The Changing Face of the Darbar Sahib


On a recent visit to Amritsar, one of the topics of interest was the newly approved plan by Chief Minister Badal forthe revamping of the entrance to the Darbar Sahib. The plan includes a state-of-art restructuring of the entrance plaza.

According to one article, the new entrance would address accessibility for pedestrians and eco sustainability. It was also noted in this article that a timeline for completion and budget for this project has not been planned.

While the Panjab government is clearly looking to increase their tourism value, it was made clear to me that many Panjabis are not huge supporters of a project that will change the existing architecture around the Darbar Sahib. There is a strong sentiment that religious buildings should be treated as such, rather than as tourist spots.

The Darbar Sahib complex does rely on funds to ensure sustainability but with plans to enhance the Darbar Sahib with tourism in mind, the Panjab government will be treading a fine line to make sure that the holiest of places for Sikhs does not become impacted by visitors. Nevertheless, the Darbar Sahib is not the first place to be affected by increased tourism. Other wonders around the world are also working to address how to balance the sustainability of history with the growing inquisition of visitors.

What do you think? Should the Darbar Sahib be redesigned with tourism in mind or should efforts be made to keep the area intact as an important religious place?

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20 Responses to “The Changing Face of the Darbar Sahib”

  1. A sikh says:

    This is highly a insult & disrespectful towards sikhi
    By Badal saying this, this makes him a foolish person

  2. kaur says:

    Badal should be fired for such a selfish thing to say and plan

  3. Kaur says:

    Darbar sahib is a holy place for worshipping not a tourist or a picnic spot. Change the architecture, make its surroundings more good ( if u want so) but not with the point of increasing tourism. Don’t insult the sentiments of Sikhs.

  4. RRR Singh Canada says:

    Is it just me or the Darbar Sahib is on the other side and there's no Akal Takht Sahib in the picture?!

  5. jack says:

    Sri darbar sahib's original architecture shouldn't be changed. No way. Sadly though sgpc is also controlled by the money loving badals, so they won't oppose.

    The indian and international sikh community must be against this plan.

  6. Great post, Sundari. The last trip to Amritsar I was on was a bit disheartening because while Harminder Sahib is still very much a spiritual place, there are a lot of elements that detract from it already. Do we really need softy ice-cream, limcas for 5 rupees, and Nescafe in the compound? This next move of changing the architecture sounds like it's primarily to make it look "modern" and to raise tourism, and possibly bring in more businesses (who knows, pizza hut, braavan da dhaba?), rather than for the benefit of pedestrians and "eco sustainability." This is Badal we're talking about. The same Badal who owns a New York City nightclub and practically all the electrical companies in Punjab.

    You bring up a great point regarding the other places of worship and “wonders” around the world attempting to balance foot traffic with the sanctity of their history. But places like the Taj Mahal, for example, will not have businesses like Nescafe popping up there even if some aspects were designed. Italians would never stand for a coffee shop even right outside the Vatican. But Sikhs seem to be fine with a Nescafe shop, or 5 rupee limcas within the same compound.

  7. harkirat singh says:

    ssa g,
    Golden temple architecture wont be changes for sure.. pheleh indian army nahi badal pae ehnda architecture eh badal ki badlu.. bus sikha da pyaar te sewa nahi ghatneh chaide… baki raaab rakha…

  8. janmeet says:

    The mere mention of tourist board irks me but to use terms like the need for beatification of complex building and use the holiest shrine of Sikhism as tourist attraction/picnic spot and sighting it as impetus for hospitality industry to flourish upon is not only disrespectful but it also diminishes Sikhism and its principles.
    This of course is not the first time that (badal)gpc had made such move, a few years ago they applied for heritage status from world heritage organization citing Darbar Sahib as important tourist spot and place of historic importance.
    We will never hear Saudi Arabia(Muslims) promoting Makkah, or Vatican promoting St. Peter's Basilica as tourist spot. Why we Sikh always shy away and are not willing to make a stand, speak up on our religious matter in fear that we will be projected as orthodox communal fanatics. This thinning of Sikhi is more dangerous than RSS, Sudarshan, badal dal, congress put all together.
    …… follow up the entrance plaza there are already plans for luxury 5 star hotels to be built in close proximity of the shrine.

  9. kal da Sikh says:

    Last time i went to Amritsar, everything outside the darbar sahib was pretty dirty to be frank. Being such an important gurdwara, cleaning up the periphery isn't really going to be a bad thing.

    Aside: Why is the media continuously repeating that Darbar Sahbi is the "holiest of places for Sikhs". I can think of a few gurdwaras in Pakistan that are just as "holy". "Holiness" come from reading and understanding gurbani and not from being at any particular place.

  10. am I right? says:

    Badal doesn’t care
    He is in for the money
    Does he actually care?

  11. Harinder says:

    Why dont you do something yourself
    rather than criticising


    Altering the character of the Sri Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple) goes against the principles of historic preservation.

  13. before criticise any body we should do something. Try to do something by your own self and don’t criticize any body. We should not degrade any body and should not hurt any body. Be a good person but don’t waste time to prove it.

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    Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
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    As though to breathe were life!

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  20. I am very impressed to see this place. It`s very important for me,this place is a holy place for worshiping not a tourist traveling. Nevertheless, the Darbar Sahib is not the first place to be affected by increased tourism. I want to visit here recently because it`s touch my heart.