Monday, October 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India






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Temple used as storeroom
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Sri Hargobindpur, October 6
Unmindful of the legendary significance of the ancient Hanuman Temple here encroachers have converted its magnificent building into a storeroom while its periphery is being used for dwelling. The stone idol which is said to be more than 400 years old is in a pitiable condition.

While developing this town, Guru Hargobind the sixth Sikh master had got 18 temples and a mosque built for Hindus and Muslims, respectively. While the Indians have been criticising Pakistan for neglecting Hindu temples there, the apathy of all concerned has resulted in the crumbling of historical sites in this ancient town.

The Hanuman Temple building, situated in the heart of the town is in a critical condition. The edifice is so designed as to have a double octagonal structure, one rising exteriorly and the other interiorly. The interior octagonal structure of the temple supports the entire structure which is surmounted by a gilded dome. The walls of the temple are so solid that a staircase runs to the very top through the breadth of the wall itself, with a provision for an entrance.

Mr Karm Chand and his wife Gyan Dai have been using the ancient temple as their home for the past 25 years. After demolishing the outer walls, they have constructed a pucca boundary. The family has dumped waste in the sanctum sanctorum of the ancient temple. When the TNS team visited the sacred place, Ms Gyan dai urged it to get the sanctum sanctorum. However, the family members said that before they took possession of the site, it was filled with filth and it took them many days to clean it. They said the sacred place was never visited by anybody since they have occupied the building.

The condition of the rest of the temples, except for two, is also deplorable. So much so, all five gates (except Lahori Darwaja which is also in a bad condition) have been demolished. There is no trace of the magnificent gates, including Mori Darwaja, Shahmana Darwaja, Miadi Darwaja, Teli Darwaja and Gherarh Darwaja left as nobody bothered to preserve the heritage.

It is said that the Guru had invited Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs to settle in the town which started flourishing in terms of trade and agriculture. The names of lanes and bylanes after different castes reflects the mission of Guru to project the town as a secular one.

The ancient town of Sri Hargobindpur which was got built by the Guru himself on the embankment of the Beas has been neglected as it failed to produce any big political leader. Most of the representatives of this Assembly constituency who were elected from here forgot to preserve the rich heritage of this town.
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