AMRITSAR SAHIB—Come New Year and the pilgrims visiting the holy city to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple will have more and better lodging facilities as the SGPC will be adding around 500 rooms in the form of three sarais (inns) to facilitate a comfortable stay of the devotees.
Among these inns, the first is coming up on the premises of Gurdwara Saragarhi, which is at a walking distance from the Golden Temple. Coming up at a cost of Rs 25 crore, the Sargarhi Niwas will have 238 rooms, besides halls. Its construction work is nearing completion and it is likely to be thrown open to the pilgrims in March next year.
The 10-storey building will have a capacity to accommodate 2,000 pilgrims. The inn would be equipped with amenities like basement parking, terrace garden, solar water heating system, VRV air-conditioning and rain water harvesting. It will have ultra-modern power supply system, which will save 40 per cent electricity.
The SGPC also plans to come up with another inn on the same road after shifting Guru Nanak Girls Senior Secondary School to a different location. The work on the new four-storey school building has also entered its last phase and it is likely to be shifted soon. The design of the new inn over 1,000 sq yds has been prepared. The SGPC is also planning to construct another inn at Baba Sahib Chowk.
At present, the SGPC has eight sarais (inns) in the holy city. These are Shri Guru Ram Das Niwas, Shri Guru Nanak Niwas, Shri Guru Arjan Dev Niwas, Shri Guru Hargobind Niwas, Mata Ganga Ji Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Ji Niwas, Mata Bhag Kaur Ji Niwas and NRI Niwas. These inns collectively have 800 rooms. But, not many pilgrims prefer to stay in Baba Deep Singh Ji Niwas and Mata Bhag Kaur Ji Niwas as these are a little far from the Golden Temple.
Thousands of pilgrims visit the holy shrine daily and the number goes up substantially during winter and summer vacations.
The problem of inadequate accommodation is all the more visible during special occasions like Diwali and Gurpurbs, as the devotees can be seen lying either in the waiting area of the inns or the parikarma of the Golden Temple.