Sultanpur Lodhi in a state of neglect

The town assumes importance as Guru Nanak Dev is said to have stayed here for more than 14 years and attained enlightenment during a prolonged dip in the waters of the holy Bein that flows past the town.

There is hardly any provision of modern facilities, including AC buses, tourist bungalows and hotels, for those coming to the town from various parts of the country and even abroad. The holy city is also devoid of basic facilities such as good roads, working street lights and public parks.
The only visible development is the renovation of seven historical gurdwaras that fall within the township.

The small room (bhora) inside Gurdwara Ber Sahib has been redone. The cemented floor and roof have been replaced with spotless white marble on the ground, and colourful tiles and chandeliers on the top. The cemented marble pillar that indicates the exact place where Guru Nanak Dev used to sit and meditate during his 14-year stay, too, has been beautified, says Mr Partap Singh, the manager of the gurdwara.

A new hall has been constructed within the same gurdwara to accommodate large congregations of Sikhs on special occasions. A new 120-room inn (sarai), with each room having an attached toilet, is under construction within the gurdwara premises.

Gurdwara Hatt Sahib, where Guru Nanak Dev worked in a modi khana, has also been renovated completely. While the gurdwara is temporarily functioning from a small room, which also houses the well-polished stones that Guru Nanak Dev used as weights, a gurdwara complex with beautiful architecture is coming up on the same premises under the care of Baba Jagtar Singh from Tarn Taran.

The building of Gurmat Sangeet College is also being renovated close to the complex of Gurdwara Sant Ghat, where youngsters are being imparted education about religion, Gurbani and kirtan.

The gurdwaras have been renovated keeping in view the Parkash Utsav that falls on Tuesday. Lakhs of devotees from various parts of the country are expected to gather here on the occasion. But unfortunately, all roads leading to Sultanpur Lodhi from Nakodar, Goindwal Sahib and Kapurthala are in a pitiable state. The dusty roads are dotted with huge craters that make the journey a nightmare. The rail connectivity to Sultanpur is also not up to the mark as it is very time consuming.

Ms Opinderjit Kaur, MLA, Sultanpur Lodhi, said since the state government had failed to bring about any development in the town that was the Mecca of Sikhism, she was now planning to write to the Union Government about the urgent need to bring the town under some development plan. She said she had already prepared a proposal in that regard. The proposal mentioned that an ultra-modern tourist bungalow, a Punjabi cuisine institute, well-landscaped parks and an artificial lake for boating be planned.

Meanwhile, the town is all set for the festivities. Pilgrims have started visiting the place. Decorations in form of buntings and lightings have been done.

A nagar kirtan, which will start from Sant Ghat Gurdwara and conclude at Gurdwara Ber Sahib, has been planned for Monday. A kirtan darbar, expected to be attended by top SGPC members and important Akali leaders, is also scheduled to be held on the day of Gurpurb on Friday.

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