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Sri Darbar Sahib - old photographs


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GurFateh !

Here are some beautiful old views of Darbar Sahib -

from http://www.santsipahi.org/dsold/

- I particularly like the Aerial View from 1950 - you can see the city of Amritsar came up to the parikarma - not like today where the historic bazaars have been demolished and replaced with the Govt 'Galiaara' project .

Also you can see the Historic Bungas around the parikarma , the Original Akal Bunga/ Takhat Sahib - the Twin Ghanta Ghars (Clock towers) are in their unwhitewashed state. Also you can see the modern 'Langar Hall' Enterance is not there, neither is the 'Langar Hall' itself.

Perhaps a SA member could explain what the little 'Jetty' like structures in front of both the Ghanta Ghars are ?

The Kar Sewa picture from 1923 is also beautiful - note the Miri Piri Nishan Sahibs are in a slighty different location from today.

Enjoy !

Aerial view from 1950



The Gothic Clock tower built by the British










Kar Sewa Sarovar 1923


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Yes, Unbreakable, the gothic clock was demolished by the SGPC and replaced by the Twin Ghanta Ghars (clock towers) that house the Library and Museum and act as the main Northern and Southern Gateways to Darbar Sahib ,around about the 1940s.

The Gothic clock was built by the British in 1867AD after they had demolished the Palatial Bunga of Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh - grand son of M.Ranjit Singh

See a pattern when a "New" worldy power takes over the Darbar Sahib they try to stamp their authority on it - But these "powers" come and go but 'Jugo Jug Atal' Guru Sahib remains forever !

Here some more pictures of the Historic 1923 Sarovar Kar Sewa - from the collection of Satpal Danish



*from The Golden Temple - Mohinder Singh, Sondeep Shankar - NIPS - 2002 - Page 84-5

Enjoy !

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Dear Pheena Sahib ,

The Harmandir Sahib as built by Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan sahib has not been very well documented in terms of style and architecture - although the essence is well known ie the 4 doors and parkarma.

This structure was completed between 1588 and 1604 AD , however it suffered at the hands of the Muslim invaders. Abdali having blown up the temple and defiled it as many as seven times - the last time in 1764 - Since then it has been in the hands of Sikhs - Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and the Misal daars rebuilt the Darbar Sahib between 1764 and 1776

It is believed that most of the design still remains - Maharaja Ranjit Singh it can be argued ,would not of radically changed the design - when the Darbar Sahib has such a Treasured place in the hearts of Sikhs.

The Darshani Deori is said to date from the Misal reconstruction - if you look carefully - I know you won't believe me , but next time have a good look- the gateway is 'off centre' which implies it was built before the Ranjit Singh renovations. (personal theory of mine !!)

The Ranjit Singh renovations started in 1802 and continued till 1839

They took the form of Gold Plating inlay and marble work,gach and tukri work - all of outstanding workmanship as Ranjit Singh had the best artists available - having conquered areas such as Kangra and the hills.

However it should be remembered that this was a joint effort with other Misaldaars and Sikh Sardars

Giani Gian Singh gives the expenditures as ;

Maharaja Ranjit Singh 1639000 rupees

Bhangi Sardars 3355000

Sardar Kharagh Singh & Kanwar Naunihal Singh 941000

The Ranees of Ranjit Singh 185000

Sikh Sardars 128000

other Sikh Sardars 163000

This account is for the gold only and doesnt include the marble floors and walls or inlay work

Many others contributed - the parikarma being given by the Maharajas of Kapurthala and Patiala as well as Maharaja Sher Singh

The List goes on

Many times I have been told that I keep harping on about the past - and keep blaming the SGPC -

That is not my intention - Darbar Sahib is not a Museum - it is constantly changing - -- All I ask is that the changes are brought about through consultation and using the Best Artists available - just as it was in the past

I think I've rambled on for too long - what was the point I was making - was there a point ?

anyway - I'd better shut up !!


Ranjit Singh.

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so what in your opinion did the Dabar sahib look like before the marbling and gold plating?

was the causeway leading from the darshani deori to the dabar sahib made of bricks with a layer of scread (thin layer of cement/concret) as the parkarma was not made untill a later date and it with be like most of punjab dusty/sandy so therefor there would of bn a little pool so that you are able to wash your feet as there is today at the entrance's to the dabar sahib

as would the dabar sahib and the darshani deori be simular to that but a coat of un-painted plaster or expoxed brick work?

Ranjit singh iam asking for your view on this as well and those that wish to add thier comments as it's intresting to know and get a rough plan of what the dabar sahib looked like before the marble and gold work that was done by Raja Ranjit singh

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GurFateh 'Cra/y'

Like I have said before I believe the basic structure and design of the original Harimandir probably differed very little from the one we see today. I say this because I believe it is unlikely the design of such an important Site - one which is replete with such important Sikh Symbolism - the four doors, being built lower than the surrounding area , and the 'pontoon' bridge parikarma - one which is held with such ferocious affection by Sikhs - would have been changed by M. Ranjit Singh.

