Gurdwaras in Punjab

Punjab is the land where the religion of Sikhism was born. The great saint and religious leader Guru Nanak founded the faith, which is followed by millions today.

The holy place of worship for the Sikhs is the Gurudwara. Being the home to birthplace of Sikhism, there are numerous Gurudwaras in Punjab.

The word Gurudwara has a beautiful and appropriate meaning.

The meaning of Gurudwara is the gateway to reach the Guru.

There are Thousands of Sikh Temples in and around the state of Punjab.

Some of the most visited Gurudwaras in Punjab are

Har Mandir Sahib or Golden Temple

Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is popularly known as the Golden Temple. It is also known as Sri Darbar Sahib. This Gurdwara is located in the central part of old Amritsar. The Harmandir Sahib is situated on a rectangular platform surrounded by the water of Amrit Sarovar. It is from this lake that the city of Amritsar got its name.

The architecture of the Harmandir Sahib is a combination of the Hindu and Muslim styles. It has a two story marble structure. Harmandir Sahib can be reached by the Guru's Bridge. The upper floor is of this temple is gold plated and is crowned with the golden dome. The golden dome is an inverted lotus shaped structure.

Tarn Tarn

The Tarn Tarn in Punjab is a fantastic Gurudwara situated twenty four Kilometers south of the city of Amritsar. The famous Sikh temple was built by the Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru. Guru Arjan used to run a home for the leprosy patients in the Tarn Tarn Gurudwara.

Similar to the Golden Temple, the Tarn Tarn Gurudwara is surrounded by a Sarovar or lake, which is said to have magical healing powers. Some people believe that by swimming across the tank will cure a leprosy patient. The tank covers a large area and a mere stroll around the tank will take quite a time.

Goindwal Sahib

The town of Goindwal holds immense significance in reference to the Sikh religious pilgrimage sites. The town lies south east of Amritsar and only thirty Kilometers away from the city. The Goindwal town boasts of some of the important Gurudwaras and among them the Goindwal Sahib is one of the greatest. The Goindwal Sahib Gurudwara in Punjab is the pride of the state and it is a major pilgrimage and tourists attraction.

Guru Sri Amar Das constructed a Baoli or a well with eighty four steps. It is said someone who takes a bath in the well and recites the Japji Sahib, attains Moksh.

The Goindwal Baoli Sahib is believed to be the first center of Sikhism. The Goindwal Sahib is a popular pilgrimage destination for both the Sikhs and the Hindus. The entrance of place is well decorated with murals describing significant scenes of the Sikh history. The massive langar or the community kitchen provides food to the large number of visitors every day

Khadur Sahib

Khadur Sahib is situated near Goindwal, at a distance of 52 kms from Amritsar, and till today it honors the seat of Sikh religion during the time of the second Prophet, Guru Angad Dev Ji. This auspicious place was graced by the second Guru Angad who for years propagated the message of God from here. Guru Angad Sahib turned the small village of Khadur into Khadur Sahib. A majestic Gurudwara Khadi Sahib or Khadur Sahib has been constructed here in remembrance of Guru Amar Das.

The place where the beautiful Gurudwara stands today once had a khadi or loom of a cloth weaver. One night Guru Amar Das tripped into a weaver pit, while fetching water for Guru Sri Angad Dev from River Beas at a distance of 10 kms. The pitcher of water was on his head when the staggering Amar Das fell down but saved the pitcher of water for his Guru, forgetting his own bodily bruising. The incident eventually came in the notice of Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji who was extremely pleased to know the devotion of Amar Das and decided to reward Amar Das. Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji declared Amar Das as Guru Amar Das and to be his successor as also the third Sikh Guru. From then on, Guru Amar Das became the shelter for the homeless, the strength, protector and supporter of all that is good and liberator to channelize all evils out.

