International Sikh Architecture Symposium: Bhai Ram Singh gave distinct meaning to Punjab’s architecture, say Pak architects

The programme was attended by 1000 architects and other professionals.

Experts underlined the need for conservation and proper documentation of Sikh architectural heritage during the second virtual session on historic perspectives held on Tuesday as part of the ongoing International Symposium on Sikh Architecture that is being organised by Saakaar Foundation, Chandigarh.

Dr Balvinder Singh, former professor of Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar’s presentation was titled “Conservation of Sikh Architectural Heritage”.

He said, “To protect Sikh architectural heritage, we need to take services of only conservation professionals, or architects must be trained about conservation techniques and traditional materials, regular inspections conducted and documentation of heritage buildings and areas should be on top of the agenda. At the government level, the concept of listed buildings and heritage areas need to be introduced with legal backing”.

Acclaimed architects, Pervaiz Vandal and his wife Prof Sajida Vandal, from Lahore, gave talks on works of legendary architect Bhai Ram Singh. Architect Pervaiz said, “The northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent is a land of many faiths and people but is linked together by the Punjabi language and culture. Architecture is one expression of the regional culture of the area. Bhai Ram Singh is the first architect of the region to bring together a synthesis of western and local architecture giving distinct meaning to Punjab’s architecture. Recognition and study of his works are essential to delineate the present-day expressions of architecture in Punjab.”

Dr Subhash Parihar, who is a well-known name in historical research on the architecture of northwestern India, spoke on the “Architecture of Faridkot state”. He said, “The mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, Punjab architecture has remained unstudied so far. I have attempted to cover the state of Faridkot for this purpose. The other princely states of the region too built lavishly, but I am waiting for proper documentation and research of them.”

Dr Jatinder Kaur, associate Professor from the Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, delivered the concluding remarks on Tuesday. She said, “Sikhs have really great architectural heritage, just like other religions. It needs to be conserved and documented properly for the next generations”.

Others who spoke on the occasion were architects Guneet Khurana, Ramneek Gharial, and Deepika Sharma. The programme was attended by 1000 architects and other professionals.

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