The Original building would have been made of bricks, as sources say Guru Sahib set up Kilns especially for this - and 'plastered' with lime plaster.

When the Akal Takht was rebuilt after the army attack and Govt repairs of 1984 - the original Thara Sahib was revealed - Gurmeet Rai has said this is what remains of the Original Platform as built by Guru Hargobind Sahib . Here is a picture


It can be seen that the structure is built of small 'NanakShahi' bricks covered with lime plaster and has Mughal style motifs painted on it. I believe the Harimandir would of been Like that - a brick structure of 3 storeys and a dome with frescoes and motifs painted on the walls . However that is just my opinion. !!

Many people ask what the Harimandir Sahib would of looked like before the Gold - many times there is an underlying implication that the Gold is some how un Sikh , 'vulgar' - ostentatious or not in line with Pure Sikh thought. However it must be remembered that the Harimandar is The Darbar Sahib - The Royal Court of Guru Sahib - it Houses Sahib Guru Granth Sahib .The idea of a simple unassuming building does not take account of Darbari Rasm. The Darbari Rasm - or Royal trappings- associated with Guru Sahib were started by Guru Arjan Sahib - who slept on the floor while the Adi Granth was enthroned on a Bed.- It can be seen that even before the Gur Gaddi was bestowed on the Adi Granth Sahib , Guru Sahib was treated as the King of Kings - Bani Parmeshwar.

The Darbari Rasm included (and includes today) - The Chaur Sahib and attendant , The Chandoa / Canopy, Dandot/Matha Tek, Sukhasan etc.

All this Darbari Rasm is universal to all Royalty - The Queen (of England) also sits under a canopy ( Baldachin) , has attendents and no one turns their back on her.

If we look at the architecture and maryada of Darbar Sahib - we can see it is like a Mughal or Rajput Court - Guru Sahib is brought with great fanfare from Kotha Sahib - to the Darbar Sahib. Every one is given Darshan- in the equivilant of the Mughal 'Diwan-i-am'

On the first floor is the Sheesh Mahal which is like the Diwan-i-Khas - and on the Roof is the Pavillion which is like the Naulakha in a Mughal Palace.

If we look at the Lahore fort - it has the diwan -i-am . This is for general audience

It has the Diwan-i- khas and Sheesh mahal for special audience and then the Naulakha for private audience . The moving from one to another involved great pomp and show.

This Darbari Rasm is echoed in Darbar Sahib.The Prakash and Sukhasan is like the granting of audience in a royal court - the monarch doesnt sit on the throne all day , s/he retires to their private chambers and only grants audience at set times.

All these Royal markers - reinforce the fact the Harimandar is the Darbar of Guru Sahib - and are integral to the design of the Building - all of which leads me to say the the Darbar Sahib of today only differs from the original in terms of the Gold and Marble - its basic design is unlikely to have changed.

'Cra/y ' you raise the point of the parikarma - it is possible the parikarma was marble - the wide parikarma of today is quite recent - it used to be a mixture of marble and 'screed' and more narrow.

If we take the example of Lahore Fort again - it has brick paths that are over 500 years old.

Perhaps that was what was used ?

Here is a picture of the Lahore Fort Paths


Once again these are just my opinions - apologies if this offends anyone - that is not my intention.


Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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I agree with unbreakable, its annoying as hell as you sit in parkarma just trying to put your concentration into the bani and suddenly you get subliminal images of Sardar Karam Singh donated xxxx amount.. and in memory of their beloved son blah blah singh family big head donated xxxxx amount..

Sometimes you wonder what the hell would happen if we decided to stick t shirts on the parkarma security sevadars (guys in yellow with spears) with coke cola, or peoples names..

Maybe we can ask addidas to sponser the dastar of the head granthi..

Just a matter of time before people have their names on maharajs ramalla

and boy just image if these guys who allow families to buy a piece of the parkarma, would allow people to tattoo their names on their daughters forheads.

Maybe im going OTT.. but man it pisses ya off..

Secondly this thread reminded me of a request to anyone going india soon, would like someone to get photos and confirm the crap I saw my self, (my photos didnt come out as well as I would have liked)

On the final set of stairs in the harmandir sahib the tight narrow ones which run up to the roof, the original floral patterened paint work has faded, and in many places people have carved love messages into the walls such as dinky loves pinky.. and crap like that.

Also the same was seen in Baba Atal near the windows (all white paint), Its messed up but at the same time its expected as whats the difference between someone engraving memory of beloved son into a marble slab, and another engraving with a knife into a wall their love for their pinky and dinky.

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