Historical tunnel-like structures were unearthed while excavating the basement of a building in the complex of the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, officials said on Friday.
Several Sikh bodies have been demanding the construction at the site be stopped and authorities should focus on restoring the structures as the brick-lined structures hold religious significance.
The tunnel-like structures made of small bricks, believed to be used centuries ago, were found at a depth of 25 feet during the construction of a 'Jora ghar' (shoe rack) on Thursday.
The former head of Guru Ramdas School of Planning of Guru Nanak Dev University Balvinder Singh said the tunnel might be linked to the summer palace in Rambagh where Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to stay during his visit to Amritsar.
"It could have a link with Akhara Sangal Wala, but the tunnel needs to be studied keeping in mind its historical relevance," he said.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Bibi Jagir Kaur said the excavated structures have historical value and Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira has called a team of the Archaeological Department to visit the site.
"Even the SGPC will get the structure examined by historians and if needed they will be preserved," she added.
The SGPC, which has control over Sikh religious affairs, manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, including the Golden Temple. (IANS/KB)