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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh

Gurdwara Designs

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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh

WJKK WJKF everyone,

Just to add some much needed input to a discussion taking place on the main page regarding the design of Sikh Gurdwaras:

https://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?/topic/83132-gurdwara-designs/

TejS said:
 

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Being interested in architecture, I have wondered this many times too. Also when I heard about the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, I couldn't help but think that not only the turbans, but the temple itself may had made it look more probable that it was a mosque. Now before I draw the ire of some members here, I'm not questioning the Gurus, simply just stating my own observations.

Having done some research I've found that Sikh architecture has been significantly influenced by Mughal architecture. And in turn, Mughal architecture is basically Persian architecture, which in turn is basically Arabian architecture, hence Islamic architecture. 

 

No. It's a very common misconception to refer to something as 'Arabian' architecture.  The  'Arabian' style is very different and this is well articulated by the designs of Moorish Islamic architecture in Spain. This photograph from 1915 of the great mosque of Kufa demonstrates well I think what the Arabian architectural style of a mosque always was:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Kufa_Mosque%2C_1915.jpg

So you see, our Sikh Gurdwara architectural style is organically influenced by the Persian style (very different to the Arabian style) which itself was heavily based on the Byzantium style via the eastern orthodox Christian style. Indeed before Islam was even born eastern orthodox Christian churches were already erected using the Byzantium architectural style, i.e. onion domes: (see pictures of some orthodox churches below)

In essence then, you need not concentrate too much on any 'islamic' influence and remember that the Sikh style of architecture cannot be separated from the natural and profound influence western Asia has had on the Punjab as a whole, regardless of whether it is language, buildings, culture or the layout of villages. And then, secondly, you need to remember that the Persian style that influenced us was in turn influenced by the eastern orthodox style which in turn was influenced by the Byzantium style. We, the Sikhs, didn't just fall out of the sky one day centuries ago....everybody is influenced by something...but don't get too hung up on any Islamic aspect because the muslims too were influenced by something that came before them.

 

St Igor Church, Peredelkino, Moscow, Russia, photo 1The Moscow Kremlin churches and cathedrals

Храм  Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы в Филях.

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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh

Not much changes on sikhsangat, in the sense that the distinct lack of debate and capability of debate is ever present. I only had a day or so for a brief chat so it’s a shame this discussion couldn’t have progressed. I would have liked to have taken the discussion to an examination of the Sassanian architectural concept of an ‘iwan’ and how persian islam took that concept as an essential aspect of a mosque, I.e.. a place where a ‘king’ would address the common masses and the Sikhs by and large by-passed the concept of an ‘iwan’ as an essential concept and instead concentrated on the ‘diwan’ as the abode of the true king,  I’ll be back in town next month. If anyone here would like to add to this topic It would be a pleasure to converse with you then.

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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh

Come on guys. Would love to hear your thoughts here about Gurdwara architecture outside of India. There is no right and wrong thing to say about this subject as each individual thought is valid. You see a building and you either like it or you don't. Maybe you have a reason for that emotion...maybe you don't. It's all valid. Like when we go to the National Gallery and you stare at a 17th century painting by some obscure Dutch artist. Maybe every little detail in that painting tells you a story about the history of international trade and life or maybe it doesn't speak to you at all and you just don't like it. It's all valid.  Maybe there is such a thing as Sikh Architecture...maybe there isn't...or maybe, as in my case, you feel there 'is such a thing but it isn't at the moment but should be in the future'....whatever that means !! Yikes.  It's all valid. Maybe you stare at the Ilford Gurdwara and are mesmerised by its symmetrical beauty and intricate artwork?

Image result for ilford sikh temple

Or...maybe, you're moved in a negative way because of the idea of a verandah or two designed for a princess to gaze lovingly and in awe over the luxurious and sweeping majestic plains of.......Ilford High Road ?

Image result for ilford sikh temple

 

There is no right or wrong. There is no ugly or beautiful building. It's about what your eyes make you feel inside. Share your thoughts with me here and I'll share mine.

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I find these old abandoned Gurdware in pakistan very beautiful 

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

Related image

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

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Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

Image result for old gurdwara pakistan

 

These buildings are beautiful yet simple and look nothing like mosques. They have so much character and charm 

Modern day gurdwara buildings look dull and repetitive compared to these buildings  

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I think the reason we never really developed our own culture is because we were constantly invaded by foreigners for around 1000 years. Punjab was used like a corridor for all those invaders. we were never really given the space to develop our own culture because we were constantly forced and bombarded with the culture of the invaders. Also our people had been living with constant fear and anxiety for generations, fear and anxiety had become part of us and was passed down. The invaders had broken the backbone of Indian society, we were not only enslaved physically but mentally too. On top of that the evil practices of the brahmins and the caste system made things even worse, Punjabis were spineless 

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5 hours ago, puzzled said:

I think the reason we never really developed our own culture is because we were constantly invaded by foreigners for around 1000 years. Punjab was used like a corridor for all those invaders. we were never really given the space to develop our own culture because we were constantly forced and bombarded with the culture of the invaders. Also our people had been living with constant fear and anxiety for generations, fear and anxiety had become part of us and was passed down. The invaders had broken the backbone of Indian society, we were not only enslaved physically but mentally too. On top of that the evil practices of the brahmins and the caste system made things even worse, Punjabis were spineless 

Punjabis were and are a spineless people. It's only the Sikhs that broke free from that attitude, but unfortunately it seems we're slinking our way back.

