Chandigarh: Over the last few years, chairs, cushioned stools and benches have started appearing in gurudwara halls where the Guru Granth Sahib is placed as well as at langars. Though it was barred earlier, with many devotees unable to squat on the floor, the Akal Takht issued another directive asking that chairs and sofas be placed in the verandahs of gurudwaras, and prayers be relayed on screens for them.
“Several old and sick people come to the gurudwara and they can't squat because of knee or back problems. Stools are placed at the end of the hall along the walls for them,” says Priptal Singh, president of Gurudwara Dookh Niwaran, the biggest gurudwara in Ludhiana. “We make sure that the stools are lower than the platform on which the Guru Granth Sahib is placed.” Benches are placed at the rear of the congregation hall of the Sector 8 C gurudwara in Chandigarh too. Gurudwara Nauvin Patshahi in Guru Teg Bahadar Nagar, Jalandhar has gone in for a novel interior design.
When it was being built, the floor was designed to accommodate chairs at a level two feet below the rest of the floor at the end of the hall. This allows the entire congregation to remain at the same level. “Around 60-70 old devotees visit the gurudwara and they can't sit on the ground. This way the maryada (discipline and decorum) are not violated and they are comfortable as well,” says Jagjit Singh Gaba, president of the gurudwara. “The line between maryada and comfort is thin but it has to be maintained.”