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Biggest gurudwara outside India opens

The #17.5 million gurudwara in Southall is second only to Amritsar's Golden Temple.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 22:19 IST

The biggest gurudwara in the world, and said to be second to only the Golden Temple in Amritsar, opened in Southall on Sunday. The £17.5 million gurudwara on 6,000 square metres is finished in marble and granite with a gilded dome and stained glass windows. The entire funding was raised through donations.

The Sri Guru Singh Sabha gurudwara opening ceremony included a marching band that marked the Sikh connection with British military, when worshippers carried the Guru Granth Sahib from the old gurudwara also in Southall to the new one.

Himmat Singh Sohi, its president informed that outside India the old gurudwara which was established in 1967, has been the most popular one. "If any movement or revolution has to begin outside India, it starts from here."

Attended by about 40,000 people, the gurudwara officials hope non-Sikhs too will visit the temple and it will soon become a tourist attraction.

The gurudwara has an underground car park and a modern library. The main hall has the capacity to accommodate over 3,000 people with a gallery above that, to hold another 1,000 people. The building has been designed by a London architecture company.

Sohi also said: "Congregation-wise this is the third biggest gurudwara after Harmindar Saheb and Bangla Saheb." It will also serve as a community centre and has a dining hall which can serve more than 20,000 meals in a festival weekend. The kitchens are fitted with most modern equipments and special cared has been taken for hygiene.

Over 30,000 also congregated in the afternoon at Trafalgar Square where gurbani was sung and prasada distributed to everyone to mark the opening of the Gurdwara. Plans are afoot for spectacular celebrations on the Baisakhi Day on April 6.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 22:19 IST