‘Unearthed structure at Golden Temple built originally in 1773’

Present heir of Gianis stayed in the excavated building till 1988

‘Unearthed structure at Golden Temple built originally in 1773’

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18

Burj Giania, demolished in 1988, to pave the way for galliara beautification, was actually built in 1773, seven years before the birth of legendary Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, claimed a Delhi-based Assistant Professor, SGTB Khalsa College, north campus, Dr Amanpreet Singh Gill, here on Sunday. He said documented proofs available in literature during that period confirm the same.

Also read: ASI team to inspect excavated structure at Golden Temple tomorrow

Tracing antecedents

From the Sikh Misl period (1773) to the foundation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (1925), four generations of the Gianis witnessed every development associated with the Golden Temple. The Gianis contributed enormously in terms of scholarship, management, infrastructure development and the Sikh art. The heir in their family at present is Yadwinder Singh Giani (80), who had vacated the building after accepting money from the government. He identified the basement as part of the demolished Burj.

There was no tunnel but a two-room basement of Burj Giania. The building is a relic from the pre-Ranjit Singh Sikh Misl period architecture. -  Dr Amanpreet Singh Gill, Asst Prof, SGTB Khalsa College, North campus

While excavating a site for new joda ghar on the Golden Temple complex, a basement of the heritage building was accidently unearthed at the depth of 12 ft, throwing spotlight on the contribution of Gianis.

Producing literary reference of Bunga Giania, which was constructed during the Sikh Misl period, Dr Gill said there was no tunnel but a two-room basement of Burj Giania.

“The building is a relic from the pre-Ranjit Singh Sikh Misl period architecture.” Citing SS Padam, a scholar, on the life and works of Surat Singh Giani, Dr Gill mentioned the 1930s Sri Darbar Sahib report. This text says that Burj Giania was built by Surat Singh Giani between 1778 to 1783. It even mentioned that the cost of the construction at that time was Rs4,500.

Surat Singh Giani was the first chief priest and manager of Harmandir Sahib rebuilt in 1764 after the attack by Ahmad Shah Abdali. “He was responsible for reintroducing the daily ‘Maryada’ of Harmandir Sahib earlier authenticated by Bhai Mani Singh.”

From the Sikh Misl period (1773) to the foundation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (1925), four generations of the Gianis witnessed every development associated with the Golden Temple. Surat Singh, who died in 1804; Sant Singh, who died in 1832; Gurmukh Singh, who died in 1843; Praduman Singh and Gurbaksh Singh ran the management of the Golden Temple.

The Gianis contributed enormously in terms of scholarship, management, infrastructure development and the Sikh art. The heir at present in their family is Yadwinder Singh Giani (80), who had vacated the building after accepting money from the government.

He identified the basement as part of the demolished Burj.

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