Baba Bakala

The historical gurudwara at Baba Bakala is situated at a distance of 45 kms from Amritsar. Its importance lies in the fact that here Makhan Shah Lubana in his search for the true Guru ultimately discovered him and declared the news yelling from the top of a house. This eventually resulted in a beautiful and serene Gurudwara and came to be known as Baba Bakala after the village where he was revealed for the greater benefit of mankind.

Baba Bakala was supposed to be the successor of Guru Harkrishan and adorn his place after his death. Prior to his death in Delhi on the 30th day of March in the year 1664, Guru Harkrishan though very week but muttered the words, 'Baba Bakala', thereby indicating that his successor was to be found at Bakala village in Amritsar. Baba Tegh Bahadur was the one and only presiding Baba at Bakala during this time. Popularity of the Babas actually had given rise to many self-declared Babas who actually were frauds and it was getting difficult to recognize the true Baba with all his spiritual powers.

Dera Baba Nanak

Dera Baba Nanak is situated 35 kms to west of Gurdaspur in Punjab, on the left bank of river Ravi .The great Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent the last twelve years of his precious worldly life here in Dera Baba Nanak.The whole place was in fact the abode of Guru Nanak Ji but it was on this bank that he chose to meditate. A beautiful gurudwara stands here today to commemorate the place.

Guru Nanak not only played a spiritual role but enriched the life of millions by his social, political, economic understanding. All through his life the great Guru spread the message of Love, respect and brotherhood. An original Chola or robe believed to have been worn by Guruji during his visit to the famous Muslim pilgrimages of Mecca and Madina is also kept here in Dera Baba Nanak.Thousands of people throng Dera Baba Nanak every year to get a glimpse of the Chola Sahib, which is displayed for viewing of the common people.

Gurudwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodi

Guru Nanak Dev, the first prophet who founded Sikhism gained enlightenment while bathing in the river Kali Bein. A beautiful Gurudwara was constructed on this place which came to be known as Gurudwara Ber Sahib. Gurudwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodi lies in the Kapurthala district of Punjab. The auspicious place is situated at a distance of 60 kms from Amritsar and 36 kms from Jalandhar.

This holy place, adorned with Nanak's Sukhmani Sahib in Sultanpur Lodi became the starting point of the renowned journeys of Guru Nanak.

While Guru Nanak Dev ji was staying in Sultanpur Lodi, every morning he used to bathe and meditate, thereafter, in the Kali Bein stream.

The town grew around the Ber or Jujube sapling that was planted by Guru Nanak Dev ji. The tree still stands in its original place where it was destined by Guru Nanak Dev.

A majestic shrine was built there by Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia around this place. The new building that stands now was started in 1938 and the construction completed in 1942.



Thara Sahib

Known as the revered shrine of Sri Teg Bahadur Ji, the ninth leader of Sikh religion, Thara Sahib is found between the Gurudwara Jyoti Sarup Sahib and Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib. The ancient history of the shrine proves the appearance of Guru Hargobind Ji.

While going to Amritsar from Gwalior, Guru Hargobind Ji visited the holy land where the Gurudwara of Thara Sahib is now situated. It is also believed that in this very spot Sri Teg Bahadur Ji conveyed sacred messages of Sikh religion to his followers.

Apart from immense religious importance, the Thara Sahib Gurudwara has also made a remarkable place in the eventful history of India as this is the place where several Brahmin pandits gathered to seek shelter in 1675.

Located in a small village of Punjab state, Thara Sahib offers praying services to the followers by accommodating them in a building structure which is the only in-built hall of the Gurudwara.

Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib

Considered as one of the holy sites of Sikh religion, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib is found at Anandpur Sahib. Famous for being the breeding ground of the Khalsa - the ultimate Dharma of Sikh disciples - Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib of Punjab exudes a holy air of reverence that spread across the hills of Shivalik.

