300-year-old gurudwara reopens after partition

The partition of India and Pakistan was a tragic event. Millions of lives were lost in the riots that followed. Heritage was overlooked; mosques, temples and gurudwaras were left deserted on both sides. For the first time since partition, there is a hint of hope that the 300-year-old gurudwara Bhai Beba Singh, which remained non-functional for over 60 years, would be open to Sikhs from India. Referring to the 1974 Pilgrim Protocol signed between the two nations, Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman, Siddiq-ul-Farooq informed the Times Of India that the gurudwara would be opened to Indian Sikhs "only if India offers to open new muslim pilgrimage spots to Pakistani muslims." Located in Peshawar’s Jogiwara locality, the 300-year-old gurudwara is considered to be one of the archaelogical marvels of Peshawar, and is set to have been built up at the time of the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh.  Since, the gurudwara was uninhabited for over six decades, its walls and inner dome have been damaged following several earthquakes. But the main building built in 1708 has survived. In 2012, a body corporate under Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony began restoring the gurudwara. The Evacuee chairman stated that, “We have carried out massive renovation work of Gurudwara Bhai Biba Singh and would be pleased if Sikhs from India visit the shrine and pay obeisance,” TOI wrote. Though Pakistani Sikhs are allowed to enter, it has been closed to members of the community from India.

News24 Bureau