Saturday, 22 January 2011

Harimandir Sahib may go public with Sikh relics.

As of now one can see rare relics, ornaments only during ‘jalau’, a show of splendour.

Soon pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple may not have to wait for a special occasion like the Gurpurb to catch a glimpse of rare artefacts and invaluable gifts kept in the shrine’s ‘toshakhana’ (treasure), as the SGPC is contemplating to put them on public display permanently.

The issue came to the fore after former Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh shot off a missive to SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, emphasising on the need to preserve these rare artefacts and facilitate their display to the visiting pilgrims. In his letter, dispatched on Thursday, Tarlochan Singh said the artifacts have been kept locked in a room which is taking a toll on their life and there is a need to preserve them in a modern way. He also advocated the need for putting these articles on display permanently in the ‘parikarma’ of the Golden Temple.

Tarlochan said: “The move would make the people aware as to what invaluable articles are being gifted to our holy shrine.”

“When Kohinoor can be put on display in London and Takht-e-Taus in Tehran why can’t we display our invaluable treasure,” he wondered. He contended that with measures like bulletproof glass and security gadgets available these days there is no threat in displaying these articles at a permanent museum in the ‘parikarma’. He said the gate of Darshani Deodhi, which is to be replaced, should also be put on display in the ‘parikarma’.

When contacted, Makkar admitted that they have received a suggestion from Tarlochan Singh in this regard and they will discuss it in the SGPC executive meeting on January 28. “We will consider the issue and if the artifacts are to be displayed we will seek expert advice before making arrangements for the same .”

Sri Darbar Sahib Manager Harbans Singh Malhi stated that they too have suggested the SGPC to display these articles in glass enclosures. According to him, at present, these artefacts and gifts are displayed during “jalau” (show of splendour) on six Gurpurbs. During these occasions, too, the time for “jalau” is restricted from 8 am to 12 noon. As per “Sri Harmandar Sahib da Sunaheri Itihas”, a book penned by Giani Kirpal Singh, during “jalau” 44 such items are put on display at the sanctum sanctorum, 9 at the Akal Takht and 6 at Baba Atal Gurdwara.

The ‘toshakhana’ boasts of invaluable possessions like necklace of diamonds and pearls of Kunwar Naunihal Singh presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, jewel-encrusted ‘kirpan’ of the Maharaja, a ring of Princess Bambah, gold canopy, gold and turquoise peacock, gold necklace made of currency notes of Guru Nanak Dev, golden spades and containers presented during various ‘kar sevas’, gold ‘bir’ of Baba Deep Singh and four pairs of ornate doors.

The Gift Pack
  The ‘toshakhana’ (treasure trove) boasts of diamond necklaces, pearls of Kunwar Naunihal Singh, jewel-encrusted ‘kirpan’, a ring of Princess Bambah, gold canopy, gold and turquoise peacock, gold necklace made of currency notes of Guru Nanak Dev, golden spades and much more
   These artefacts are displayed during “jalau” (show of splendour) on six Gurpurbs during a year. The time for “jalau” is restricted from 8 am to 12 noon
   The SGPC has now been asked to put these artefacts on permanent display for the benefit of devotees. The issue will figure in the executive meeting on January 28.

Perneet Singh/TNS, Amritsar, January 21

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