What happens when the marriage of tradition takes place with modernity? Heritage street of Amritsar outside the Golden temple is a beautiful example of the culmination of the tradition with modernity. One kilometer long stretch which starts from town hall which houses partition museum to the golden temple is called Heritage street.
I visited Amritsar city and Golden temple first time. I was with my family. My parents told me that If you’d have visited Golden temple 2 years ago then chances are that you’d have been greeted by pedestrians hawkers, vendors rickshaw-pullers all jostling for space as you walk from the busy street from the iconic Bharawan da Dhaba. A general sense of disorderliness, sound of vehicles vendor selling Amritsari specialties was the characteristic of the street and above all this holy place is visited by over a lakh people daily added to the general sense of disorderliness. Change is inevitable but it happened so quickly in Heritage street it is a bit surprising.
The revamped heritage street is as much a pleasant surprise to senses as it is a visual delight. As I crossed Town hall building and went towards Jallianwala Bagh then up to Golden temple What I saw was a surprise to my eyes. I saw buildings with Rajputana and Mughal architectural domes, statues, and fountains in the backdrop of buildings, bright lamposts, Led lights illuminating the facades and just the right number of people make it appear like a production set of the period film.It took 330 days and over 1200 people to create I km stretch from town hall to the Golden temple.
Amritsar Heritage walk starts from Town hall where hall bazar ends near Kotwali. the following places are on this road :
1.Bharawan da Dhaba
2.Gurudwara Santokhsar Sahib
3. Mata Longa Wali Temple town Hall
4. Krishana Misthan Bhandar
5. Fuwara chowk
6.Saragharhi Memorial Gurudwara
7. Dharam Singh Market
8. Jallianwala Bagh
9.Sri Shani Dev Mandir
10. Golden Temple
The Arts and cultural heritage trust set up the worlds first partition museum at Townhall Amritsar. Partition Museum tells the story of what happened to people in 1947. It was dedicated to the memory of partition of sub-continent in 1947- its victims, its survivors, and its lasting legacy. This partition is one of the greatest and most painful upheavals of the Indian history, over 20 million people migrated to a new homeland on the other side of the border leaving behind precious memories. Often the journey and relocation were accompanied by traumatic events and millions of men women and children lost not just home but lives in an attempt to cross over. Perhaps sacrifice of those million was seen as a necessity for acquiring independence.
Museum records the pain of divide and sacrifice of people.
2. Mata longa wali temple Town Hall:
Mata longa wali temple located on the heritage street near to Krishna Misthan Bhandar. This temple is dedicated to goddess Durga. Every day so many devotees visit this temple and take their blessings. Navratri is a famous festival of this temple.
3. Krishna Misthan Bhandar:
Krishna Misthan Bhandar has been established to sell pure Desi Ghee sweets and Savouries. This shop is also on heritage street.
4. Town Hall square:
As I walk through this magical makeover lane there are many new things to watch. At the town hall square a statue of a miniature of parliament house, open book of the constitution and giant size statue of B. R. Ambedkar, chief architect of Indian Constitution standing to salute the largest democracy of the world.
In a salute to the great period of Sikh glory, the fountain of Fuwara chowk has given way to seven layered roundabouts showcasing the Sikh era. Maharaja Ranjit Singh era was known for all-round development in the history of Punjab. The highest pedestal of white marble has intricate carvings of elephants war scenes and small statues of Sikh generals and a huge statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh riding a horse with a sword in his hand at the top. Here gigantic led panels also installed which shows live kirtan from darbar sahib.
Apart from LED panels, the chowk also showcases artificial waterfalls, water animations, and digital water show. For a moment I wondered if it is our old Ambarsar about which I heard or newly renovated heritage palace from Rome Venice or pink city of Jaipur.
6. Sargharhi memorial Gurudwara:
A small but historically important gurudwara constructed to honor martyrs of the battle of Sargharhi.21 soldiers of Sikh army fought against the army of 10000 afghans. Name of those soldiers was inscribed here.
7. Dharam Singh Market:
The grimy Dharam Singh market on golden temple road turned into pretty pink and right in front is a rectangular block on which life-size bhangra dancers, carved out of black marble, jeering and striking poses. The facades of all building are blushing pink Kota stones tiles and trellis screen and this includes the marketplace and shops selling city most famous “Pappar-Wariah” Punjabi “Juttis” artifacts and much more. The signboards for all shops have also been kept identical, like markets of Jaipur. All the overhead wires are channeled through underground tunnels.
Each structure has a story to tell and beauty to the surroundings. The lightning and illumination in this “heritage street” is at par to any advanced city of the world.
8. Jallianwala Bagh :
I saw another attraction outside the Jallianwala Bagh- Aflame shaped marble installation christened Smriti. These monuments were erected as the memorial to martyrs who lost their lives in 1919 massacre. Sketches of several freedom fighters etched out of the 16-foot high memorial.
The marble is bound to catch the heat so some greenery is required so huge planters with flowering shrubs. and then comes the stunning golden temple.
9. Shani Dev Mandir:
Shri Shani dev mandir pracheen mandir Ghar is very famous which is near to golden temple.
10. Golden Temple :
The basement of the temple plaza
Hi-tech storytelling was launched at basement plaza of the golden temple and opened for the public a year ago. The gallery is an attempt to unite technology with history and tradition.
After passing from heritage street I pinched myself and understood it is not a dream and this is no cinema studio, carnival or theatre set but all is a reality in the heritage street.