Guru Nanak Jayanti, also called, Gurpurab, is a Sikh festival that Sikh communities celebrate with great fervour and excitement. The festival is celebrated as the birth of the first Sikh Guru- Guru Nanak Dev Ji. As the 2019 Gurupurab approaches, here’s a short trip that you can plan and visit the most famous Gurdwara’s in India.
1. The Golden Temple, Amritsar
Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is one of India’s holiest shrines and is filled with religious zeal and sacredness. Everyone can seek spiritual comfort and religious fulfillment without hindrance, regardless of position, creed or gender. It also reflects the Sikhs ‘ distinct identity, glory, and heritage.
The temple is built around a man-made pool (Sarovar) completed by Guru Ram Das the fourth guru of the Sikhs in 1577. The spiritual focus is the tank surrounding the gleaming central shrine – the Amrit Sarovar, from which Amritsar takes its name. The gurudwara also stands out because of the beautiful architecture and the massive community kitchen that serves hundreds and thousands of tourists every day. Do book Simranjeet Singh, a local expert for better experience.
2. Hemkunt Sahib, Chamoli
Located at Chamoli dist Uttrakhand, Hemkunt Sahib is the highest gurudwara at an elevation of 4,632 meters (15,197 feet). This holy shrine is named after the Hemkund glacial lake, adjacent to the Gurudwara whose literal meaning is the ‘ Lake of Snow’. It is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, and the work prescribed by Guruji himself is stated in Dasam Granth. Although you may not able to visit during Guru Nanak Jayanti because Hemkund is inaccessible from October to March due to snowbound paths and glaciers but you can visit it in May and take part in traditionally known as Kar Seva (“selfless service”), a concept that forms an important Sikh religious principle.
3. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi
In the heart of Delhi stands a magnificent Gurudwara that is said to house miraculous water that can cure diseases. Originally it was a bungalow owned by an Indian king, Raja Jai Singh, in the 17th century and was called the Jaisinghpura Palace, it was later converted into a Gurudwara (place of worship for the Sikh religion). Raja Jai Singh invited the eighth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Har Krishan, to stay in his home in 1664. During his visit, there was an epidemic of smallpox and cholera that had afflicted many of the residents of Delhi, Guru Har Krishan helped the sick by providing help and freshwater from this house’s well. A water tank was built that had holy water with the ability to cure the diseases. Though the Guru helped many, he contracted the disease and passed away in the same year. The Gurdwara is now a place of great respect for Sikhs as well for tourists. Do book Bhanu Pratap Singh from Odigos.
4. Data Bandi Chhod Sahib, Gwalior
Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhod in Gwalior is a shrine to Guru Hargobind Singh the sixth guru. Legends say that King Jahangir imprisoned Guru Har Gobind Singh here in this Gurudwara’s premises for 2 years. He later requested the release of 52 Rajput rulers, along with him. So he sent a message that whoever holds the palla(robe) of Guru Sahib could leave the fort. Even Jahangir was sure it won’t be possible to hold the palla of guru for all the rulers, so it won’t release anyone. It was a miracle the next morning that 52 rulers kept hold the robe and all were released. Guru Sahib was also known as Data Bandi Chod Sahib from that day on.
5. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Leh-Kargil Road
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is a famous Gurudwara founded by Guru Nanak Ji the father of Sikh religion, located 25 miles from Leh. It is believed that a wicked demon once lived in the area where the gurdwara was now situated. He settled down beneath the hill on the bank of the river where the wicked demon lived. Seeing this, the demon became furious and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev by throwing a huge rock at him while the Guru Nanak was meditating. But, as soon as it reached Guru Nanak’s body, the rock melted like a wax, and his body’s imprint was carved on the rock. The imprint of Guru Nanak Dev’s body and the demon’s footprint is currently on display at Pathar Sahib Gurdwara. The pilgrimage site has been worshipped by both the Buddhist pilgrims and addresses Guru Nanak as Guru Gompka Maharaj.
6. Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib, Kullu
The next time you visit the Parvati Valley, make a stop right at the Parvati River to enjoy Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib’s beauty. The gurudwara was built on the site where Guru Nanak Dev Ji came for the welfare of the people with his disciple Bhai Mardana. The shrine is also attached to several Hindu temples.
There is an interesting sory behind this gurudwara. One day Mardana felt hungry and no food was available to them. So Guru ji sent Mardana to the langar (Community Kitchen) to collect food. Many people donated atta (flour) but there was no fire to cook the roti(bread). Guru Nanak lifted a stone and a hot spring appeared. Mardana placed the rolled chapatis in the spring, as instructed by Guru Nanak, to his frustration that the chapatis sunk. Guru Nanak then told him to pray to God saying he would give one chapati in his name if the chapatis float back. When he prayed all the chapatis started floating duly baked.
Today, a dip in the hot springs is believed to help heal skin diseases as well as swelling. While the springs are now very crowded throughout the tourist season, unlike any but they are well worth a visit.
7. Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Delhi
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is among the nine historic Gurdwaras in Delhi. Baghel Singh Dhaliwal first built it in 1783 to commemorate the martyrdom site of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru. Located in Chandni Chowk, it marks the site where Mughal emperor Aurangzeb ordered to behead the Guru for failing to convert to Islam. Before his body could be quartered and revealed to the public, one of his followers, Lakhi Shah Vanjara, stole Guru’s body and then burned his house to cremate the body of Guru; today, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is standing at this spot.
In the shrine, you can see the trunk of the tree under which the Guru’s head was severed and the well used by him to take bath during his prison term. Also, adjacent to the gurudwara, is Kotwali where Guru was imprisoned and his disciples were tortured.
8. Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded
Gurdwara Hazur Sahib, built on the banks of the Godavari River in Nanded, Maharashtra, is one of the Panj Takhts in Sikhism, which marks a significant event in their history. Also known as Takht Sachkhand Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib, it is built in memory of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru.
The gurdwara was founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh between 1832 and 1837. The structure was built in the place where Guru Gobind Singh left his earthly life. The gurdwara’s inner room is known as the Angitha Sahib and is constructed over the site where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated. The temple still practices all the ancient traditions such as sandalwood tilak which is still applied on the foreheads of devotees and evening aarti is also arranged every day which surely you shouldn’t miss.
9. Gurdwara Shri Keshgarh Sahib
Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, situated at Anandpur Sahib is the birthplace of the Khalsa(mention who is khalsa). The order of the Khalsa was founded here by Sri Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. The gurudwara stands at the place where Guru Gobind Singh initiated the ‘Panj Pyaras’, the five beloved ones, and administered Amrit to them. At present, in the centre of the hall is a room displaying twelve weapons used by Guru Gobind Singh in battle.
10. Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Bihar
Takht Sri Patna Sahib, located in Patna, is among India’s most important Sikh religious sites. This place is said to be the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru of the Sikhs and also where he spent many years of his life. The Gurudwara was built in 1780 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh.
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