_________ Urban Design | Master Planning __________

Competitions, Urban Design

Guru Tegh Bahadur Memorial, New Delhi

With the development of highways and transportation infrastructure within the National Capital Region, the Entry Points into Delhi, the Capital of the country, have assumed immense significance.
An Invited Design Competition was floated and Aakar Design Consultants based in Gurgaon, were selected to execute their Design. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in February 2004.
Delhi with its history dating back to the 6th century, including its history as the capital of several empires, the Entry Point to the city of Delhi deserved to be celebrated, by commemorating its varied past.
The first such entry point that has been envisaged on the historical Sher Shah Suri Marg, now known as National Highway 1 connecting Punjab with Delhi has been designated to the memory of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs.
Guru Tegh Bahadur’s significance in the history of Delhi can be gauged by the fact that two historic Gurudwaras of Delhi i.e. Sis Ganj where Guru Tegh Bahadur and his disciples were beheaded, and Rakab Ganj his final resting place, are in his memory and are important places of pilgrimage.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Memorial is one such memorable entry point into the Capital and was designed based on this very premise.
Guru Tegh Bahadur traveled extensively throughout India spreading the teachings of Guru Nanak. He fought for the rights of the Kashmiri Pandits so that they were able to freely practice and follow their religion in the face of Aurangzeb’s atrocities. In today’s context, Guru Tegh Bahadur stood for human rights and he laid down his life in Delhi for this cause. In his fight, he was not alone but accompanied by three of his followers who also laid down their lives with him, achieving martyrdom.
The Central Pylon – 24 meters high in stainless steel, lit on top with LED lights bearing semblance to the Nishan Sahib stands in memory of Guru Tegh Bahadur. The base of this Pylon comprises of eight petals made of hand-beaten stainless steel plates, arranged in elliptical form with gaps to allow water to flow through. This signifies selflessness, a sense of being able to give away, without any expectations.
The central pylon rises from this vessel of stainless steel, which in turn, originates from a white marble platform symbolizing the power vested in the earth. This is the source from where the Guru derived his strength and courage to stand up against human rights violations.

His three disciples are represented by the three stainless steel arches 18 meters in diameter and are placed surrounding the central pylon, as one enters the memorial.

Their shining reflective surfaces, by merging with the surrounding, suggest a sense of dematerialization symbolizing the complete absence of ego and total selflessness of the three disciples.

The ten monoliths of varying heights ranging from 5-12 meters represent the ten Sikh gurus with their respective teachings engraved on them. Collectively they form a spiral symbolizing continuity and equality amongst the Gurus while retaining their individuality.

All these elements of significance are composed in an elliptical shaped landscaped bowl (143 x 116 mts.) with the green edges sweeping up to 8 meters in height.

The architectural play of sweeping green curves, geometric granite planes and reflective stainless steel forms create an aesthetic interplay of form and creates a serene and pleasing environment, truly a place for the people.
The project is primarily composed of different landscape and architectural elements of varied textures and reflectivity. To contain the space, gentle curves are provided through earth mounds. These mounds create a tranquil backdrop to the memorial and also cups the central pylon.
The inherent objective while designing was to use garden landscape as a commemorative environment. Visitors will have the dual experience of a memorial for the Guru, and of a much-needed urban scale landscaped green. This gathering place for people rooted in history would be a befitting Smarak for Guru Tegh Bahadur.

CLIENT Government of Delhi
through Delhi Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (D.T.D.C.)
DESIGN TEAM Gurpreet Singh
Priyanka Khanna
Radhika Sehgal
Mandeep Ratra
STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Engineering and Development Consultants
Prof. H.S. Bakshi
M.E.P CONSULTANT Engineering Consultancy Services
Mr. D R Babu