Kids Corner


New Entrance Designed For The Darbar Sahib Complex




The experience of visiting the holiest Sikh shrine in the world is set to change for the better with the state government finalising a design consultant for the prestigious Golden Temple Entrance Plaza project.

The Harmandar Sahib attracts over 100,000 visitors on week days alone and is the premier destination for both Sikhs and non-Sikhs from around the world.

Giving details of the final design, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner K.S. Pannu, said: "There are several points of high congregation around the shrine and the selected design will provide safe and convenient access to congregation spaces, ultramodern facilities and ensure smooth pedestrian movement."

Elaborating on the amenities at the plaza, the government bureaucrat who was part of the jury that evaluated design entries, said that apart from a spacious ‘jorrah ghar', all amenities will be underground, including a state-of-the-art interpretation and information centre for tourists.

"Foreigners who visit the shrine have little or no idea about Sikh history and culture. The interpretation centre would sensitize them on the aspects of Sikhism through audio-visual media," he said, adding that a bank, ATM, airport and railway inquiry will also be set up.

Since there is a lot of VVIP movement at the Darbar Sahib, the design provides for a separate lounge at the plaza to accommodate dignitaries and their entourage. An auditorium with a seating capacity of 100 -150 persons would be built so that a visiting dignitary could address the media.

"At present, there is no designated place in the Darbar Sahib Complex for VIPs to interact with mediapersons," he said. Other facilities to be incorporated in the plaza are a multipurpose hall, security and services area, toilets and other public conveniences.

When asked whether the open space in front of the entrance will have marble flooring, he said that the experts would have to be consulted for the flooring keeping in mind the harsh summer. "The idea is that devotees shouldn't have to face any inconvenience while walking up to the shrine," he said. "Tree species that offer a green canopy would be planted so that pilgrims could rest in the shadows during the harsh summer," he added.

Interestingly, the 1.75 acres of land over which the plaza would come up could also serve as an evacuation space in case of an emergency. "The plaza will complement the glory and grandeur of the Harmandar Sahib and be a befitting entrance to the internationally-acclaimed monument of faith."

The design of the plaza was finalised after an international design competition for which 21 entries were received. Design Associates Inc. from Noida, India, won the first prize of Rs 500,000, followed by Design Cell, Gurgaon, and L&D Studio, New Delhi.


[Courtesy: Tribune]

January 20, 2011 

Conversation about this article

1: Chintan Singh (San Jose, California, U.S.A.), January 20, 2011, 12:56 PM.

Although all these ideas sound wonderful - especially, "Tree species that offer a green canopy would be planted so that pilgrims could rest in the shadows during the harsh summer," - however, I feel concerned about the hefty price tag this is going to come with. Is this where the community funds should go? I am not sure if this is ultimately going to benefit ordinary members of the sangat or this is an unnecessary extravagance to please the VVIP's and their entourage. Moreover, I wonder how many shop-keeppers, bookshops, and small dhabas outside the main entrance that currently depend upon the business earned from visiting pilgrims, are going to be uprooted in the remodeling of the entrance.

2: Brijinder Singh (New York, U.S.A.), January 20, 2011, 1:13 PM.

I think all proposals will be beneficial except for the separate lounge for "VVIP's" and dignitaries. This is supposed to be a holy place. We shouldn't turn it into a stage for politicians and celebrities to have photo ops. All people who come to the Darbar Sahib should be treated as equals, and should only come as pilgrims. No one is more important than anybody else.

3: Surinder (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), January 20, 2011, 1:18 PM.

On the paragraph on the needs of the "VVIP" and the one on the "VIP" and their need to address the Media: Should not the focus be on the devotee, and the devotee alone? How about banning tobacco in the city completely?

4: K. Singh (Boston, MA, U.S.A.), January 20, 2011, 2:52 PM.

I agree with the above, the ideas sound good, but what is a VVIP? We all know the saakhis of how the Gurus first made the VVIPs first go through langar so that they could leave their pretentions and ostentations behind. There were no exceptions. I do not feel comfortable with having a special area for VVIPs ... as for the media, this is a gurdwara, not a place for a VVIP to make himself/ herself feel important and release a statement about it. As for the smoking part above, I do not agree. The community at large can do what they feel. The city does not have any kind of "Vatican" status, so we cannot enforce our own rules on the city. Plus, we need to change ourselves first; how can we prevent such things in Amritsar when many of the devotees use intoxicants?

5: M. Banwait (Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada), January 20, 2011, 3:31 PM.

The idea of a VVIP area is excellent. With all the security scares these days, it's important to have "secure" areas. As for the new expanded entrance, it's about time the area around the complex is updated and brought up to par with the highest standards.

6: Gurteg Singh (New York, U.S.A.), January 20, 2011, 10:34 PM.

The S.G.P.C., which controls our gurdwaras, has already ruined and degraded the unique values of Sikhism to please their political masters. Just last week in Muktsar, a separate langar was prepared and served for Akali leaders. It is a shame and a disgrace that these minions are going to destroy the concept of equality which is the fundamental pillar on which Guru Nanak built the foundation of our religion and which is exemplified by Sangat and Pangat. No one is a VIP when he or she comes to a gurdwara. Every one must come as a humble devotee. The building of a special VIP lounge should be totally opposed by all Sikhs. Harmandar Sahib is a gurdwara and not a tourist spot. It is about time that Sikhs should free our institutions from this corrupt and cowardly gang of masands and pujaris.

7: Bal Singh (London, United Kingdom), January 21, 2011, 6:13 AM.

Although I too am uncomfortable with the VVIP pandering in a religious place with a long history of embodying egalitarian principles, I can't help but think that maybe the S.G.P.C. crowd are in some way learning from the Obama debacle. It is scary because one can easily imagine this becoming another platform for the continuance of the type of grubby politics that characterizes Punjab and India today. But overall, an overhaul of the areas surrounding Harmandar Sahib seems to be long overdue. I hope it is done tastefully and not in a garish, tacky fashion. Let's hope for the best.

8: Surinder (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), January 21, 2011, 10:58 AM.

Why is the "Amritsar Deputy Commissioner" involved in this effort at all? This should not be a government's job or concern. The Government of India has no business in this remodeling effort. Secondly, I think they are referring to the possible use of marble. Unfortunately, we have converted all our gurdwaras into jam-packed marble infrastructures. I go to gurdwaras where there is marble, and it literally burns your feet in the summer. It is hardly a material to be used on the floor. That is why they want trees, which is good, but please have mercy and don't do something garish and impractical. Keep the Government of India out, and please treat each and every devotee as a VVVV-VIP.

Comment on "New Entrance Designed For The Darbar Sahib Complex"

To help us distinguish between comments submitted by individuals and those automatically entered by software robots, please complete the following.

Please note: your email address will not be shown on the site, this is for contact and follow-up purposes only. All information will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Sikhchic reserves the right to edit or remove content at any time.