After getting the heritage city status and preserving many of the monuments to showcase the world, now Amritsar will have an added attraction for the tourists- “Urban Haat”.
“Urban Haat” having a food street and a craft bazaar on the lines of Lahore’s food street would give an opportunity to the tourists to savour authentic Amritsari cuisine, besides experiencing Punjabi traditions, craftsmanship and culture.
PUDA has refurbished an abandoned 124-year-old colonial building of Victoria Jubilee (VJ) hospital to set up Urban Haat. The site that is situated nearly 1 km from the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh is bound to attract tourists. The site is being developed by PUDA in consultation with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) that has developed such “haats” in cities like Bhopal and Agartala.
PUDA’s Additional Chief Administrator (ACA) Sandeep Rishi said, “The project has two components, a food street and a craft bazaar. The work on both is underway. There will also be an open air theatre and a souvenir shop.”
“We have not only strengthened the building structure, but also restored it. The hospital authorities altered some portions of the building; we’ve restored those portions to their original form. Some damaged arches have also been restored. For restoration, we are using materials similar to the ones already used in the building.” he added.
He also said the Urban Haat would also have ample parking facility for the tourists. Spread over 9.7 acres, the Urban Haat will have a craft appreciation centre, a souvenir shop, Punjab emporiums, food court (capacity: 400), restaurants, open-air theatre, plazas, eating joints, craft bazaar, exhibition and meeting rooms, administrative complex, kitchens, green rooms, gym and spa.
The project will cost around Rs 9 crore. Punjab Government’s focus is to ensure productive reuse of structures that have historic, architectural and cultural value. “Common guidelines have been formulated to retain authenticity, minimum intervention, cost-effective economic regeneration, use of traditional techniques and material for the project,” said a spokesperson.
While reviewing the ongoing development projects in Amritsar Deputy CM Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal asked the authorities to expedite the project so it could be dedicated to the countrymen on Baisakhi.