Khalsa Heritage Centre
Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India
The Khalsa Heritage Complex is a new museum of the Sikh people located in the holy town of Anandpur Sahib, near Chandigarh in the Punjab state. The museum celebrates 500 years of Sikh history and the 300th anniversary of Khalsa, the scriptures written by the 10th and last Guru, Gobind Singh, founder of the modern Sikh faith. Clad with local sandstone and evoking the fortress cities of Rajasthan, Gwalior, and Punjab, the center acknowledges the Sikhs’ history as celebrated warriors. The upwardly curving roofs of the museum’s towerlike galleries are covered in stainless steel, designed in counterpoint to the rich tradition of gold domes that crown sacred Sikh buildings such as the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Located on a 75-acre site overlooking the town of Anandpur Sahib, the center is divided into two functionally integrated sets of buildings, which straddle a ravine and connect via the bridge.
The western complex, adjacent to the town, is organized around an entrance piazza and contains a 400-seat auditorium, a two-story library, and temporary exhibition galleries. A 540-foot-long bridge from the western complex crosses a 7-acre network of reflecting pools, providing access to the eastern complex, which houses permanent exhibition space. The eastern complex consists of two clusters of undulating galleries that reference the fortress architecture of the region and form a dramatic skyline against the surrounding sand cliff terrain and Himalayan foothills in the distance. The museum’s sandstone towers and reflective roofs represent earth and sky, mass and lightness, depth and ascension, themes that further echo inside the galleries. The buildings’ materials—a combination of concrete and local sandstone, with stainless steel roof forms—stand up to Punjab’s extreme weather conditions.