Patna | From widening the streets to sprucing up Ganga riverfront, Patna City region and the iconic Sikh shrine nestled in its womb are undergoing a massive facelift as a large number of pilgrims are expected here during the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh.
Patna Sahib, the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru, is considered one of the holiest places by Sikhs around the world, besides being a major tourism attraction for people from all communities. Bihar government has drawn up plans for grand celebrations in January 2017 to mark the historic occasion and is gearing up to put its best foot forward.
As people from several parts of India, and outside including Canada, the UK, the US, Australia are expected to converge here, a temporary tent city has been planned and the Patna Sahib shrine is racing against time to finish the new constructions on its premises.
A temporary tent city spanning over 75 acres has been proposed to be set up on the banks of Ganga near Kangan Ghat. The area has already been earmarked. All facilities including toilets, lighting, water would be provided to pilgrims there, a top government official said.
Commissioner, Patna Division, Anand Kishor said, On the 350th birth anniversary, all roads will lead to Patna. And, we want to be fully ready to welcome this huge rush of pilgrims. It is not about one event, but Bihar’s image itself. The countdown has begun and timelines have been defined.
All projects would be completed in time-bound manner. Inter -departmental conflicts have been resolved and 7-8 committees and sub-committees have been set up to smoothly execute the big plan, Kishor said. Old streets like Guru Gobind Singh Path are being widened and new roads are being constructed in Patna City, the old region of Patna, endowed with narrow lanes and alleys and heritage buildings, falling on the eastern side of the present capital.
Ganga ghats in the city are also being redeveloped. Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in 1666 to Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru and Mata Gujri. The current shrine of Patna Sahib or Takht Sri Harmandirji Saheb, signifying the birth of Guru Gobind Singh was built in the 1950s over the remains of the structure erected by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the late 1830s which were damaged in the deadly 1934 earthquake.
The original house that stood there at the time of the birth and the subsequent structure that came up in the 19th century were considerably damaged in a devastating fire. At the time of his birth, Sikh devotees had undertaken long journeys to see him.
The gurudwara management committee is also undertaking huge constructions in its campus, as most of the old guest house complex has been dismantled and a new structure is coming up in its place, which will include provisions for parking to accommodate the massive rush expected in January.