I agree that the constant invasions and overt pandering of Punjabi for foreigners and their self-hate has led to the predicament we are in today, however one has to ask, why couldn't Punjabis repulse those invasions? For all the bravado that is projected by Punjabi, even the non-Sikhs, why couldn't we hold our own? 

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Jagsaw's historical revisionism and critical theory in full flow once more on this forum. Seems like he's been brainstorming a folder full of ideas to mold supple and impressionable minds. "Just passing through, guys; been so busy." The living embodiment of a boomerang. 😁

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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh
1 hour ago, MisterrSingh said:

Jagsaw's historical revisionism and critical theory in full flow once more on this forum. Seems like he's been brainstorming a folder full of ideas to mold supple and impressionable minds. "Just passing through, guys; been so busy." The living embodiment of a boomerang. 😁

Why on earth would you be saying that mistersingh ?   What did I say that made you say that ? 😮

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Guest jigsaw_puzzled_singh
12 hours ago, TejS said:

You are so misinformed, it's not even funny. Moorish architecture in Spain is not "Arabian", as the Moors were from the Maghreb and not from Arabia. Moorish architecture found in Andalusia is mostly a mix of Berber (the ethnicity of the Moors) and Spanish architecture with Arabic/Islamic influences.

Yes that demonstrates Arabian architecture which by the way is synonymous with Islamic architecture. And the peaked domes and the overall layout is very reminiscent of Gurudwaras I see all the time.

Yup, you're still pretty misinformed. You would not have said the Arabian style is different to the Persian style which is influenced by Byzantine architecture, had you known that the first major demonstration of Arabic architecture that was to serve as the basis and influence for Arabic/Islamic architecture, the Dome of the Rock, was heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture. Persian architecture pre-Islam and before the Sassanids was extremely different and did not have the domes and horse-shoe arches that are now seen everywhere in Iran. The ruins of Persepolis and the Tomb of Cyrus are good examples of what Persian architecture was like before Islam. So, the influence goes like this: Byzantium > Arabic/Islamic > Persian > Central Asian > South Asian > Sikh.

Persepolis ruins:

116040-004-298127E3.jpg

Here's a reconstruction of Persepolis:

Persepolis_Reconstruction_Apadana_Chipie

And here's the Tomb of Cyrus:

264.jpg?v=1485680718

And herein lies the problem with our community. I've even opened up a thread about it that we have never cultivated a culture of our own. Everything that we call our own today is West Asian in origin, a group of people that we share no heritage with. Our culture represents the stupidity of our ancestors and their servitude under their West Asian rulers. Yes, everybody is influenced by others, but there's a limit to influence. You can be inspired from something and then build on it to make it your own. This has not been the case with our people (Punjabi and South Asians as well) who have blatantly taken what was imposed on them. It's a shame really.

Hi TejS. Thank you so much for your valuable input. Although I must say I'm a little surprised that you've chosen to take a combatative approach towards me. If I did say or do something that might have upset you please do accept my apologies. As for what you say in your message, I'm a little taken aback because my essentially the only thing I said in my opening message was that the term 'Arabic architecture' is not the correct one to use and that everything is influenced by other things that came before it. And I mean 'everything'.  Within your post, you seem to come round to that thinking anyway by the end of it by substituting 'Arabic' to 'Islamic' anyway so in many ways it demonstrates my argument that there is more that unites us than divides. Division is a man made concept. Unity, and the celebration and salute of what  men, women and animals before us did is the natural state of the human soul and it's connection to other beating hearts and the environment. I make that point because at the end of the message I will refer to your 'unintelligence' thread and also as a way of reinforcing my initial argument that it is plainly wrong to simply attribute Sikh architecture to Islamic architecture. Everything is influenced by other things. Everything. Even the first man that ever chose to come out of the caves and build shelter from sticks was influenced by the birds and other animals.  However, let's address some of your points:

Quote

You are so misinformed, it's not even funny. Moorish architecture in Spain is not "Arabian", as the Moors were from the Maghreb and not from Arabia. Moorish architecture found in Andalusia is mostly a mix of Berber (the ethnicity of the Moors) and Spanish architecture with Arabic/Islamic influences.

