Monday, 29 April 2013

Strathbungo Gurdwara Opening

I've watched the building of the first purpose built Sikh Temple from my flat over the last year or so.  Whilst not as architectural interesting as some of the older buildings in the area, it is much better than some of the recent flats that have been built in the neighbourhood.  It's quite a simple design and is based on a traditional Punjabi temple.  That said, it's not really too visible to most of the residents in Strathbungo, being built in the corner between the Tramway and the Glasgow/Kilmarnock Railway Line. The railway line is the border between the old Parish of Strathbungo and the old Burgh of Pollkshields, meaning that the Gurdwara, or teaching house, is in Strathbungo.   Prior to the site being used for Glasgow's buses and trams, it was a brick works and prior to that a nursery, growing fruit, vegetables, flowers and trees.

Fruit and vegetables have returned to the site as one of the functions of the new spiritual home for Scotland's Sikh population is to provide a community kitchen offering free vegetarian meals.

Organisers had expected that up to 2,000 people would attend a special opening ceremony and procession at the temple on Sunday 28th April 2013 but in the event some 3,000 made their way along Albert Drive and squeezed into the temple's worship room, which was designed to hold up to 1,000 people.  Strathbungo Parish Church had been rebuilt in 1988 to hold the same number.

Granth Sahib
The building of the Gurdwara reflects the changing population of the area.  Many of the countries   10,000 Sikhs live in the diverse southside of Glasgow and in particular Pollokshields, whilst Strathbungo Parish Church closed in 1979 and was converted into flats in 2006.

The "extravagant" ceremony on Sunday included a procession from the previous temple at 165 Nithsdale Road to the new building.  The temple opened with the arrival of the Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib.  Five elders, known as Panj Piare, or "beloved ones",
Panj Piare
brandishing their ceremonial swords lead a colourful procession to deliver the texts. I was one of the 3,000 at the colourful event and managed to take a few photos.  Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Deputy Scottish Labour Leader, Anas Sawar MP were also there.


Nicola Sturgeon

More of my photos are here

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