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With devotees footfall on the rise, SGPC set to open three new serais

By, Amritsar
Apr 01, 2024 07:42 AM IST

A budget of ₹19 crore allocated to complete the pending work of these serais; Project of a serai with 1,700 rooms to start soon

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will be opening three more serais (inns) around the Golden Temple soon to meet the demand of the devotees amid increasing footfall.

A new serai being constructed by SGPC near the Golden Temple complex. (HT)

As per the officials of the SGPC, as many as 1 lakh devotees visit the shrine daily, and the number goes up to 1.75 lakh on weekends, special days or vacations.

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Existing serais — Sri Guru Ram Das Niwas, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Niwas, Sri Guru Hargobind Niwas, Mata Ganga Niwas, Sri Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas, Saragarhi Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Niwas and Mata Bhag Kaur Yatri Niwas — have a total of 788 rooms and 25 halls.

“The devotees’ footfall has increased fast since 2017 after the facelift of the areas surrounding the shrine and the construction of Heritage Street. The beautification of the buildings along it has also led to an increase in the number of devotees visiting the shrine. The current arrangements are unable to accommodate a large number of devotees visiting daily, hence the need was felt to build more serais,” an official of SGPC said.

While the room rent for SGPC serais is between 200 to 1,000 per day depending on facilities, the hotels and guest houses charge 1,500 onwards for a day.

The accommodation is turning out to be a big issue, and demand for more rooms was also raised by members during the recently held budget session of the SGPC on March 29.

“Given the persistent surge in the footfall, three new serais—Bhagat Namdev Ji Niwas, Baba Basant Singh Niwas and Bhai Jaita Ji Niwas—are under construction in the surrounding of Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) under the guidance of SGPC president Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami”, said Partap Singh, chief secretary of the SGPC.

Bhagat Namdev Niwas, being built at Kesri Bagh, will have 110 rooms, while Baba Basant Singh Niwas, being constructed at Parag Das Chowk, will have 90 rooms. Bhai Jaita Ji Niwas will have 80 rooms. “Civil work of these serais is in the final stage and is expected to be completed in this financial year. These serais will ease the situation a bit”, he added.

To complete these buildings, a budget of 19 crore has been allocated.

SGPC chief secretary also said that a bigger serai has also been planned, and work on it will start soon.

“The construction plans for a big serai at Akali market, near Sri Darbar Sahib, have been finalised. This serai will have at least 1,700 rooms. We will soon start work. The only problem we are facing is that this site is situated in a congested area. Narrow market streets around it will mean that we will have to take construction material to the site at night,” Partap added.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and some other Sikh organisations also have the serais in the holy city, these are situated at some distance from the Golden Temple, and most of the devotees prefer to stay closer to the shrine complex.

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