It is said that the "Palace of Baba Guru Nanak" was built more than four centuries ago and was visited by Sikhs from across the world including India. The four-storey building had 16 rooms with each having a minimum of three delicate doors and at least four ventilators; it is situated at a village in Narowal city and is about 100 kms from Lahore.
A centuries-old heritage site known as ‘Guru Nanak palace’ was found to be partially destroyed by some vandals who reportedly sold its valuable windows and doors in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a Pakistani media report said on Monday. The walls of the four-storey structure had images of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak along with that of several Hindu rulers and princes, local news outlet, Dawn reported.
It is said that the “Palace of Baba Guru Nanak” was built more than four centuries ago and was visited by Sikhs from across the world including India. The four-storey building had 16 rooms with each having a minimum of three delicate doors and at least four ventilators; it is situated at a village in Narowal city and is about 100 kms from Lahore.
It is being reported that the vandals destroyed some parts of the structure “with the connivance of auqaf department officials” and also sold the building’s precious windows, doors and ventilators, the report said.
The building had been made with old bricks, clay, sand and limestone. The rooms had large broad walls along with cupboards which had wooden doors and flowers engraved on them.
Every room was airy and their walls had small lamp enclosures as well. The building also had expensive diyar wood beams of any sizes in the roofs, the reports said. Authorities have no idea about who the legal ‘owner’ of the property is.
A local resident Muhammad Aslam was quoted in a report, saying, “This old building is called the Palace of Baba Guru Nanak and we have named it Mahalan. A number of Sikhs from across the world, including India, used to visit this building.”
He also revealed that a six-member delegation carrying a book with information about the historical building, had visited from Canada once. The delegation was very happy with the visit, so much so that they looked like “they had found a treasure.”
“The auqaf department was informed about the demolition of the building by some influential persons, but no officer or official took any action or even reached here. Three storeys of the building have already been demolished and new houses constructed. The influentials have demolished the building with the connivance of the auqaf department and sold its costly windows, doors, ventilators and wood,” another local Muhammad Ashraf added.
Dawn reported that its attempts to ascertain the legal status of the centuries-old building with authorities from the deputy commissioner, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) proved unsuccessful in finding its owner.
Narowal Deputy Commissioner Waheed Asghar, who is in charge of the record of all properties in the region told that there is no record of the site in their revenue record. He added, “As it seemed to be historical, we are checking the municipal committee’s record”.
“Our team is investigating the Guru Nanak Mahal Bathanwala. If this palace was the property of Evacuee Trust Property Board, legal action will be taken against those responsible,” ETPB Sialkot zone Rent Collector Rana Waheed said.
After the news broke about the incident, the locals appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against those responsible for it.