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The Changing Face of Siri Darbar Sahib


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I posted this on Tapoban - in reply to a post


I think I've posted most of the pics here - but if I haven't here they are for the SA sangat .


Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh !!

The Original question in this thread asked if the Darbar Sahib and its surroundings had changed much over the years - Here is a collection of pictures which show the drastic changes that have 'occured' over the years - while many are understandable as all environments change with time and increased sangat, many changes are downright shocking - evenmore so as many of the 'changes' have occured very recently - therefore some of these pictures are extremely upsetting.

These first two pictures are 'before' and 'after' pictures of the small 'pavillion' on the roof terrace of the Darbar Sahib.They show the room before the recent "renovation" and after - it can be seen that the work it not at all sympathetic to the original - very garish acrylic paints have been used - not the more muted 'organic' paints of the original . The same 'restoration' would have happened to the Shish Mahal and Main Darbar if experts such as Gurmeet Rai (Thankfully) had not prevented it.



These next two picture show the Minars of the Ramgarhia Bunga - first after the 1984 Attack and today after the "restoration"



These next pictures show the courtyard between the Akal Takht and the Darshani Deori - The first is from around 1997 and shows the parikarma with intricate geometric patterns - much of it donated by Rich Sardars and Maharajas.

The second picture shows the same parikarma today - paved with plain patterns - all that priceless work lost.



This next picture show Darbar Sahib in the 1880s from a photgraph by Craddock - note all the trees and the Bungay that surround the Sarovar.


These next pictures are by Baker from the 1870s - in the first note the lack of 'jungley' or barriers - and also the dome on the Ramgarhia Bunga this was lost in an earthquake in 1905



This picture is from 1903 - you can see the domes on the Minars and the Bungas


This pictures shows the Baba Atal tower and the many trees


In this picture taken in 1903 from the Baba Atal tower you can see all the Bungay, trees and the Gothic clock built by the British.


The Gothic clock can be seen better in this picture


The Bungas can be seen in this picture


In this postcard the painting on the Darshani Deori can be seen clearly - today it has been covered in gold plates, marble or whitewashed.


This picture shows the Akal Takht in 1967 - note how it is part of the city not separated like today by the government's 'Galiara Project' - houses and the bazaar came up to the parikarma.


The Original 'Thara' of the Akal Takht - this was discovered after the Government rebuilt Akal Takht was demolished in 1984 - it is believed to be the original as built by Guru Hargobind Sahib - replete with mughal motifs and 'Nanakshahi' bricks


These two panoramas show the Darbar Sahib as it is today



This last picture shows the new gold work on the walls of the Harimandir Sahib - it can be seen that the panels lack the ages old patina, priceless craftsmanship and history of the originals.


GurFateh !

Ranjit Singh (Freed)

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh !

Here is a collection of pictures showing the way the Akal Takht has changed.

It can be seen that after the 1984 Army Attack the Akal Takht changed from the original delicate design to one which is much larger and higher.

The pictures also show the lost intricate marble courtyard and the houses and bazaars behind and surrounding the Darbar Sahib Complex which were demolished by the Government in the 'beautifcation' Galiara Project

The Akal Takht in the 1960s


In the 1970s


The intricate marble floor in front of the Akal Takht in the 1970s


The Akal Takht in the 1980s before the Army Attack


The Akal Takht after it was repaired in the "Sarkari" Kar Sewa and just before it was demolished (in 1986 I believe)


Rebuilding underway


A Birds eye view of the rebuilt Akal Takht - in this picture it is apparent that although it appears as if the Akal Takht faces the Darbar Sahib- it infact is at a slight angle and tradition says it faces the Throne of the Red Fort and is in fact Higher than the Delhi Throne - a Direct Challenge to the authority of Delhi.


The Much bigger wider and taller Akal Takht - note the marble floor and 'roundel' have been replaced with a much simpler design - while this floor was damaged by Indian Tanks in 1984 - it was not 'beyond repair' - the old design was so Gorgeous and intricate it deserved to be restored to its former glory.


A closer view of the new Akal Takht


The Interior of the Akal Takht


A selection of views




During the Nishan Sahib Sewa of 2003


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In the above photographs you can see the 'Bungas' that surrounded the Sarovar -- In a cruel Irony we remember these Bungas in our Ardass - an ardas standardized by the SGPC - the exact same SGPC that destroyed and demolished these 'Bungay'

An extract from the Ardas


Translation by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh


Here is a list of 68 Bungas and 12 'akharas' recorded by Giani Gian Singh in his 'Twarik siri Amritsar' published in 1889 .

These Bungas were famous centres of learning as well as mansions of The Sardars - these Bungas taught Gurmukhi, Sanskrit, Gurmatt Sangeet (rabab,Sarangi), gurmukhi calligraphy, and even ayurvedic medicine -- in other words they were like a University of Sikhi - with the Gurdwaras Act of 1925 all these Bungas and properties were transferred to the SGPC - In 1943 the SGPC decided to widen the parikarma and almost all these Bungas were demolished.

Thereby setting a precedent for the subsequent wholesale demolition of Sikh Heritage by SGPC.




Of all these Bungay only The Akal Bunga - The Siri Takht Sahib Akal Bunga (The Akal Takht Sahib) , The Ramgarhia Bunga, and the Brahm Buta Akhara ( not under SGPC control ) remain - however none in their original state- all have been 'restored'

* Taken from The Encylopaedia of Sikhism - Harbans Singh 2002 - Vol 1 pp 415


Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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GurFateh !

This Photograph shows the painted wall surface of the Darshani Deori - It is now covered in Gold Plates as can be seen in the second picture.

Giani Gian Singh claims in his 'twarik-siri-Amritsar' that the Darshani Deori was built in 1776AD - this would mean it was built during the Last rebuilding after the final Abdali destruction - and means it is at least 54 years older than the Darbar Sahib as Gold Plated and 'built' by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.(completed around 1830)

Perhaps this painted surface gives a clue as to what the 'original' - or the 'rebuilt' earlier Darbar Sahib looked like ??



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