Gurdwaras across globe
The Golden Temple
Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari(God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Earlier the planning to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar ) was chalked out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the Third Nanak, but it was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision of Baba Budha ji. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs on payment or free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages. The plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore, the construction work on the Sarovar(the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570. The work on both projects completed in 1577 A.D.
Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib - the holy City of Bliss-is one of the most important sacred places of the Sikhs and is closely linked with their religious traditions and history. It is located on the lower spurs of the Himalayas surrounded by picturesque natural scenery, with the river Satluj forming a shimmering and shiny blue border on the south west barely four miles away. So far as the historical significance of Anandpur Sahib is concerned, it is second only to Amritsar, the city of Golden Temple. Anandpur Sahib was founded in the year 1664 by the ninth Guru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji, near the ruins of an ancient place, Makhowal. The Guru purchased the site from the ruler of Bilaspur.
Gurudwara Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib
In 1699, on the occasion of the festival of Baisakhi, Guru Nanak's mission was fulfilled by the 10th Guru, Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, when, through baptism of the double-edged-sword the Sikh was consummated as the Khalsa-Saint Soldier- in direct commune with the Guru and God. Still more astonishing is the fact that the Guru had got himself baptised by the Panj-Pyaras, the five beloved ones, who had offered him their heads to uphold Dharma - the righteous cause.
The Takht Sahib proper is a square hall with a balcony in front overlooking a spacious courtyard on a lower level. In the middle of the inner domed room are placed some weapons preserved as sacred relics. The space being limited on the top of the hill, the sarovar is on the plain ground west of the Takht Sahib. A large spacious pavilion is available for larger congregation. Although the town is small, for the Hola Mohalla every year in the month of March it bursts alive and recaptures its old glory and splendour.
Unique Attraction of Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib comes to life every year on the occasion of Hola Mohalla. Holla Mohalla is the great annual Sikh martial festival of the Khalsa, which falls in late March. This tradition dates back to the times of the 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The event was specifically inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh to infuse a permanent martial spirit into the Sikh community. It was in March 1700 that Guru Gobind Singh added the Sikh martial festival of Holla Mohalla to the end of the traditional Hindu Indian festival of Holi. The Guru decided that the occasion of the festival of Holi, fun and frolic and colour splashing, be the occasion for the display of the martial spirit of his people and he gave this festival of Holi a more masculine name of Hola Mohalla.
On this annual event, Guru Gobind Singh would organise martial contests between two Khalsa armies, one of attackers (‘Holla’) and other of guardians (‘Mohalla’). The aim of the Holla team was to dislodge the Mohalla team off the hill fort of Lohgarh (Iron Fort) and capture it. The aim of the Mohalla team was to drive back the attackers and keep hold of the fort until sunset. In this military war game, the contestants clashed with each other fiercely, and fought bone-breaking contests with the wooden clubs and sticks. This contest would begin early in the morning and ended at sunset, after which the Guru would reward the victorious Khalsa warriors and those who had shown exceptional daring and skill.
Each year Hola Mohalla marks the congregation of thousands of devotees from all over the country for a festival of colour and gaiety.
Baisakhi 1999 at Anandpur Sahib had been significant as it marked the completion of 300 years of the Birth of the Khalsa. It was on Baisakhi day in 1699 that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji baptised the 'Panj Pyaras' at Anandpur Sahib at the place where Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib stands.
Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo (Punjab)
Damdama means the breathing or resting place. Damdama Sahib is one of the Five Takhts of the Sikhs. (The other four Takhts are Akal Takht, Amritsar, Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur, Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded (Maharashtra) and Takht Harmandir Sahib Patna (Bihar). It is located at village Talwandi Sabo, 28 km southeast of Bathinda. It is also known as Talwandi Sabo and Guru Ki Kashi. Guru Gobind Singh stayed here after fighting battles against Mughal atrocities. Before his arrival at Talwandi, two of the Guru’s sons were bricked alive at Sarhind and two laid down their lives at Chamkaur Sahib. After writing Zafarnama, Guru Gobind Singh fought a successful battle at Muktsar and then moved towards Talwandi Sabo Ki.
While at Talwandi, Sikhs started coming to the Guru from all over Punjab and other places. Here a Gurudwara was erected in Guru's memory. This place is also known as Guru -Ki -Kanshi as it was made a center of the Sikh learning.
