The construction of a new “jora ghar” for devotees to deposit their footwear at the Golden Temple complex was stopped after Sikh activists clashed with workers on hearing about historical tunnel-like structures being unearthed while excavating the site in Amritsar on Thursday.
In view of the surge in the number of devotees, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) decided to construct a big “jora ghar” on the Akal Takht secretariat side of the complex and assinged the work to Kar Sewa, a voluntary organisation headed by Baba Kashmir Singh Bhuri Wale. As Kar Sewa volunteers were excavating the site to construct the building’s basement, they found tunnel-like structures made of small bricks — that were reportedly used centuries ago — at a depth of about 25 feet. Considering them to be ordinary structures with no religious or historical value, both SGPC and volunteers decided to carry on with the work.
Prof Balvinder Singh, former head of Guru Ramdas School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, and adviser, Indian Heritage Cities Network, said similar structures were found near Gurdwara Lohgarh a few years ago, but were ignored. “It might be some tunnel linking to the summer palace in Rambagh where Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to stay during his visit to Amritsar. It could also have a link with Akhara Sangal Wala as it is quite lower than the road level. A serious and sincere effort is required to explore and preserve such heritage,” he said.
News Source : The Tribune