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FAMOUS GURUDWARAS  

Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)

'Sri Harmandir Sahib', also known as 'The Golden Temple' or'Darbar Sahib' (Royal Court of the Divine) is situated in the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. It is built on a square platform in the centre of a tank that was excavated by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das Ji in 1577. This tank subsequently came to be known as Amritsar (pool of nectar of immortality), giving name to the holy city that was built around it.

· Built by the fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev Ji in 1601, 'The Golden Temple' is a prominent symbol of spiritual and historical traditions of the Sikhs, and a great source of inspiration for the whole Sikh community.

· 'The Golden Temple' has four entrances, which symbolize that people of any faith and race are welcome in the Guru's house to attend the worship services and connect with the Almighty. The four doors also symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards other faiths.

Regarding the four doors of Harmandir Sahib, Guru Arjan Ji exclaimed," My faith is open for people of all castes and all creed from whichever direction they come and to whichever direction they bow. "


· The present day structure was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, and in the early nineteenth century Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the upper floors of the Gurdwara with gold, which gives it a distinctive appearance and hence the name 'Golden Temple'.  

· In 1604, Guru Arjan Dev Ji compiled the Adi Granth, the holy scriptures of Sikhism, and installed it in 'Sri Harmandir Sahib'. Guru Ji appointed Baba Budha ji as the first Granthi, i.e. the reader of Adi Granth. After this event, the Gurdwara became an important pilgrimage centre for the Sikhs.

· Today the Gurdwarais visited as a prime tourist destination, and provides 'Langar'(community kitchen) and lodging to a large number of visitors every day.

· Darbar Sahib was partially destroyed by the military invasion of the Indian army in 1984, but later rebuilt.

 

The Five Holy Takhts

‘Takht’ means throne or Seat of Authority. In Sikhism there are five historical Gurdwaras which are classified as the Five Holy Takhts. These Takhts or Gurdwaras are of special significance since many important decisions pertaining to the religious and social life of Sikh community are taken here.

The Five Takhts are:

1)The Akal Takht

Alak Takht is the highest seat of authority and justice for the Sikhs.  The literal meaning of Akal Takht is "Eternal Throne".

· Part of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

· Founded by Guru Hargobind Ji in 1606 who used to address many social and religious gatherings from here.

· Place of night abode for Sri Guru Granth Sahib.                

· Sikh warriors sought blessings here before going into the battle.

· Destroyed by the Indian Army in 1984 during 'Operation Bluestar' but now reconstructed. 

 

2) Sri Damdama Sahib

· Located in Talwandi Sabo near Bathinda, Punjab state.

· Literally,Damdama means a place to have break and rest.

· Guru Gobind Singh Ji stayed here for a year after fighting battles with Mughals.

· During his stay here in 1705,  Guru Gobind Singh Ji compiled and revised  the final version of  the Adi Granth (original Sikh holy scriptures compiled by Guru Arjan Dev Ji), and renamed it as Sri Guru Granth Sahib after incorporating the writings of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.

 

3) Sri Keshgarh Sahib

· Located at Anandpur in the Indian state of Punjab.

· Birthplace of Khalsa. Tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji established the Khalsa order here in 1699, on occasion of Baisakhi (annual harvest festival).

· Some weapons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji are displayed here, including the Khanda (double edged sword) used by the Guru to prepare Amrit (sweetened holy water) during Khalsa initiation (baptism) ceremony.

· Annual festival of 'Hola Mohalla' celebrated here.

 

4) Sri Hazur Sahib

· Located on the banks of river Godavari in Nanded city of Maharashtra.

· Built where the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji breathed his last in 1708.

· Present day structure constructed from 1832 - 1837 by the order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

· The Gurdwara within the complex is known as Sachkhand, i.e. "Realm of Truth".

· In October 2008, the 300th anniversary celebration of the Guruship of Guru Granth Sahib took place here.

 

5) Sri Patna Sahib

· Situated in Patna, the capital of Bihar state.

· Built in remembrance of the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He was born in the year 1666.

· Constructed under Maharaja Ranjit Singh's instructions.                   

· Honoured by visits from Guru Nanak Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.

Other Famous Gurudwaras

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib

· A historical and prominent Sikh Gurdwara located near Rajiv Chowk in New Delhi.

· First built as a small temple in 1783, by Sikh military leader Baba Baghel Singh.

· Built in the memory of eighth Sikh Guru Harkrishan Ji, well known for his healing powers.