Damdame Wali Bir of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was prepared here by Guru Gobind Singh. It was transcribed by Bhai Mani Singh. The hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib were added into the Bir.
It was at Dam Dama Sahib that Bhai Dalla was tested for his bravery by Guru Gobind Singh and brought into the order of Khalsa. It was from Damdama Sahib that the Guru moved towards south. In the meantime, Aurangzeb died and the Guru helped Bahadur Shah, Aurangzeb's eldest son to sit on the throne.
The Guru was honored by Bahadur Shah at Agra. The new Emperor also left for south but parted from the Guru at Nanded. It is said that Bahadur Shah did not fulfill his promise to punish the officials who had committed atrocities upon the Sikhs and killed Guru's young children. The Guru commissioned Banda Bahadur to Go to Punjab and punish the guilty and bring peace to the state.
Guru Gobind Singh arrived here on 20-21 January, 1706 and camped outside the village. The magnificent Gurudwara Sri Damdama Sahib marks the place of his stav. Here local Chaudhari Bhai Dalla looked after Guruji with great devotion. He refused to arrest the Guru as directed by Wazir Khan, Nawab of Sirhind.
Mata Sundri and Mata Sahib Kaur escorted by Bhai Mani Singh came here from Delhi to meet Guruji. Guruji spent nine months of intense literary activities.
Here Bhai Mani Singh prepared the holy volume under the guidance of Guruji. Talwandi thus became a seat of learning and assumed the status of Guru Ki Kashi. It was here that Chaudhari Tiloka and Rama, ancestors of the Pulkian (Patiala, Nabha and Jind) rulers received Amni from the blessed hands of the Guru. Sacred articles of the tenth Guru, namely Sri Sahib (Sword), a mirror, a match lock, a portrait of the tenth Guru, a pothi. (book) transcribed by Baba Deep Singh, Sword of Baba Deep Singh and a Persian sword are displayed in the Gurudwara Damdama Sahib. The other sacred place at Talwandi Sabo are, Jand Sahib, Tibbi Sahib, Likhansar and Gurusar.
Besides, there are two Gurudwaras in memory of the ninth Guru Sri Tegh Bahadur, known as Wada Darbar Sahib and Gurusar.
Guru Gobind Singh had come to Talwandi Sabo at the request of Bhai Dala, a devoted follower. He was the Chief of Brar jats of Ma!wa area. He liked the place immensely and stayed here for over nine months. During his stay, the place was transformed into abode of the Khalsa and became a second Anandpur.
At Damdama Sahib as it is now called, the Guru preached complete sacrifice of personal and family interests at the altar of the good of mankind. The following. words of the great Guru expressing his firm faith in the Khalsa, are inscribed on a pillar installed by the Punjab Government.
Patna Sahib in Patna, Bihar
Patna city has the unique distinction of being honoured by the holy presence of the Mahatama Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Tegh BahadurJi . Besides, it is also the birthplace of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He was born here on December 22, 1666.
There stands, at the sacred place a magnificent holy shrine, called Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib.
It is situated in one of the old quarters of Patna city, once known as Patliputra,azimabad and some part of patna as Kucha Farrukh Khan, now known as Harimandir Gali.
It is regarded as one of the holiest of five Takhts, the seat of the Sikh authority. Two of the five Takhts
are located outside Punjab.
These are Takht Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib in Bihar, and Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib Ji in Nanded in Maharashtra.
Besides, there are over one hundred important holy Sikh shrines spread over the length and breadth of the country which are humming with the sacred message of the Sikh Gurus and reminding the people of their teachings. These are visited by thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.
The new order Khalsa Panth was set up by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji with emphasis on unity and integration. He baptised Panj Pyaras on Baisakhi day at Anandpur Sahib in 1699 and founded the Khalsa Panth. The Panj Piaras represented the different segments of society. Thus the tenth Guru created Khalsa Panth for the protection of the downtrodden and deprived sections of people.
The site where the present Harmandir stands was originally called the haveli of Salis Rai Johari, who was a great devotee of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was so much influenced by the teachings of the Guru that he converted his palatial house into a dharamsala. When Guru Tegh Bahadur visited Patna, he stayed in the same place. A magnificent house was built above the dharamsala of Salis Rai. Mullah Ahmed Bukhari,the author of Mirat-ul-Ahwal Jahan Nama, who stayed at Patna for some time at the close of 18th century, has made a reference to Harmandir. He wrote, "Over the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs have raised a public edifice, made it a place of power and strength, and call it 'Harimandir '. It is also called 'Sangat' and is held in great esteem and veneration. They have made it a place of pilgrimage.
