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GurFateh !

Greetings to all Sangatan on this Maghi Mela weekend - Lakh Lakh Pranam to all the Mahaan Shaheeds of Muktsar.

This post deals with the fast disappearing architectural heritage of Sikhi and Punjab, many of you may have seen Amandeep Madra Bhai Sahib's recent campaign to raise awareness about the destruction of historic buildings at Hazoor Sahib - if you haven't done so already please visit the UKPHA site and leave your comments on this page - and make your voices heard ;


It is our duty to save this priceless heritage - or we will be remembered as the generation that stood by as all this destruction took place.

Much of the built heritage of Punjab has been lost, neglected or changed beyond recognition , it is my hope in this post to show not only some of what has been lost and changed, but also to show a little of what can be saved. I find these pictures distressing as many of the buildings mark pivotal moments in Sikhi - many built by the Guru Sahibs themselves or by important Sikh Heroes and personalities and they have been changed beyond recognition in the name of Kar Sewa . If we all make enough 'noise' and make an effort to visit the neglected sites - the authorities will see that people do care (and will see there is money to be made !!!) .

This first picture is of the 'Kachi Garhi' at Chamkaur Sahib - also known as 'Garhi Sahib' and 'Tilak Asthan' - the site commemorates a hugely significant event in Sikh History - it is here that Guru Sahib's bachan that his Singhs would fight thousands was realised - it is the scene of the Shaheedi of the Older Sahibzadas and Guru Sahibs Beloved Singhs. The popular image of Chamkaur Garhi is of large fort - however it was a kachi garhi - more like a strong house with thick walls and one secure entrance.

It is known as 'Tilak asthan' as it is here that Guru Sahib accepted the Benti of the Panj Piare and left the 'garhi' - thereby conferring the 'Guru-ship' onto the Guru Panth - The Khalsa.

This picture Shows the original 'Kachi Garhi' with the Gurdwara built by the Maharaja of Patiala, Karam Singh


(* from Mahaan Kosh - Kahan Singh Nabha)

This picture shows the Gurdwara as it is today


This picture shows the Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara built by Karam Singh maharaja of Patiala in 1844 AD - the original memorial was built by Banda Bahadur in 1710 over the ruins of Sirhind Fort - the site of the Shaheedi of the younger Sahibzadas.


(* from Sikh Architecture - P S Arshi - 1986)

as it is today


The Gurdwara Katalgarh , Chamkaur Sahib - marks site of the antim sanskar of the Shaheeds of Chamkaur Sahib - built around the 1830s by Raja Bhup Singh of Ropar - it was rare in that it had minarets - symbols of royalty.


(*from Mahan Kosh)

as it is today


The Original Building - Patna Sahib


as it is today


The original KeshGarh Sahib Anandpur


(* both from Mahan Kosh)

This picture of the Baoli Sahib at Goindwal (Amritsar) - shows the decoration on the walls - most of the older buildings have been replaced with modern structures much of the painting and murals have been lost under marble and whitewash.


(* Mahan Kosh )

as it is today


some of the existing murals


These next pictures are from Kiratpur Sahib (Ropar) -

This is the original Gurdwara Sheesh Mahal at Kiratpur - birth place of Guru Harkrishan Ji - named Shish mahal because of the mirror work on its ceiling. - This has been replaced by a modern larger marble building. This was the first building built when Guru Hargobind moved to Kiratpur.


(* from Arshi 1986)

These next pictures show the original buildings of Gurdwara Patalpuri - Kiratpur - cremation site of Guru Hargobind Sahib,Guru Har Rai and Guru Harkrishan.Built by the Maharaja of Patiala - These have been replaced by modern buildings .



as it is today


Gurdwara Manji Sahib ,Kiratpur - this was the house of Bibi Rup Kaur - daughter of Guru Har Rai - it houses the seli topi of Baba SiriChand - gifted to Baba Gurditta and given to Bibi Rup Kaur as part of her dowry - this building was very recently demolished and a new one constructed.


(* from Anandpur - Mohinder Singh 2002)

These next pictures are of Gurdwara Dehra Baba Gurditta , Kiratpur. - this is one of the few sites at Kiratpur that has not been changed as drastically as other sites - access by car has been made easier -but it has been done at the expense of losing some of the fort like construction.This is a unique structure - one that needs to be protected. The site marks the spot Baba Gurditta breathed their last - it was built by Bhup Singh of Ropar and added to by the Maharaja of Patiala.