· The Gurdwara site was originally a bungalow of Raja Jai Singh, where Guru Harkrishan Ji resided during his stay in Delhi during the year 1664. During that time there was an outbreak of smallpox and cholera epidemic in Delhi. Guru Ji healed the sick by giving them water from a well at this house. Now a Sarovar (pool of sacred water) resides in the Gurdwara complex, whose water is said to have healing powers to cure ailments.

· Devout Sikhs have lot of reverence for 'Bangla Sahib' and it’s Sarovar (known for its healing powers).

· The Gurdwara complex houses a kitchen for Langar, aschool, an art gallery, a charitable hospital, Baba Baghel Singh museum and a library.

· Foreign visitors are provided assistance with guides, head scarves and shoe-minding service inside the Gurdwara compound.

Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib

· A historical Sikh Gurdwara situated in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

· Constructed on the site where the ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was beheaded in 1675, on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, for his refusal to convert to Islam.

· The tree trunk under which Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was beheaded is still preserved in the Gurdwara, as is the well from which he took bath while in prison.

· First built in 1783 by Sikh military leader Baghel Singh, but present structure completed in 1930.

· Langar (community kitchen) provides food to a large no of visitors daily.

 

 

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib

· A historical Sikh Gurdwara located near Parliament House in New Delhi.

· Constructed at the site where the ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was cremated. After his martyrdom at Chandni Chowk in 1675, where the Guru was beheaded, a disciple of the Guru; Lakhi Shah Banjara secretly whisked the body away and burnt his own house in order to cremate his Guru's body with full honour.

· Built in 1783 after Sikh military leader Baghel Singh (1730-1802) captured Delhi.

· Like most other Sikh shrines this Gurdwara has entrances from four sides symbolising that they are open to all without any distinction of caste or creed.

Shaheed Ganj Baba Deep Singh

· Located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, about a km away from Harmandir Sahib.

· Built in the memory of brave Sikh soldier and saint, Baba Deep Singh Ji, who was martyred fighting valiantly in order to save Harmandir Sahib from the Mughals.

· During the battle, Baba Deep Singh Ji went on fighting even after his head was severed, supporting his head with his left hand, and wielding his heavy Khanda (double edged sword) till he finally went down.

Gurdwara Nanak Piao

· One of the historic Sikh Gurdwaras located in North Delhi.

· Dedicated in memory of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who camped here in 1505, during his visit to Delhi.

· Guru Nanak Ji used to offer food and water to the visiting devotees and the needy, hence the name Piao, which means “to offer liquid to drink."

· The well from which Guru Nanak Ji served water to the visiting devotees is preserved at the Gurdwara.

· A holy and revered Sikh shrine.

 

 

 

 

Gurdwara Mata Sundri

· A historical Gurdwara located at Mata Sundri Road, New Delhi.

· Constructed in the memory of Mata Sundri, the first wife of tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

· After Guru Gobind Singh Ji passed away in 1708, Mata Sundri guided and nurtured the Khalsa for forty years.

Gurdwara Goindwal Sahib

· Located in Tarn Taran district of Punjab.

· Built in memory of the third Sikh Guru Amar Das Ji, who stayed in Goindwal for thirty three years and established it as a centre for preaching Sikhism.

· Also known as the axis of Sikhism.

· Guru Amar Das Ji constructed the 84 steps Baoli (well paved with steps) at the Gurdwara site. Devout Sikhs believe that recital ofJapji Sahib (divine scriptures revealed to Guru Nanak Ji) at each of the 84 steps in the Baoligives them Moksha and liberates them from 84,00,000 cycles of life and death.

· Guru Amar Das Ji met the next Sikh Guru Ram Das Ji at Goindwal.            

· The Gurdwara and Goindwal Baoli is a prime tourist destination today.

· Massive langar (community kitchen) provides food to a large no of visitors daily.

 

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib

· Nankana Sahib is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan

· Birthplace of the first guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

· Popular pilgrimage site for the entire Sikh community.

· After India-Pakistan partition, the mention of Nankana Sahib Gurdwara has become a regular feature in the daily Ardas (prayer). 

· At the occasion of Guru Nanak's anniversary, thousands of Sikh devotees from Pakistan, India and all over the world visit Nankana Sahib.

· Originally constructed around 1600, 'Gurdwara Nankana Sahib' was renovated in the years 1819–20.

· Sikhs added more buildings and architectural designs in subsequent years.

 

Gurdwara Panja Sahib

· Situated at Hasan Abdal, forty eight kilometres from Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

· Considered to be one of the most holy places of Sikhism because of the presence of a rock believed to have the hand print of Guru Nanak imprinted on it.

· Twice a year, Sikhs visit this Gurdwara from all over the world.

 
 
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