AMRITSAR SAHIB—Failing to meet the target to open the plaza at the entrance of Sri Darbar Sahib for Sangat on Bandi Chhod Diwas, the Punjab government has opened it partially this week, as the project is yet to be completed. But the development has eased overcrowding at the main gate of the holiest Sikh shrine.
The space which has been opened to devotees is almost 30 to 40 percent of the whole project area. The opened area has provided an additional seating facility for devotees in the form of benches installed around trees. Also, the new “jorha ghar” (shoe-keeping facility) and “gathri ghar” (baggage room) have also been made available for pilgrims.
As per media reports, the current jorha ghar, which was built temporarily to facilitate the plaza construction, will be demolished so that devotees can be provided more open space. Sources said that although the area opened to the public is yet to be given finishing touches, the work will be taken care of at a later stage.
The sources also said that the remaining segment of the plaza was most likely to be opened in six months or so.
The facilities that are to come up in the basement of the plaza will have to wait a little longer. Among the underground facilities are a state-of-the-art interpretation and information centre for tourists, VIP lounge, bank, ATM, airline and railway inquiry, a multipurpose hall, security and services area, toilets and other public conveniences.
As there is a lot of VIP movement at Sri Darbar Sahib, the plaza will have a separate lounge to accommodate dignitaries and their entourages. An auditorium with a seating capacity of 100-150 persons will be constructed so that the visiting dignitaries can address the media. Presently, there is no proper place in the Golden Temple complex where media persons can interact with VIPs.
The plaza has been designed in view of the fact that there is a high congregation of people around the shrine and they have to be provided with facilities.