Amritsar, Punjab: Even as the government demolished the shops and houses from Ghee Mandi near Jallianwala Bagh to widen the road, other approach roads leading to the Golden Temple are still crying for attention.
These roads are in a bad shape due to the constant rise in number of vehicles, rampant encroachments, and stationary rehrees (hand-driven carts) adding to the traffic congestion.
Many commercial markets have come up around the Golden Temple. Over the period of time, traders have thrived reaping dividends from a high footfall of pilgrims.
Hall Gate, Ram Bagh Bazar road, Maha Singh road, Shera Wala Gate road are located just next to Ghee Mandi road besides Sultanwind road, Ramsar road from Gurdwara Shaheeda leading to the Golden Temple.
Hall Gate is the most popular approach road to the revered Sikh shrine.
Ample wide lane and footpaths on the either side have made it a favourite market for shopkeepers and shoppers alike. However, parking by the shopkeepers, their employees, shoppers and visitors add to the traffic chaos. For security purpose, this is the only route to the Golden Temple for the VIPs and VVIPs.
Rampant encroachments by the shopkeepers and plying of rehrees are a bane on Ram Bagh Bazar road, another road with a significant width.
Naresh Johar, a senior citizen, rued that the potential of the road had never been utilised as the authorities failed to curb the encroachments by shopkeepers and rehrees.
Pilgrims do not muster courage to travel on this road keeping in view the mess here.
Maha Singh Road offers the shortest route for the visitors alighting at the bus stand. However, congested road, encroachments, open drains and heaps of garbage become eyesore to the visitors. Hence, they avoid commuting from here.
An elevated road has been constructed to cater to the pilgrims coming on vehicles as it ends up at Saragarhi parking.
Ghee Mandi road is the least used approach road to reach the Golden Temple as trucks remain parked here. Even as the district administration has got constructed Transport Nagar to shift all transporters out of the congested walled city, many transport offices are still operating from here.
Next entrance to the walled city is Sultanwind gate which leads to Jallianwala Bagh and the Harmandar Sahib.
Ramsar road is the shortest link road between Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh Shahid and the Golden Temple. Hence, it is the most frequented approach road by pedestrians. A high number of shops selling garments, cosmetics and suiting and shirting have sprung up over the course of time.
Source: The Tribune