Patiala, the abode of traditional Pagri, Parandis, Phulkaris, Patiala Salwar, Jutti and Patiala Peg finds repeated citations in popular modern culture. Though the Hindus of Sirhind were the inaugural inhabitants of Patiala Province, present day Patiala is essentially a Sikh Metropolitan. Yet, the city proclaims a cosmopolitan demeanor and people of all religions, casts and creeds find shelter in this historical civic. Patiala, the city of imperial citadels and commanding palaces has managed to withhold its old world charm and at the same time it has also assumed all the facets of modern style of living. Rightly known as the potpourri of past and present, old and new, ancient and contemporary and traditional and modern, Patiala is a unique amalgam of antiquity and novelty.
The citizens of Patiala boastfully consider themselves the torchbearers of Punjabi culture and heritage. Punjabi being the state language is the most spoken tongue of Patiala. Apart from that, other languages spoken here include Hindi and English. Patiala, the preeminent educational kingpin of North India was the first town in this region to own a degree college. Patiala is the proud seat of the Mohindra College, the first degree college of Northern India and also the first institution in Punjab to receive A+ grade from NAAC. This college was established in the year 1870. Adding to this, Patiala is also a home to a number of premier educational institutes of the state such as Punjab University, Mohindra College, Thapar University, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Government Medical College, and many others.
Patiala, the axis of the state merchandise has also earned the status of the sports pivot of the state of Punjab. With the foundation of Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NIS) here, Patiala has directly come into the lime light. The city Patiala is also the patron of one of the most eminent Gharanas of vocal Indian and Pakistani Classical Music; Patiala Gharana. Renowned for musical forms such as Ghazal, Thumri and Khyal, this Gharana has spread the name of Patiala in every corner of the country and globe. Pioneered by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh Khan, Patiala Gharana was supported and encouraged by the royal family of Patiala. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was the prolific singer of Punjab who achieved world wide fame and brought glory to the Patiala Gharana as well as Indian Classical Music.
All the chief festivals celebrated in India such as Holi, Diwali, Dushera, and the major festivals of Punjab State like Baisakhi and Guru Purab are celebrated in Patiala with ultimate grandeur and enthusiasm. Baisakhi, the most important festival of Sikhism and the culture of Punjab is celebrated in the honor of the foundation day of Khalsa Panth. Khalsa Panth was established by Guru Gobind Singh in the year 1699 at Anandpur Sahib. Moreover, Baisakhi is also the harvest festival of Punjab that marks the beginning of the harvest season. The two unique festivals celebrated only in Patiala are Patiala Heritage Festival and Craft Mela.
Patiala Heritage Festival, commenced from the year 2003 by the Patiala Heritage Society is celebrated in the month of February every year. This is a cultural festival of Patiala that provides a platform for showcasing the various perspectives of art, music and culture of the erstwhile Patiala state. This Heritage festival of Patiala continues for 10 days. Art lovers, knowledge seekers as well as fun enthusiasts from far and wide find their way to Patiala at the time of this Heritage Festival. Craft Mela, the integral part of the Patiala Heritage Festival exhibits and sells the handicraft items and artifacts gathered from every part of the country.
The markets of Patiala are thronged with traditional Patiali items such as Juttis, Juttis with Zari work, Phulkaris, Silk, Jewelry, Colorful Parandis, Patiala Salwars, Punjabi Suits, Pagri, Handloom and Handcrafts, Lacquered Woodwork, Hand-Woven Carpets, Blankets, Woolen Garments, Shawls, Curios, House-Linen and Beaded Rings. Patiala is also distinguished for its delectable cuisine which includes Shahjahani Pulao, Vegetable And Meat Biryanis, Mutter Paneer, Malai Kofta, Dal Makhani, Rajma – Chawal, Rongi, Choley, Kadhi Pakora, Gol Gappas, Samosas, Chilly Chicken, Cream Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Rogan Josh, Bhuna Ghosht, Seekh Kehbab, Beef Karahi, Makki-Ki-Roti, Rumali Roti, Naan, Kulcha, Lachha Paratha, Bhatoora, Kulfi, Malpua, Sheer Korma, Jalebi, Phirni, Ras Malai, Lassi, Sherbets and Patiala Peg.