Up­scale restau­rant in­stead of can­teen at serai near Golden Tem­ple up­sets devo­tees

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Punjab - Sur­jit Singh

AM­RIT­SAR : Ig­nor­ing the de­mand for open­ing a can­teen that could of­fer food and re­fresh­ment at af­ford­able prices to devo­tees, the Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) has al­lowed a pri­vate up­scale restau­rant to op­er­ate at the Golden Tem­ple’s Sara­garhi Serai.

The restau­rant opened two weeks ago at a hall re­served for of­fer­ing re­fresh­ment fa­cil­ity on the ground floor of the nine-storey serai. The ₹44 crore build­ing, along the Her­itage Street, was opened in April 2017. The restau­rant, a com­mer­cial ven­ture, is even be­ing pro­moted out­side the serai and is also of­fer­ing the fa­cil­ity of free home de­liv­ery.

“This restau­rant is only meant for the rich. Nor­mal devo­tees can­not af­ford it. Only tourists or well-off devo­tees can use this restau­rant. Com­mon devo­tees are rarely seen eat­ing food there,” an SGPC em­ployee, work­ing with the serai depart­ment said, on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

He added that some­times peo­ple who were not even stay­ing in the serai were fre­quent­ing the restau­rant, cre­at­ing prob­lems for gate­keep­ers in iden­ti­fy­ing the in­mates and main­tain­ing or­der. The need for a re­fresh­ment hall at the Sara­garhi serai was felt as this is not as close to the lan­gar hall of the Golden Tem­ple, as other ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

“This is a serai, not a ho­tel. The gur­d­wara man­age­ment body, the SGPC, claims that the Golden Tem­ple is not a tourist spot. The open­ing of such a fancy and ex­pen­sive item con­tra­dicts this logic,” said Jatin­der Singh, a devo­tee from Ja­land­har.

An­other devo­tee, Ka­bal Singh from Pa­tiala, said, “Open­ing of this ex­pen­sive eatery also hits at the con­cept of lan­gar (com­mu­nity kitchen). The Golden Tem­ple has the largest lan­gar hall in the world. This is com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the serais.”

Many devo­tees have also taken ex­cep­tion to a menu item named, ‘Cigar Roll’ on the pure veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant. Devo­tees claim that cigar is as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing to­bacco, some­thing strictly pro­hib­ited in the Sikh re­li­gion.

Golden Tem­ple man­ager Jaswinder Singh Deen­pur said, “We gave the serai hall to the con­trac­tor for the pur­pose of run­ning a can­teen, I don’t know how it was con­verted into a restau­rant. I am at the Patna Sahib (Bi­har) right now for the cel­e­bra­tion of Guru Gobind Singh’s Parkash Purb. I will look into the high prices of food items once I re­turn.” How­ever, he did not dis­close the name of the con­trac­tor.

Sources added that the SGPC had con­ducted an auc­tion for open­ing a re­fresh­ment cen­tre in­side this serai at a high price, with the con­trac­tor said to be a politi­cian.


The restau­rant opened two weeks ago in a hall that was re­served for pro­vid­ing re­fresh­ment to devo­tees in the serai.

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