From a distance Dehra Baba Gurditta looked like a fort


(*From Mahaan Kosh )

The eastern gateway


The Inner entrance


Sectional Plan


The Third Entrance as it is today


This photograph shows Gurdwara Janam Asthan Guru Ram Das Ji in Lahore - you can see the walls are covered in murals


( * from Mahan Kosh)

In this picture you can see that the Gurdwara is in a distressing state today


(* picture posted by 'sat1176' - http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=22474)

These pictures are from around Anandpur Sahib -

This is the Historic 'Baoli' or well that Bhai Ghanaiya Ji drew water from to give to the wounded in battle - near village Mohival


This is the 'Killah Sodhian' - fort of the Sodhis - this is the only remaining example of original fortification in Anandpur - all other traces have been destroyed - this fort is also in bad shape.



So far these pictures show a tale of neglect and destruction - sacred bricks that bear the touch of the Guru Sahibs feet have been covered in marble or demolished but all is not doom and gloom - while sites built by the Guru Sahibs are very rare, they do exist - and they must be protected.

I have saved the best for last - Sri Hargobindpur ( Gurdaspur) and Thatte Khera (Amritsar)

At Thatte Khera Dist Amritsar there is a sarovar built by Guru Arjan Sahib - the Dukhniwaran Jhulan Mahal ('the sorrow removing, swinging palace) - the name comes from the fact the walls of the pavilions 'swing' when they are shaken. This site is unchanged and gives an insight into how the other sarovers built by Guru Arjan may have looked ( such as the Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar) The buildings are plain brick and lime structures with traces of paintings - such a site needs protection as it is undoubtedly exactly as it was when it was built by Guru Sahib and bears the holy touch of Guru Sahib .




(*From Marg Vol 54 No. 4 Gurmeet Rai and Kavita Singh)

Sri Hargobindpur city was built by Guru Hargobind Sahib as his headquarters,it is on a cliff overlooking the river Beas in Gurdaspur district - it is no longer a busy city but it was a thriving city in the 17th century - it shows that Guru Sahib was a great statesman - it is an extremely well planned out city with a grid type design ,a thick 6 metre high boundary wall and good drainage system still in use. The buildings are mostly brick and lime in structure - Guru Sahib promised merchants free land and bricks if they settled in the city.

Guru Sahib built numerous mandirs for the Hindu residents and the famous Guru ki Maseet for the Muslim residents.Guru Sahib built the Gurudwara Granthian - a simple octagonal building - this gives an insight into what gurdwaras during the Guru period were like. This whole city has been blessed by the touch of Guru Sahib - every effort should be made to preserve this priceless built heritage.

The City of Sri Hargobindpur



The Hanuman Mandir


Guru ki Maseet


interior ( after partition the mosque became a gurdwara - it has recently been given back to Muslims and is again a maseet )


Gurdwara Granthian , Siri Hargobindpur


(*From Marg Vol 54 No. 4 Gurmeet Rai and Kavita Singh)

I think I'll stop there !! I hope you can make some sense of my ramblings!

This has been a long post , but I haven't covered anything in any real detail - I haven't even touched on Punjabi Built heritage, it is my hope it will prompt some research by you , the reader. - one way in which to help in the preservation of Sikh Heritage is to buy books, support authors, researchers etc - when you go to Punjab visit historic sites - Visit Patiala, Kapurthala ,Faridkot - even Doaba has fantastic sites (Usually people joke that Doaba is just agriculture no culture ) like Nur Mahal serai, Phillaur fort , Kapurthala - go off the beaten track , make authorities aware we want to see these things preserved - we DO NOT want fake nasty gaudy 'Punjabi heritage villages' like the disgusting 'Haveli' restaurant near Jalandhar - where everything is inauthentic - there are real Havelis out there - we want the real thing preserved !!

Excuse my mistakes

Bhul Chuk Maaf

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Here is an illustration of how neglected the Built Heritage of Punjab is - an example of Past Glories

In this first picture we see The Maharaja of Patiala in procession at the Qila Mubarak, Patiala - Late 19th / early 20th century


In this picture we see the same scene today - looking decidedly 'rough' around the edges and unloved --- but not beyond help....



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