Sri Harmandar Sahib - Architecture • Engineering • Aesthetics (Golden Temple, Amritsar)

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Sri Harmandar Sahib: Architecture • Engineering • Aesthetics (Golden Temple, Amritsar) is based on the author’s doctoral research for which he was conferred his third PhD by the Panjab University in 2008. This holy shrine is the only example of Religious Architecture in the world that derives its concept and inspiration from the Sikh Faith’s Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Known all over the globe as the Golden Temple, it has been awarded the certificate of the ‘most visited place of the world’ by the London-based organisation, World Book of Records (WBR).

Though the world’s greatest architects have designed modern buildings for Religious Architecture of different faiths, the author says, only one architect in 45 centuries of recorded history mentions architectural creativity as an act of divine inspiration. He is the Spanish genius Antoni Gaudi who said, in the Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family), everything is providential.

The author has revealed many unknown facts about the Golden Temple that he calls a paragon of Religious Architecture. He stresses that the unique elliptical dome of the holy shrine  is a befitting visual metaphor for HUMILITY that Guru Nanak had made the Cardinal Principle of the Sikh Faith founded by him.

The stated distinction was achieved by a kind of Building Design that deploys Human Scale unlike the places of worship of other faiths which invariably exalt Monumental Scale. The Golden Temple size is incredibly modest, which also underscores the cardinal principle of Humility. Furthermore, the Shrine’s height is less than the height of a house permitted for Shudras, the lowest caste in Hinduism, in the Indian tradition. The holy shrine is approached by descending two-storey height from the ground level in sharp contrast to all places of worship of other religions that are approached by a flight of steps to reach their high plinth. The Golden Temple also celebrates all cardinal points as sacrosanct by virtue of being an integral part God’s creation of the universe, and respects any orientation that the site offers unlike in the case of other religions that makes an inviolable prescription. The magnanimous attitude of unconditional reverence for Mother Earth that permits an entrance on each of the four sides of the Golden Temple expresses the universalness of the Sikh Faith.

It is noteworthy that the Golden Temple is located in a large water body called the Amrit Sarovar [Pool of Elixir]. it was built by widening the existing water pond, which was celebrated as having miraculous healing powers. The ground was dug up towards the west in celebration of Ecology as underlying truth of the beauty and bounty of this planet that Guru Nanak had named the Great Mother Earth.

Water is celebrated in Gurbani [The Sikh Scripture] as The Father that sires every living organism on planet earth. Acoustically, the water of the Amrit Sarovar transmitted the Shabda Kirtan [hymn singing according to the prescribed modal melodies] effectively when there were no microphones or loud speakers and the Raagis [baptised hymn singers] performed it using the power of their lungs and vocal cords.

First book of its kind in the world, Sri Harmandar SahibArchitectureEngineeringAesthetics is written by a formally trained architect whose spiritual leanings and enormous research-based writings on diverse disciplines have won international acclaim. He has developed a method of studying monuments in order to establish their credentials as authentic historical styles of architecture.

The author has convincingly established that Sikh Architecture exists as a valid architectural style like Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, etc. His conclusion is that the holy shrine is the Matrix, Mother, and Marvel of Sikh Architecture. Furthermore, the Golden Temple, according to him, is a Paragon of Spiritual Architecture in the world.

About the Author: Dr SS Bhatti (83) is India’s most versatile professional, nicknamed “Chandigarh’s Mr Versatility” by Chandigarh Newsline of The India Express. He pursues an amazing range of disciplines: Architecture; Art; Poetry; Criticism; Aesthetics; Engineering; Vocal Music; Musicology; Comparative Religion; Mysticism; Geography; Philosophy; Sociology; Mythology; Planning; Creative Writing; and so forth.

He holds three PhDs: first one titled: “CHANDIGARH and the Context of Le Corbusier’s ‘Statute of the Land’: A Study of Plan, Action, and Reality” [1991]; the second on “CREATIVE MYSTICISM: A Study of Guru Nanak Bani with special reference to Japuji” [2000]; and the third on “SRI HARMANDAR SAHIB: A Study of Architecture, Engineering, and Aesthetics” [2008]. He won the Fifth JIIA [Journal of the Indian Institute of Architects] National Award for Excellence in Architecture [Research Category] for the first PhD in 1993. The second one was honoured by Guru Har Krishan Educational Society, Chandigarh, as the Best Doctorate done in 2000 at the Department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies, Panjab University.

He inherited from his father Sardar Balwant Singh Bhatti the family’s creative versatility and the pursuit of excellence besides love for Gurbani and understanding of the great Indian art and cultural tradition. His father designed Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hassan Abdal [now in Pakistan] and Takht Shri Kesgarh Anandpur Sahib, and was a past master in Sikh Architecture [his article on this subject can be seen on the Internet], painting, sculpture, wood-carving, Indian classical music, and  Greco-Indian style of wrestling.

Dr Bhatti has striven to extend the family tradition of versatile creativity to become India’s foremost protagonist of Holistic Humanism. He has made enormous contribution to many different fields which fact is widely acknowledged by eminent professionals working in them. He has to his credit three thousand works of Art, and written more than 5,000 poems in English, Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi. Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi has conferred on him Best Book of the Year Award for 2019 for his anthology of quatrains titled Shu’oor-i-Bekhudi in Urdu Poetry Category.

  • Hardcover: 140 pages
  • Publisher: White Falcon Publishing; 1 edition (2021)
  • Author: Dr SS Bhatti
  • ISBN-13: 9781636403618
  • Product Dimensions:  8.5 x 1 x 11 Inches

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