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Virasat-E-Khalsa Museum

Anandpur Sahib, India
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Khalsa Heritage Museum

The Khalsa Heritage Centre is a museum of the Sikh people located in the holy town of Anandpur Sahib, near Chandigarh in the Punjab state. The museum celebrates 500 years of Sikh history and the 300th anniversary of Khalsa, the scriptures written by the 10th and last Guru, Gobind Singh, founder of the modern Sikh faith.

Located on a 75-acre site overlooking the town, the Centre is divided into two functionally integrated sets of buildings, which straddle either side of a ravine and are connected by a bridge. The western complex, connected to the town of Anandpur Sahib, is organized around an entrance piazza and contains a 400-seat auditorium, a two-story library, and temporary exhibition galleries. A 540-foot long bridge from the western complex crosses a seven-acre network of reflecting pools, providing access to the eastern complex, which houses permanent exhibition spaces. The eastern complex consists of two clusters of undulating galleries that evoke the fortress architecture of the region and form a dramatic skyline against the surrounding sand cliff terrain and Himalayan foothills in the distance.

Architecture and Design

The museum campus is composed of two functionally integrated sets of buildings. The western complex, forming a gateway to Anandpur Sahib, houses exhibition galleries; a two-level library centred around a grand reading room overlooks water garden; a facility for storing rare archival materials and a 400-seat auditorium. A 540-foot bridge from the western complex crossed a seven-acre network of reflecting pools, providing access to the eastern complex which houses permanent exhibitions presenting Sikh history, religion, and culture.

Arranged in a group of five, the galleries reference the five virtues of Sikh religion. The symbolic themes of earth and sky, mass and lightness and depth and ascension are represented by the museum's sandstone towers and reflective silver roofs and are further echoed inside the museum's galleries.

The delightful experience begins at the Boat-shaped building 'Punj Paani' - the first gallery depicting the past and the present of Punjab, as seen in its villages and towns. The inside walls of the towering boat-shaped building have multiple colourful panels to create a three-dimensional effect, every inch hand-painted to perfection. The building also houses the largest hand-painted mural in the world, which uses a staggering 24,000 metres of fibre optics to illuminate it to depict Diwali.

Religion Interacts with New Urbanism

It serves to attract tourists and pilgrims. This results in consultation between religion and emerging need in the building environment. One side it promotes handcrafts to locals as well as nurturing a sense of heritage, besides it recalls to infinity by the volumetric interference of existing skyline is another phase of a visible Urbanism dilemma.

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vikas, October 26th, 2019
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