Sikh Heritage Sites Abandoned

See pictures of over 100 Abandoned Gurudwaras Here:

January 18, 2014: Last month, a UK-born researcher divulged that 90 per cent of Sikh heritage sites are located in Pakistan, with most of them distributed in Punjab. This makes for a measure of the religious attachment that the Sikh community has with Pakistan where, according to estimates of the US State Department, about 20,000 Sikhs reside.

According to a survey conducted by the archaeological department of Pakistan soon after 1947, 130 important historic gurdwaras are located in Pakistan. These include 28 gurdwaras built in the memory of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak: Gurdwara Janam Asthan (his birthplace), Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sachcha Sauda, Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Gurdwara Chaki Sahib and Gurdwara Bairi Sahib. One gurdwara, Janam Asthan Guru Ram Das in Lahore, marks the memory of the fourth Guru, Sri Ram Das. Eight gurdwaras, including Gurdwara Budhu Ka Awa in Lahore, are in the memory of the fifth Guru, Sri Arjan Devji.

Most of these gurdwaras had their own property in the form of buildings and agricultural land. The land and other property of these gurdwaras went under the control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, which, according to the Sikh community, has led to the systematic misuse and misappropriation of religious premises as little has been spent on their maintenance.

As of now, most gurdwaras in Pakistan are in a state of disrepair, have been deserted and are often left to the mercy of residents who use them as shelter for domestic animals, grounds and shops, etc. This is the case not just in the remote areas of the country but also in the areas which are directly under the establishment’s nose.

The Sikhs coming in from India often have no access to all of their historical places as their visas limit their access only to certain locations, claimed a Sikh pilgrim. The negligence shown towards the places of worship of a certain community eats up on the values of religious pluralism which, needless to say, are important for enduring peace and tolerance.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2014.

abandoned gurdwaras pakistan

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