“The ignorant Person is Totally blind as he does not appreciate the value of the jewel.”
Guru Gobind Singh
My thirst for exploring old buildings always entice me to look for relics from the past. A heritage that has not been converted to Islam is not very well taken care of in our side of the Indian Sub Continent. We treat our Pre-Partition heritage as an orphan most of the times. In an effort to do something for these forgotten treasures, I have started to document the places in my vicinity and an effort is under hand to get them declared National Heritage and save what is left of our Past. One such forgotten Gurdwara stands in once mainly Sikh populated town, Doltala, of the Gujurkhan Tehsil ,Rawalpindi District. The Head inscription of this once glorious structure read as “Gurduwara Sri Guru Singh Saba, Doltala in beautiful Gurmukhi script.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha ,Doltala
Doltala saw extensively bloody roits during the 1947 partition and mostly Sikhs and Hindu properties were burned and they migrated to India. In this backdrop, it is a strange sight that this quite huge compound was left unscathed and in a relatively good condition at the time of Partition. Its current state is due to constant neglect and not the Partition riots. Singh Sabha or Society of the Sikhs was a reformist movement that was initiated at the end of the 19th century in Amritsar and began as a defense against the proselytizing activities of Christians and Hindus. The movement established Schools, Gurdwaras, DharamShalas etc. The Singh Sabha Gurdwara stands amidst a jungle of small buildings in a narrow ally near main bazaar, Doltala and served as a government school till very recent. In the year 2010 it was vacated due to dangerous condition of its Roof. The building‘s entrance is adorned with stone slabs containing the names of the contributors to this Gurdwara.
Stone Slabs acknowledging major financial contributions to the Building
Adorned with Gurumukhi script engraved stone and marble work, it’s a big complex that is made of the red Ranjeet Shahi brick and is an apparently strong building despite neglect of decades. Interestingly, according to local people, the Gurdwara also housed Hindu deity statues which shows that this was also used either as a combined religious place by Hindus and Sikhs or Hindus hid their Deities during Roits in this Religious place. The Floor of veranda and the inner hall is made of excellent white Marble. Each slab is inscribed with the name of the Donor to the Gurdwara ; the community must have been proud of this deed of Guru s Khalsas. These marble slabs are now buried under dust of decades.
Sri Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa ….. Sri Waheguru Ji ki Fateh
Gurdwara’s big hall is surrounded by carved metal balconies near the roof and the Place where Granth Sahib was placed is still intact in the lower hall. The door of the Gurdwara was locked and so we got upstairs from an outer staircase and had a look around this beautiful vast place. The hall s floor is all white marble surrounded by Arch doors.
Interior Hall with its carved metal balconies and tall engraved Pillars
Interior Hall where the whole white marble floor is buried under layers of Dust
The Interior hall s floor is made of Moon white marble and each slab as in case of outer veranda is also engraved with the name of the Donor who contributed in the building of this Sikh Holy place. This Gurdwara is like an old man standing tall amid its poverty and ignorance by its children. It is nostalgic of its glorious past and sad of its present sorry state vying for some love. May it come sooner.