Ramgarhia Bunga

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Two views of Ramgarhia Bunga near the Golden Temple. Designed like a minaret, they are an 18th-century Sikh watchtowers to detect and defend against Afghan Islamic army attacks.

Ramgarhia Bunga is the three-storeyed red stone watchtowers complex located near southeastern edge of the Golden Temple, Amritsar.[1] It is a pre-Ranjit Singh structure built by Sikh warrior and Ramgarhia misl chief Jassa Singh Ramgarhia in late 18th-century[2][3], after the 1762 destruction and desecration of the Sikh holy temple and site by the Afghan Muslim forces led by Ahmed Shah Abdali.[1] Around the watchtowers, he built a mud fortress and a water well, to house and keep soldiers – a complex he called "Ram Rauni".[4] The Bunga watchtowers-related infrastructure was constructed to station sentinels to watch for any surprise attack, house soldiers to help fortify the area, and to protect the holy complex from desecration.[1][5]

The two minaret-style Ramgarhia Bunga high towers are visible from the parikrama (circumambulation) walkway around the Harmandir Sahib Sarovar (water tank).[6] According to Fenech and McLeod, during the 18th-century, Sikh misl chiefs and rich communities built over 70 such Bungas of different shapes and forms around the Golden Temple to watch the area, house soldiers and defend the temple.[5] Such Bungas were also built near major Sikh shrines elsewhere on the Indian subcontinent in the 18th-century.[5] In the 19th-century, these served defensive purposes, provided accommodation for Sikh pilgrims and some served as centers of learning.[5] Most of the Bungas were demolished during and after the British colonial era, often to improve the facilities for growing number of pilgrims in the 20th-century. The Ramgarhia Bunga is a surviving example of the Bunga-related historic infrastructure in Amritsar,[1] along with Akal Takht which originally was built as the Akal Bunga on the other side of holy tank.[5] It remains a symbol of the Ramgarhia Sikh community's identity, their historic sacrifices and contribution to defending the Golden Temple over the centuries.[7]

The Ramgarhia Bunga houses the granite slab from the Red Fort on which, according to the oral tradition, all the Mughal emperors were coronated in Delhi. This slab was seized by Sikhs from Delhi, during an attack against the Mughal armies, and brought back to Amritsar as a symbol that the Mughal Empire will end with the removal of their coronation stone.[1]

Bunga structure[edit]

Bunga Ramgarhia
Ramgarhia Bunga and Golden Temple illuminated on Guru Nanak Dev Gurpurab

Ramgarhia Bunga consists of three flat-roofed ranges, each of two principal storeys, arranged round three sides of a courtyard and is constructed almost of small burnt bricks (Nanakshahi) set in lime and mud mortar.[8] The colonnade and the triple arches are of red sandstone. The undersides of the vaults and all the walls were finished internally and externally with lime plaster and lime wash, much of it decorative with arches. Lower levels are approached by two flights of steps, one from outside and the other from within the courtyard.

History[edit]

During the reign of the Muslim Mughal Emperors, The Golden Temple was damaged many times, but each time it was rebuilt by the Sikhs. Sardars of the 12 Misls decided that some of the Khalsa leaders must be housed inside it for its protection against their enemies. Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia had conquered territory as far afield as Delhi, where he removed the slab from the throne on which the Mughal coronation ceremonies were held. He brought the slab to Amritsar and placed it in the Ramgarhia Bunga where it still lies.

Renovation[edit]

The original domes on the minarets were damaged and then removed in 1903 because of an earthquake. The minarets were again heavily damaged by Indian artillery fire during Operation Blue Star in 1984,[9][10]but later renovated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee[11] and the Ramgarhia Society Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Federation.[8][12]Later, some Babas of Kar Sewawale had done colossal damage to the heritage site by converting a portion into their abode.[13] There are also plans to convert basement of bunga to Sikh museum.[14]

See also[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e The Golden Temple, Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board, Government of Punjab, India
  2. ^ http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=2532&cat=14
  3. ^ http://www.sikh-heritage.co.uk/heritage/Amritsar/Amritsar.htm
  4. ^ Parm B Singh (1999). Golden Temple. Punjabi University. p. 23. ISBN 978-81-7380-569-1.
  5. ^ a b c d e Louis E. Fenech; W. H. McLeod (2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-1-4422-3601-1.
  6. ^ Pashaura Singh; Louis E. Fenech (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 435. ISBN 978-0-19-969930-8.
  7. ^ Pashaura Singh; Norman Gerald Barrier (1999). Sikh Identity: Continuity and Change. Manohar. p. 264. ISBN 978-81-7304-236-2.
  8. ^ a b "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". www.tribuneindia.com.
  9. ^ "tribuneindia... Punjab". www.tribuneindia.com.
  10. ^ Pandey, Hemant Kumar; Singh, Manish Raj (2017). INDIA’S MAJOR MILITARY & RESCUE OPERATIONS. Horizon Books ( A Division of Ignited Minds Edutech P Ltd). p. 154. ISBN 9386369397.
  11. ^ "Conservsation of Ramgarhia Bunga". Archived from the original on 10 October 2008.
  12. ^ https://www.bhaskar.com/punjab/amritsar/news/ramgarhia-bunga-to-be-rescued-for-6-years-073113-4564397.html
  13. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". www.tribuneindia.com.
  14. ^ https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/bunga-ramgarhia-to-be-converted-into-museum/
  15. ^ https://kunalkhurana.com/amritsar-2018/

External links[edit]

Media related to Ramgarhia Bunga at Wikimedia Commons