Excavated structure in Golden Temple complex part of heritage, preserve it: Archaeological Survey of India

SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur said it was now clear the structure was not a historical building related to the Golden Temple

Excavated structure in Golden Temple complex part of heritage, preserve it: Archaeological Survey of India

The heritage structure found in the Golden Temple complex. file

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29

The tunnel-like arc-shaped structure found during abrupt digging at the site of new ‘joda ghar’ being constructed in the Golden Temple complex is part of the heritage and should be preserved. This was observed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has submitted its report to the Amritsar district administration.


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Constructed with ‘lakhori’ bricks

The ASI observed that the remains of the structure appeared to be a part of a residential complex of late medieval period, constructed with ‘lakhori’ bricks (size 20x10x5 cm) laid in lime mortar. Traces of lime plaster were also visible at some places

Site claimed to be ‘Gianian Da Bunga’

The structure was termed as ‘Gianian Da Bunga’ by Amritsar-based descendants of legendary Sikh figure Giani Sant Singh, a former head granthi of the Golden Temple

Experts invited from gndu

We have invited experts from the Department of Architecture, Guru Nanak Dev University, to review the matter. The Deputy Commissioner has referred the issue to the Punjab Tourism Department for further action. - Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC Chief

On July 21, an ASI team, headed by deputy archaeologist AK Tiwari, had inspected the site situated near the Akal Takht secretariat and adjoining Gurdwara Thara Sahib.

The ASI observed the remains of the structure appeared to be part of a residential complex of late medieval period, constructed with ‘lakhori’ bricks (size 20x10x5 cm) laid in lime mortar. Traces of lime plaster were also visible at some places. The Amritsar district administration has been conveyed to preserve the structure keeping in view its heritage significance. The ASI has also offered to provide technical guidance in the matter, as and when required.

Also read: Spiritual journey of Gurdwaras in Amritsar

“Since the exposed structures are heritage remains and cannot therefore be allowed to be destroyed, the district administration may initiate necessary steps for their preservation under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964, or under the relevant provisions conferred on the Deputy Commissioner for the protection of unprotected heritagestructures and remains,” the report reads.

The ASI experts viewed that since the area around the Golden Temple was culturally rich, there was a possibility of buried heritage structure in its surroundings. During inspection, the ASI had discovered that at the depth of 20-22 feet, a dual-arched structure covering an area of 15x15 feet was present. The exposed height and width of the outer arch was approximately 2 metres each.

The main entrance led to three arched cells located in east, west and north directions. The experts observed that these were probably attached with each other from the inner side, but since a limited area was exposed, it was not possible to ascertain the exact nature, use or association of these structures with other existing ones in the surrounding area.

Also read: Spiritual journey of Gurdwaras in Tarn Taran

Nonetheless, the structure was termed as ‘Gianian Da Bunga’ by Amritsar-based descendants of a legendary Sikh figure Giani Sant Singh, a former head granthi of the Golden Temple. Yadwinder Singh, who represented the sixth generation, claimed the structures were a gift from Maharaja Ranjit Singh to their ancestor who supervised gold-plating of the Golden Temple.

It was known as ‘Sarad Khana’, attached with Gurdwara Jhanda Bunga in the shrine complex. The family lived there till 1988 when this building was acquired in lieu of adequate compensation to pave way for the Galliara Beautification Scheme. The building was demolished then and the structure discovered now could be its underground portion.

SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur said it was now clear the structure was not a historical building related to the Golden Temple.

“Since it has heritage value, it will be preserved under the directions of the ASI and Amritsar administration. We have invited experts from the Department of Architecture, Guru Nanak Dev University, to review the matter. The Deputy Commissioner has referred the matter to the Punjab Tourism Department for further action in this regard,” she said.

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