‘Most historians have ignored Sikh architecture’

Three-part international symposium on Sikh architecture gets under way

‘Most historians have ignored Sikh architecture’

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 7

Most historians have ignored the Sikh Architecture; some have condescendingly accepted it as a syncretism of the Islamic and Rajputana styles, which Dr SS Bhatti, calls a historic fallacy. Dr Bhatti, former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, was delivering his keynote address at the inaugural session of first ever international symposium on the Sikh architecture, which took off in a virtual format here on Tuesday.

The three-part symposium is being attended by over many architects and other professionals from across the region and Pakistan. The event has been organised to commemorate the Parkash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib and has been organised by Saakaar Foundation, Chandigarh, and is being supported by the Sikh Chamber of Commerce, Fire & Security Association of India, Indian Institute of Architects’ Chandigarh/Punjab Chapter, Ashrae, ASSOCHAM-GEM and eight schools of Architecture.

Architect Surinder Bahga introduced the theme of the international symposium on the Sikh architecture.

Dr Bhatti, in his third PhD on the Golden Temple, researched forms of the building design spread over 45 centuries worldwide lamented that the architects and the management have together ruined the glory of this holiest of holy shrines of the Sikh faith out of sheer ignorance of its religious tenets and the gurus’ spiritual exhortations.

Aurangabad-based architect Abraham Pathrose spoke on the conservation work being carried on the Gurudwara Saragarhi Memorial and Gurudwara Chowrasti Attari of Amritsar. He said, “School trips, tourists shall be encouraged to propagate the vast glory of these two gurudwaras. Such documentation works shall continue for other heritage sites too.”

Pakistan-based Dr Nadhra Shahbaz Khan, Associate Professor of the Art History at Lahore University of Management Sciences talked on, “Sikh monuments in and around the Lahore Fort.”

She said, “Lahore is proud of its Sikh-era monuments and hosts several gurdwaras, havelis, samadhis and baradaris commissioned during the first half of the 19th century by Sikh royalty and nobility. Most of these monuments are unexplored or misread chapters of Punjab’s history that need to be studied with fresh eyes—what they can tell us about their patrons is not found anywhere in historical narratives!”

Prof Shruti H Kapur from the CT Institute of Architecture and Planning, Jalandhar, said, “Sultanpur Lodhi, with its legacy to have historic buildings, vital landscape, relics from various architectural styles needs to preserved.”

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