Sunday, 15 March 2015

After Virasat-e-Khalsa museum, more development on the way.


Depiction of Sikh Warriors at Virasat-e-Khalsa

More than 52 lakh people visited the  at Anandpur Sahib within little more than three years of its opening, making it one of the most popular museums in the country. Little wonder then that promoting Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of the Khalsa Panth in Rupnagar district, as a tourist hub is on the top of the Punjab Government’s agenda. Four new galleries of the 17 planned are coming up under the second phase of the museum. The construction work is expected to be completed by June. According to Virasat-e-Khalsa Chief Executive Officer N S Randhawa, Rs 327 crore will be spent on making this facility.

State Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Sohan Singh Thandal said that these four galleries would be dedicated to the public in June when the 350th foundation of Anandpur Sahib would be in progress. “A committee comprised of three cabinet minister of Punjab has been constituted to explore the possibilities of tourism in this area,” he added. In this committee, besides Thandal, Industry Minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Education Minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema have been included.

The museum acquaints visitors with Punjabi culture and history of Sikhism. It was opened for public on November 27, 2011. The first phase displayed Sikh history till the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. The second phase would acquaint visitors about the Sikh history from the installation of Guru Granth Sahib to the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh up to the year 1848.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ambassadors of many countries have visited it so far. Prince Charles with his wife Camilla Parker came here during its construction in 2006. It is also an attraction for students of architecture and civil engineering.

During the 72-minute round of the museum, history is narrated through a series of paintings and installations. The museum sees traditional crafts and oral narratives integrated with state-of-the-art technology.

It is divided into two parts with an artificially created cascading lake flowing in between. A pedestrian bridge links the two sections. The western section contains a large auditorium, a two-storey library, a cafeteria and a space for organising temporary exhibitions. The eastern houses the permanent interpretive exhibition space and consists of two blocks of galleries.

Thandal said that for setting up Bhai Jaita Ji memorial, the Punjab Government has already acquired five acres of land.  More land would be procured if needed. A reception centre would soon be set up near Panj Piyara Park. According to Thandal, the estimated cost of this project would be Rs 20 lakh. The government is also planning a five-star hotel in the area.

Randhawa said, “Everyday, 8,000 visitors from schoolchildren to tourists to villagers throng the museum.”

http://www.newindianexpress.com/ by Harpreet Bajwa, 15th Mar 2015

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