Design Thinking

City Life & Culture

A Space to Admire

Bangla Sahib Gurudwara - New Delhi

Posted on June 14, 2019   |   By Kanwal Thareja Architects

A piece of sculpture crafted in white marble with a golden crown at the top. One cannot resist clicking photographs while crossing Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a place of worship. With lights accentuating each element of the monument, the view is both breath-taking and awe-inspiring. As a place of worship, it evokes a strong sense of community and is always brimming with life.

People visit this place from near and far in groups to spend good amount of time near the holy book Guru Granth Sahib placed at the centre of the hall. In the central hall of worship, roof and columns are all fully covered with golden sheets and mouldings in floral pattern. Three musicians called ragis on the left side of the Guru Granth Sahib, recite the learnings of the holy book. Outdoor spaces are so enjoyable that people sit around listening to the gurbanis and take selfies with the backdrop of this monument. I have tried to capture photographs from different corners to visualize the quality of light and how people relate with this grand space around the gurudwara. Fine carvings on the walls and intricate floor patterns add to its richness.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, built in the year 1783 as a dedication to the eighth guru - Guru Har Krishan, is one of the most prominent Sikh Gurudwaras in the city of New Delhi. It was originally a bungalow housing Raja Jai Singh and was called Jaisinghpura Palace. The complex consists of a Gurudwara building, a kitchen where langar is prepared, a school, an art gallery and a large holy pond called the sarovar. It is located at the Gol Dak Khana (GPO) round about opposite Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Bangla Sahib Complex is extremely well managed by Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. It has three entrances - one from Baba Kharak Singh Marg, second from Ashoka Road and the third from Bangla Sahib lane. Car drop off and pedestrians are very well segregated at the entry point to the Gurudwara. After a short walk, you go down a few steps to find yourself at the joda (shoe) ghar where devotees do seva (helping visitors store their shoes while they visit and then hand them back upon their way out). One can change shoes on benches placed in the front hall. After washing hands, you cover your head and climb few steps and witness the presence of grand volume of space and the magnificent Gurudwara. The forecourt in white marble with various inlay patterns enhance the quality of the space. It is a place to rest in winter days and cool during summer evenings. This place or urban space at the foreground of the Gurudwara and Sarovar (at a lower level and towards the right) changes colour all through the day and is filled with devotees. Devotes sit and relax in this blessed space situated right in the middle of the bustling capital city of New Delhi.