AMRITSAR, Feb 24: Devotees from all over India and abroad are congregating at Amritsar to perform the `kar sewa' (desilting) of the holy tank in Durgiana temple which started on February 14, Mahashivratri, with religious ceremonies.
The area around the temple is reverberating with the chanting of mantras and hymns reflecting the mood of enthusiastic kar sewaks and the religious fervour can be felt in the whole city. The roads leading to Durgiana temple are decorated with buntings, welcome gates and sayings of saints.
Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All India Hindu Shiv Sena informed ENS that this was the third kar seva of the 531 ft long, 427 ft broad and 22 ft deep holy tank of the temple. The previous two kar sevas were performed in 1921 and 1975 under the aegis of Madan Mohan Malvia and Lala Jagat Narayan respectively. This time it was being done under the command of Vijay Chopra of Punjab Kesri, he added.
Om Parkash Kalia, chairman, Durgiana committee said a kar sewa samiti had been constituted to make all arrangements for this mega event. He said till today, desilting operations of three ghats, Raghunath Ghat, Langar Ghat and Gau Ghat had been completed and the other five, Katha Bhawan Ghat, Dhanwantri Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Saatya Narain Ghat and Shivala Ghat would be completed by March 6.
Using `dabras' (metal basins), the kar sewaks are dumping the mud at the nearby Hathi ground and there appears to be no tiredness on their faces.
Members and heads of various religious and other organisations like Dandi Awami Ashram, Mahaveer Dal, Swami Mohan Das Dera, Jagat Guru Shankracharya, Dobi Maha Sabha have performed kar sewa. Besides, delegations of members of American Congress and Israel are also here, said Kalia.
Describing the kar sewa, as a Mahakumbh, Billa said more than 20 lakh devotees have performed kar sewa including heads of various sects like Alamdharis, Radha Swamis, political and media personalities such as Mohinder Kapoor, Sardul Sikander. He said Narinder Chanchal and Hans Raj Hans were expected to come on February 25 and 26th respectively. Apart from Hindus, a jatha of Muslims from Malerkotla had also performed kar sewa, he added.
Kalia said apart from kar sewa of the holy tank, other works of beautification and expansion of the Durgiana complex would also be undertaken with a budget of Rs 5 crore. These include a langar bhawan which was almost complete, renovation of Sant Niwas, stitching school and Sanskrit Maha Vidyalaya.
He said work on gold plating of the `burjis' and ceiling of the main temple would also be started. He also informed that devotees were donating gold in forms of ornaments and gold `varaks'.
The Durgiana temple was constructed by Guru Harsai Mal Kapoor, a `hundi dalal' on the pattern of the Golden Temple after the Gurdwara Act came into force. The temple complex has some historic temples such as Sita Mata and Bara Hanuman. The water in the tank would be released on March 6 and the holy waters brought from several places would be poured into it, Kalia said.
People from all walks of life were making generous donations for the kar sewa. Various traders associations were providing food items for the community kitchen for about one lakh devotees each day.
Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh and Vidhan Sabha Speaker Madan Mohan Mittal had also donated Rs 75,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively.
Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.