One of the holiest shrines of the Sikhs, Amritsar’s Golden Temple is a popular tourist spot. People visit this holy place often to seek blessings and get some peace. And now, the beautiful temple is all set to glow more with 160-kg gold worth Rs 50 crores. More gold will be plated on the domes of its four deodis (entrances). This will be in addition to the gold-plated Harmandar Sahib in the middle of the sarovar (holy tank), the domes of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and darshani deodi (entrance to the sanctum sanctorum).
The spokesperson and additional secretary of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee who is managing the historic Gurdwaras, including Golden Temple Diljit Singh Bedi reveals that the SGPC has chosen to upgrade the beauty of the temple by gold-plating the four deodis (doorways), which symbolize that the entryways of Golden Temple are open for all.
Diljit Singh Bedi stated, “An estimated 40 kg of gold will be used on each of the domes of the four deodis. Gold-plating of the maindeodi near Ghanta Ghar is underway since April through kar sewa (voluntarily service). Work on the rest will be taken up after the gold-plating of the first entrance is completed.”
It was 192 years back that Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler, gave Rs 16.39 lakh for 'sone di sewa'. Mohammad Khan was the primary skilled worker to overlay the sanctum with gold foil. Other than Ranjit Singh's successors, his rulers and other Sikhs additionally gave cash for 'sewa'. A sum of Rs 64.11 lakh was invested at that time, according to the book, Twarikh Sri Amritsar.
After Operation Bluestar in 1984, Sikh associations chose to renovate the Golden Temple. Sikh associations, including the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha and Gurdwara Soho Road, Birmingham, UK, embraced the assignment of covering the altar with crisp plates of gold. Work began in February 1995 and was finished in April 1999.
Baba Kashmir Singh Bhuriwale, the head of the ‘kar sewa’ organization says, “40 kg of gold is expected to be used on each but that may go up by 10 kg.”
He says the gold used to cover the patras is donated by the sangat (devotees). “Sri Harmandar Sahib is a very sacred place for the Sikhs. The Gurbani has underlined its significance as: ‘Ditthe sabhe thav, nahi tudh jehea (I have seen all the places, but failed to find one as beautiful as you)’. So, the sangat is always ready to donate and sacrifice everything for its sanctity and beauty. They feel blessed to get an opportunity to donate something to the shrine. Devotees in the country and abroad contribute gold mostly in the form of jewellery. Some donate cash for the gold.”
Balbir Singh oversees the work of gold-plating and states, “Each strip of ribbon is cut into small pieces. These are beaten into ultra-thin gold foil, which is stored in layers of paper. Ninety-five foils are made of the gold, weighing 15 gm each.”
One of the craftsmen named Harkamal Kumar stated, “Ten craftsmen and helpers are engaged in gold-plating. The sheets are finally fitted on the domes by another set of workers.”