AMRITSAR: A devotee in a wheelchair, who was refused entry to the Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) here, has sought to make it accessible to disabled people as well.
However, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which controls Sikh religious affairs and manages gurdwaras, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, says that “sewadars” are delegated for the convenience of the “sangat”. ‘ or devotees.
The SGPC statement comes after wheelchair graphic designer Inderjeet Singh Dang tweeted on Saturday saying, “How can someone who is permanently in a wheelchair be expected to travel to Main Darbar without using a wheelchair on the path ?
“I ask officials to look into this issue and help make Darbar Sahib accessible to everyone.”
The SGPC replied saying, “In case a pilgrim in a wheelchair, he would be helped by Sewadars by lifting him up with his hands and taken to Darbar Sahib. Sewadar for help in choosing the person & help in Darshan.”
To this, Dehradun-based Dang replied, “A lot of Sewadars are extremely rude and arrogant and they just say you can go alone or you can’t go.
“What are also the reasons for banning wheelchairs on the trail?
Stating that everyone has the same right to visit the sanctum sanctorum of, Dang added, “It is very uncomfortable and inappropriate to be lifted by someone specifically for women when there is an easy way to just get there by way of a wheelchair.”
Seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention, he said: “This is not a Sikh issue… This issue concerns all wheelchair users who are unable to pay their respects to Shri Darbar Sahib due to of the @SGPCAmritsar rule not to allow wheelchair access. I raised this issue earlier, but no response from the SGPC.”
Earlier, the SGPC said that wheelchair assistance is available at Sri Darbar Sahib Square and throughout the complex.
Sri Harmandir Sahib also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple. Sikhs all over the world daily wish to visit Sri Amritsar and pay homage to Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Sri Harmandir Sahib is built on a 67-foot square platform in the center of the sarovar (reservoir). The temple itself measures 40.5 square feet. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The arch door frame is approximately 10 feet tall and eight feet and six inches across.
The glass doors are decorated with an artistic style. It opens onto the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is 202 feet long and 21 feet wide.
Its architecture represents a unique harmony between Muslim and Hindu building methods and is considered the finest architectural specimen in the world.
It is often cited that this architecture created an independent school of Sikh architecture in the history of art in India.