Hazoor Sahib of Nanded in Maharashtra
The Eternal Father willed and I raised the Panth. All my Sikhs are hereby ordered to accept the Granth as their Preceptor. Have faith in the holy Granth, as your master and consider it the visible manifestation of the Gurus. He who hath a pure heart will seek guidance from its holy words."
........These are the words uttered by Guru Sri Gobind Singh ji, before he left for his heavenly abode (Parlok Gaman) along with his horse Dilbag on October 7, 1708 at Nanded in Maharashtra.
A few days before Parlok Gaman, Guru Gobind Singh ji ended the line of personal Guruship by appointing the “Granth Sahib” (Gur-Ta-Gaddi) as his official successor with the status of ‘Eternal Guru’. His objective was great and laudable. He fully realized that human beings are perishable, but noble ideas live forever – they are eternal. For this reason he made the Granth Sahib a repository of sublime ideals, a spiritual and secular guru that contains hymns of Muslim, Hindu, and Harijan saints in addition to the compositions of sikh gurus. He thus entrusted the destiny of the Khalsa not to a charismatic personality but to the collective wisdom of the community. His sole mission was to restore mankind to a single brotherhood.
It was here that in the first week of Sept’1708, that a Bairagi Sadhu Madho Dass was baptized to Sikhism by Guru Gobind Singh ji and was given a new name – Banda Singh Bahadur. It was this great hero who in the next seven years (1709-1715) gave a sharp turn to the history of Sikhs by shaking the foundation of Mughal Empire in the North-west and paved the way for the liberation of the Punjab in 1764-65.
His another disciple Bhai Santokh Singh was advised to continue to stay at Nanded and to start “Guru ka Langar” for the devotees.
Bhai Daya Singh and Dharam Singh, two of the Panj Piare (Five beloved Ones) who had offered their heads at the Guru’s call when the Khalsa was created in Kesgarh Fort of Anandpur Sahib on the Baisakhi Day of 1699, and had survived the battle of Chamkaur, subsequently died here.
A Gurudwara was constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh ji at the site where Guru Gobind Singh ji breathed his last. It took 5 years to complete (1832-1837). It is revered as "Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib". This historical shrine, which is one of the five Takhts (thrones) of the Sikhs is situated near Godavari river. It is visited by lakhs of devotees throughout the year. It is a two-storey building. Its interior is artistically ornamented in the style of Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. The walls of the inner room called Angitha Sahib have been covered with golden plates. The dome is polished and on the pinnacle is the kalash made of gold plated copper.
The building stands on a high base and has a small square room on the second floor bearing the gilded ribbed dome topped with a tall gilded pinnacle and umbrella shaped finial. There are some rooms in the basement too, so that the edifice is technically four-storied. Corners of the roof of the first floor are decorated with domed kiosks on octagonal pedestals. Other embellishments on the exterior included oriel windows and a fancy fencing on the roof top. Inside, the sanctum it has marble lining decorated with inset work in floral patterns on lower parts of the walls and stucco and tukari work on the upper parts as well as on the ceiling.
Guru Granth Sahib is seated in the room in front of the sanctum during the day time only and at night it is brought inside and placed on a marbled platform. During the day there are some old weapons and other relics such as a golden dagger, a matchlock gun, a quiver with 35 arrows, two bows, a steel shield studded with precious stones and five golden swords. All these are placed on a marbled platform.
The building complex of the Takhat Sahib is spread over several hectares. It also includes two other shrines, Bunga Mai Bhago ji (comprising a large room where Guru Granth Sahib is seated) and Angitha Sahib (place of cremation).
Guru Gobind Singhji, while conferring Guruship on the holy Book, had named Nanded region as Abchalnagar (steadfast city). The word Sachkhand (region of Truth) was used to mean the abode of God.
Besides Gurdwara Sachkhand Sahib, other major Gurdwaras in Nanded area are Nagina Ghat , Banda Ghat, Sangat Sahib, Baoli Sahib, Mal Tekdi, Shikar Ghat, Hira Ghat and Mata Sahib, etc.