City’s heritage character yielding space to demands of business : The Tribune India

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City’s heritage character yielding space to demands of business

City’s heritage character yielding space to demands of business

An old building near Heritage Street in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, February 9

The impact of modernisation and commercialisation has accelerated the process of replacing the old buildings reflecting the city’s heritage character with new architecture in the peripheral areas of the Golden Temple. Modernisation has triggered a wave among the residents to replace their old buildings with contemporary architecture.

In the process, the walled city is fast losing connection with its glorious past. Commercialisation is wreaking havoc on the character of the walled city which was founded by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ramdas, in 1577. He was instrumental in shaping the character of the city by bringing in 52 professionals from different fields.

Later, during the Sikh Misl period and during the reign of the legendary Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the holy city gained multi-dimensional progress. All these phases were reflected in the architecture of its houses and shops besides religious places which offered a unique look and character to the city of Golden Temple.

However, fast-paced commercialisation triggered a construction of hotels and other commercial buildings in this part of the city. Its influence is visible in the narrow labyrinthine roads where three to five storey buildings have come up, replacing the old architecture.

Daljit Singh, an NRI tourist, said the next generation would not be able to connect with the exact heritage character of the city after a visit to its holy shrines. In the mad race to look modern, people are replacing their age-old structures with modern architecture, incorporating relentlessly modern features like glass and steel.

Dr Balvinder Singh, former Head, Guru Ramdas School of Planning of GNDU, and Advisor, Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, is worried about the invasion of commercial activities, especially hotels in residential areas of the walled city. He felt that the immediate need was to freeze the clause for Change of Land Use (CLU) in the walled city, especially areas leading to the Golden Temple and nearby residential areas. Secondly, a heritage cell should be established in the Municipal Corporation, he suggested and added that he prepared a heritage cell document and submitted it to the Amritsar Municipal Corporation over a decade ago.

Sounding optimistic, Dr Balvinder Singh felt that there was still enough to save for future generations. In addition to hotels, it is also necessary to stop the CLU for change from residential areas to commercial units as has been observed in the first residential locality of walled city that is Chowk Passian. He also said that a conservation professional must be there in that heritage cell who can check the plans.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Darbar Sahib Amritsar #Golden Temple Amritsar #Sikhs


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