CLEANEST RELIGIOUS TOWN GOLDEN TEMPLE, AMRITSAR, PUNJAB
The Golden Temple and the extensive complex that surrounds it are largely kept clean by devotees. Though the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages the shrine, employs several people as sevadars and managers, over 90 per cent of the work is done by devotees who view this as seva, or religious service. This includes helping out in the langar (community kitchen), serving water to thirsty visitors and cleaning the temple complex. The sanctum sanctorum is washed clean once a day, before dawn. The parikrama, the white marble walkway that fringes the Amrit Sarovar, is washed clean twice a day.
And there is no dearth of volunteers. SGPC functionaries and Amritsar municipal corporation authorities estimate that 100,000 people visit the temple each day, with many more on festivals. The total footfall exceeds 50 million annually. Many devout Sikh families make it a practice to spend a month or more every year performing seva. In fact, performing seva at the Golden Temple transcends religious boundaries— several Hindu residents of Amritsar regularly join in with equal devotion.
Sadly, keeping the area surrounding the Golden Temple complex clean remains a challenge. The SGPC and municipal corporation struggle with overstretched facilities, a lack of space to build and maintain public conveniences and the challenge of convincing residents and visitors that the outside is just as important at the inside. The municipal corporation is now working on constructing more toilets, installing bio-impactors and smart-waste bins as well as a bio-methane plant to use the wet waste generated by the langar more productively.