DW BUREAU / CHANDIGARH
A massive tent city spread over 270 acres has been readied at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab to provide free accommodations to thousands of devotees who are expected to converge next month for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
The tent city, which has a capacity of 35,000 people, will comprise big and small dormitories, family tents, cubical tents for two persons, VIP lounges, ‘langar’ (community kitchen) area, power back up and CCTVs, besides other basic amenities, according to Pankaj Sharma, the project manager.
Pilgrims from several parts of the country and abroad will be visiting the city, where the first Sikh Guru spent 14 years and attained enlightenment.Indore based company Girdhari Lal and Sons, which had set up a tent city in Patna in Bihar on the occasion of 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in 2017, is undertaking the project at Sultanpur Lodhi.
“The 90 per cent work on the setting up of tent city is complete,” said Sharma.The tent city, which is divided into three parts, will accommodate 35,000 devotees, Sharma said.
An online registration system will be put in place for allocation of space starting from November 1, he said.
The tent city will comprise 367 big dormitories (60 persons in each dormitory), 600 small dormitories (for 15 persons in each dormitory), 776 family tents (for four persons each) and 476 cubical tents (for two persons), he said adding that attached toilets will be provided with family and cubical tents.
A ‘pandal’ spread over 16,000 square metre will be set up where VIP lounges will be set up.
Area has also been demarcated for ‘langar’ (community kitchen) in the tent city. Besides, there will be cloak room, waiting lounge and ‘Joda ghars’ (place to keep shoes), he said.
“There is going to be hundred per cent power back up, RO water supply for drinking purposes and 250 CCTVs will be set up,” he said adding that fire hydrants would also be arranged. “Arrangements will be such that devotees face no problem during their stay,” said Sharma.
District authorities are expecting that 15 to 20 lakh will visit the city for the celebrations. Congress MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi Navtej Cheema said villagers within seven to to eight kilometres of this area were also being requested to accommodate people at their houses as there was going to be a huge rush of devotees next month. “Already we are witnessing a heavy inflow of devotees. That is why we are now making arrangements for them at marriage palaces, colleges, hotels and wherever we could find place for their stay,” said Cheema. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is also making arrangements for accommodating people at ‘sarais’ (inns) and some schools buildings. Arrangements for ‘langar’ (community kitchen) will also be made by the SGPC, an official said.
A huge parking place is also coming up in Sultantpur Lodhi for vehicles. Punjab government is spending over Rs 300 crore on upgradation of infrastructure like constructing roads, widening and repairing of roads, building new bridges, upgradation of bus stand etc. Mural paintings and stencil art related to Sikh culture would also be on display on walls in the city, an official said. Invitations have already been extended to the President, Prime Minister, chief ministers of several states and other dignitaries for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev for the ‘Parkash Purb’ on November 12.