Thursday, January 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Golden Temple ‘symbol’ of Amritsar
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, January 15
The SGPC has prepared a case for declaring the Golden Temple as a world heritage site on the basis of its unique architecture and art works.

The dossier, prepared with the help of INTACH under the guidance of Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary of the SGPC, reads, “It is a revered icon of the city as the Taj is to Agra or Eiffel Tower is to Paris”.

The Harmandar Sahib with its distinct domed structure rising from a pool is a symbol of the city.

There are 300 patterns on its walls reminiscent of the intricate details of Persian carpets.

There are motifs of turtles, fish on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum and its outer walls have motifs of trees, flowers, fruit, birds and animals. The outermost wall has motifs of stars. All these represent a world view of common essence of various forms of life.

The architecture of Harmandar Sahib is “a synthesis of Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist traditions”.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur says the temple embodies several legends, multiple meanings and manifold interpretations. Its universality is emphasised in its accessibility to all, day or night.

The structure of Harmandar Sahib is multi-layered. The first layer corresponds to the period of Gurus (1469-1708), which saw the completion of the sarovar, construction of Harmandar Sahib, Akal Takht. The second represents the period of instability — its desecration by Afghan invaders five times. The third represents the period of reconstruction, fortification and beautification — parikarma, darshani deori and somnath gates.

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