Virasat means Legacy & Khalsa stands for the Pure Sikh.
As I sit down to write this, a numerous thoughts cross my mind. There is so much to talk about in this museum. It is a first of its kind multimedia experience which has attracted over ten million tourists over a span of five years. Visit to the museum is a world class experience of a creation where history, technology and aesthetics are crafted together into an architectural masterpiece.
Firstly, as you enter the museum complex,the magnificent architecture welcomes you with its mystical charm. The structure stands majestically gleaming and the walls boasting of the rich history they adorn inside.
The design is conceived as two sets of buildings connected through a ceremonial bridge. Interlaced with gardens, open vistas and reflecting water bodies the complex evokes a serene and spiritual atmosphere.
The Western complex houses an auditorium and library while the Eastern complex is a dramatic cluster of buildings which houses the rich museum.
The structure is a series of tower like shafts cylindrical in shape that seem to emerge out of site standing boisterously with concave reflecting roofs shimmering with silvery reflection.
The cluster of shafts seems to be shaped like the lotus flower blooming towards the sky.
Another building is shaped like a boat emerging out of water creating the allusion of dynamic movement.
A crescent shaped building with its roof displaying a symphony of shapes creates an unusual drama.
The themes of earth & sky, mass & lightness, depth & ascension are represented through these quaint towers faced with Gwalior sandstone.
Inside the museum
The journey into the museum begins through the boat shaped building and as soon as you enter you are awe struck to see the marvellous hand painted mural on the walls depicting various villages, towns and festivities of Punjab.
Folk music lingers in the background as you ascend the circular path giving you a unique visual experience of art work coupled with play of lights.
The journey through this building introduces you to the culture, occupations, climate and rituals of Punjab. The well formed in between the spiral path is accentuated with an Ek Onkar chandelier which in itself is a masterpiece.
The Ek Onkar chandelier is a unique piece created from 2500 tales of fibre optics. The Mool Mantra resonates in the background exhibiting the core principles of Sikhism.
The Five Petals
Once u reach the top of this building you enter into the five petal shaped cluster. From here you embark on a soulful journey which guides you through an audio visual bliss. Each petal of the cluster narrates tales of the of the first five Gurus Guru Nanak Dev , Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das , Guru Ram Das & the fifth petal showcases the construction of Golden Temple & life of Guru Arjan Dev.
The first hall leaves you speechless with a unique visual experience.
This hall narrates the life of Guru Nanak showcased through embroidered panels on the wall
The subsequent petals narrate life of Guru Angad Dev and Guru Amar Das and are divided with a Baoli which recreates the essence of the era.
At the end of the fifth petal Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom is depicted through a sculpture on the terrace.
The place of Adi Granth is recreated in this gallery .
Moving further you enter the crescent building where each petal narrates immersive history & life of Guru Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Harkrishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur & Guru Gobind Singh.
As you reach towards the end of the story of the glorious life of the Gurus, the walls & ceiling are adorned with various quotes from the Guru Granth Sahib which is a mesmerising experience.
The lower galleries speak about the triumphs and tribulations of Baba Banda Singh & Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The depiction of the era of partition on how the Sikh community braved all odds through their resilience, bravery and dynamic attitude certainly gives you goosebumps.
Architect Moshe Safdie along with his associate Architect Ashok Dhawan and exhibition designer Amardeep Behl has created a magnificent integration of history, architecture & display which in times to come will be an echo of timeless architecture.
The journey inside the museum is an enchanting experience and brings you out soaked in the pride of the glorious history.
When to Visit ?
The museum is open on all days except Monday & other National Holidays.
For details log on to http://virasat-e-khalsa.net/
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