Golden Temple replica at Punjabi Bagh park removed, Sirsa says against Sikhism

Spread over 8.5 acres, the Bharat Darshan Park has replicas of 17 popular monuments from across the country including Mysore Palace, Charminar and Khajuraho Temple.

A replica of the Golden Temple being built at a park in Punjabi Bagh by the South MCD was “dismantled” by members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee as it is against the tenets of Sikhism, committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.

Spread over 8.5 acres, the Bharat Darshan Park has replicas of 17 popular monuments from across the country including Mysore Palace, Charminar and Khajuraho Temple. These are built from scrap material.

Posting a video, which shows the dome of the structure being lifted using a crane, Sirsa tweeted: “As assured to Sangat, Team DSGMC has initiated the dismantling work of replica of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar which was created in a Punjab Bagh Park for touristy purpose. We stand united to raise our voice and act against any form of disrespect for the Sanctum sanctorum of Sikhs.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, he said: “More than 30 members of the committee as well as volunteers reached the site on Monday after we came to know about the development on Sunday. We were supported by MCD staff also in dismantling the structure as I had talked to a senior official in the corporation and expressed our reservations.”

“Tenets of Sikh religion do not allow religious replicas anywhere. The sanctity of the place cannot be maintained at such places. What if tomorrow someone starts worshipping here or enters the place with shoes. There are set principles that have to be obeyed inside such structures,” he said.

South MCD Mayor Mukesh Suryan, however, hit out at Sirsa and said he was unnecessarily politicising the matter: “As of now, work has been stalled but the project has not been shelved. We will talk with other seniors and learned people in the Sikh community to know if it is permitted or not. We do not have any intention to hurt anyone’s sentiment so whatever they say would be followed.”

He claimed Sirsa is only trying to gain political mileage from this: “There are such replicas at other places also, it has been built with an intention to show the children and people of the rich diversity our country has.”

President of the Akali Dal Delhi and general secretary of the DSGMC Harmeet Singh Kalka, however, said the SDMC commissioner “has assured us that the dismantling process has been started and in a few days, it will be completely replaced”.

Last year in January, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri had laid the foundation stone for the park with the theme ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Developed on a six-acre plot, it will have replicas of Charminar, Gateway of India, Konark Temple, Nalanda ruins, Mysore Palace, Meenakshi Temple, Hawa Mahal, Hampi ruins, Victoria Memorial, Sanchi Stupa, Gol Gumbaz, Ajanta Ellora Caves, among other sites. The project is likely to be completed this year.

Through this project, the SDMC seeks to widen its ambit of “waste-to-wealth” concept as epitomised in its ‘Waste to Wonder Park’ in Sarai Kale Khan. The latter, which has replicas from famous monuments from across the world and is made from metal and other industrial scrap, is a big tourist attraction in Delhi.

The entire project at the Punjabi Bagh park is estimated to cost around Rs 18-20 crore. The replicas here are built using scrap waste such as vehicles, fans, rods, iron sheets, and nuts and bolts that are gathering dust in municipal stores. There will be smart illumination of all monuments, a walking track of 1.5 km in the park, and a children’s play area.

Among other features, it will have landscape designs like waterfalls, fountains, ponds; amphitheatres for cultural events; a food court offering major cuisines of India; audio tours; and cultural showcase and photography stalls, an official said.

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