constructed at the main entrance to the then princely state of Patiala. She built the building for the comfort of the visitors. Maharani Aas Kaur observed that visitors to the state, who came from far off places had no place to rest. At that time the Sanauri Adda side of the city, which today falls at the rear, used to be the main entrance to the Sirhindi Bazaar, a hub of trading activity. The Maharani was a great philanthropist, used most of her treasure to raise the serai.
The serai was mainly a haveli was built in 3.12 Acre. It is one of the beautiful examples of Sikh architecture which has few parallels in the form of brick masonry. Mughal influence with minutely carved façade, pointed arch windows, decorative cornices, arch niches, walls are made up to Lahori bricks with lime mortar and plaster, flat roof with jack arch roofing. Sikh masons took cues from the Rajasthani architecture and also evolved their own designs. Uniquely designed parks in the haveli can compete with the world famous havelis of the Rajasthan. The calm and peaceful environments all-around of this place show the importance of this place.
Nowadays it is used as an interrogation center by the CIA (Criminal Investigating Agency) wing of the Patiala Police. The haveli was given to the Police Department sometime after Independence. The haveli, because of its fort-like structure, is ideal for interrogation of criminals. During black days and even today, the mere mention to a criminal that he would be taken to Mai ji Di serai, is enough to elicit information.
The dilapidated condition of Mai Ji Di Sarai-A marvelous structure of erstwhile Princely State is cause for concern. If not preserved properly, on time the Serai would soon slip into the long list of monuments which have passed into oblivion due to neglect.
But if preserved, this marvelous structure can be developed into the tourism interest site, like other monuments in this erstwhile princely state.