First of all what you've said there reinforces my argument that everything is influenced by something else anyways but as for the Moors: It is only black nationalists and the Wikipedia via the popular media that believe the moors were solely black and mahgreb. Whilst only very partly true at the very beginning they soon came to encompass a majority Arab make-up and by the time of their heyday in Spain and Portugal the word Moor' (or Saracen) was synonymous and used interchangeably for 'Arab'. Moorish architecture then, is Arabic architecture. All architectural styles adapt to their geographical setting. For example, Islamic architecture once it was on the Persian peninsula adapted to encompass beauty given the access to Chinese tiles via the old silk route and sikh architecture adapted in north America to encompass the geographical access to timber. Everything is connected and everyone is connected. Division has to be created. The connection is natural.

Quote

Yes that demonstrates Arabian architecture which by the way is synonymous with Islamic architecture. 

Arabic architecture is not the correct term to use. Islamic Architecture is. 

Quote

Yes that demonstrates Arabian architecture which by the way is synonymous with Islamic architecture. And the peaked domes and the overall layout is very reminiscent of Gurudwaras I see all the time.

No the Islamic domes are not the same as the ones you "see all the time" on Gurdwaras. Best seen from the air, Sikh domes are mostly (not always - given the wide variety of Sikh architectural styles - but mostly) inverted tulips. 99% of the time the  difference between a Sikh dome and an Islamic one is very obvious. Going back to the issue of influence and in reference to your other thread about 'intelligence' true intelligence was within our Gurus. True gyan. Never mind the meaningless ad totally unconnected relatively late erection of the temple rock dome in Jeruselum our Gurus understood the much older Hindu science behind the Dome. That much older science specified the dimensions, shape and spiritual energy of the dome with regards to sound therapy and spiritual healing. So again, as I said in my opening message to this thread, we shouldn't get too hung up on 'Islamic' influences. Everybody and everything is influenced by other things....not just Islamic.

Quote

Yup, you're still pretty misinformed. You would not have said the Arabian style is different to the Persian style which is influenced by Byzantine architecture, had you known that the first major demonstration of Arabic architecture that was to serve as the basis and influence for Arabic/Islamic architecture, the Dome of the Rock, was heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture

Well I must say I'm a little surprised that you would even think I didn't know that the Byzantine empire also covered the whole of the middle east and even more surprised that you think I wouldn't say what I said. Everything is influenced by other things. Everything. Nothing appears in isolation. Neither we nor anybody else just suddenly dropped out of the sky one day. All people are connected. Here in London, we are surrounded by all architectural styles, including some beautiful byzantine cathedrals. Everything is connected. No one thing defines anything.

Quote

So, the influence goes like this: Byzantium > Arabic/Islamic > Persian > Central Asian > South Asian > Sikh.

Did you leave out the eastern Christian tradition on purpose ? It was there long before Islam was even invented so why leave it out whn it in many ways influenced the Islamic style ?  Remember that photo from my first message of that white coloured orthodox church ? When you see that does it not remind you in some way of the Akal Takht ?  This is what connects all of us in so many ways. As I stated in my very first message : don't get too hung up on the Islamic side of things for it is just one of many influences.

Quote

And herein lies the problem with our community. I've even opened up a thread about it that we have never cultivated a culture of our own. Everything that we call our own today is West Asian in origin, a group of people that we share no heritage with. Our culture represents the stupidity of our ancestors and their servitude under their West Asian rulers. Yes, everybody is influenced by others, but there's a limit to influence. You can be inspired from something and then build on it to make it your own. This has not been the case with our people (Punjabi and South Asians as well) who have blatantly taken what was imposed on them. It's a shame really

I've seen your thread. It's a good one and we need more like it here on this forum.  Listen though, we do share heritage with everyone. Denying that shared heritage is in my mind 'unintelligent' whereas embracing it goes some way towards 'intelligence'.  What is 'intelligence' anyway ?  I have a degree, 2 masters and twice abandoned doctorates because I get bored an yet I have a call a man in to paste my wallpaper and need help to lay wooden flooring. That makes me very VERY unintelligent. I know history and can quote Descartes and the great stoics and yet I have to call a man in whenever my boiler's water pressure goes wrong. That makes me very VERY stupid. I like the arts, classical music , visit galleries and have spent half my life in museums and lectures and yet I don't know how to move my body in motion in happiness (dance). That makes me incredibly stupid. Each of us, including you, is incredibly stupid. You, for implying in your thread that you are the intelligent one and others are unintelligent are perhaps as stupid as I. Perhaps, those with the skills to survive are the true intelligent ones ? Perhaps those without any schooling that left Punjab knowing they had to provide for their families and so made the dangerous trek through central Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and then finally arriving in the UK by clinging to the bottom of a truck for 8 hours are the true intelligent ones ? When one can do that (i.e have enough intelligence to know how to survive) and the professor can't change a fuse or tape up faulty electrical wiring who out of these is the true intelligent one ?

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