Known to house one of the five Takhts, the site of the Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib Gurudwara resembles the sanctimonious ritual of Khalsa. In 1699, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Leader of Sikhism, had been sworn in as the sacred saint of Khalsa. To memorize this historic event and to spread the holy sermons of Khalsa, Gurudwara of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib was erected at the Anandpur Sahib city.

Damdama Sahib

Connoting a place of breathing, Damdama Sahib is a respected shrine of Sikhs where one of the Takhts of the religion was established decades back. Found in the Talwandi Sabo village of Bathinda district, Damdama Sahib is famous in the history of Sikhism for the appearance of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

In around 1705, the tenth Leader of Sikhs was believed to have chosen this calm and quaint place of Punjab to work on the holy manuscript of Guru Granth Sahib. Identifying the literal meaning of Damdama, Guru Gobind Singh Ji selected the site to take rest after having a brave war with the Mughal Empire.

Although today, Damdama Sahib Gurudwara is visited by a large number of Sikh disciples, once upon a time the spot was witness to several religious upheavals. Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji were cruelly murdered and put in brick confines by the nawab of Sirhind. Also, during the battle with the Mughals, Guru Ji lost his two elder sons at Chamkaur.

Guru Ka Lahore

Celebrating the pious marriage ceremony of Guru Gobind Sing Ji, Guru Ka Lahore which is surrounded by three other Gurudwaras, is set at a distance of 12 km from the famous Anandpur Sahib. Turning the look of this place into one of the cities of Lahore, Guru Ji married Jeet Kaur in 1734.

The place, at which the historical event took place, is enriched with a natural beauty. Found on the bank of a splashing lake, Guru Ka Lahore is aesthetically bounded by serene hills. Consisting of three other Gurudwaras of Sehra Sahib, Triveni Sahib and Paud Sahib, the entire area is considered sacred for the Sikh religion.

The historical past of Guru Ka Lahore near Anandpur Sahib speaks of an interesting event. At the time of the nuptial, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was leading his soldiers against the Mughal Dynasty. It was the wish of his father-in-law, Sh. Harjas Rai Khatri, to organize the occasion at his place in Lahore. Being incapable of fulfilling this wish, Guru Ji found a unique way out. He gave the entire place a feel of Lahore. On arriving the place, which is an adjoining village near Bassi town, Sh. Harjas Rai Khatri was awe-struck. In this way the holy function of marriage completed with mirth and glee.

Today, devotees from all over Punjab and other parts of India come in huge numbers to experience the eternal bliss of Guru Ka Lahore. Global tourists also frequently step into this otherwise remote shrine of Sikhism to gather the blessings of the holy Guru.

Gurudwara Kiratpur Sahib

Gurudwara Kiratpur Sahib was established in 1627 by the sixth Sikh Guru Sri Har Gobind Sahib in a small peaceful town at the foothills of the Shivalik range in Punjab.

He lived his last few years of his worldly life here in Kiratpur. Situated on the bank of river Sutlej in present day Ropar district, the auspicious place had regular association with the other Sikh Gurus that followed. Here the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai and eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan Dev Ji were born and brought up. Even the first Sikh prophet, Guru Nanak ji is known to have visited this place in his lifetime. The place is also associated with the memory of the renowned Muslim Saint, Pir Buddan Shah who was gifted with a very long life.

Guru Sri Tegh Bahadur was executed in 1675 for refusal to accept Islam and the beheaded Guru ji was brought to Gurudwara Kiratpur Sahib from Delhi with due respect and devotion by Bhai Jaita. Gurudwara Babangarh Sahib was later constructed to commemorate the holy place and the Punjab Government erected a memorial here to honor the Guru ji. The tenth Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, took the sacred head of his father and took it out in a procession to Anandpur Sahib, 10 kms away, for holy cremation. Since then Kiratpur Sahib on the Nangal-Rupnagar-Chandigarh road is sacred to the Sikhs as they immerse the ashes of their dead at this place. The place is graced by numerous Gurudwaras like Gurudwara Charan Kamal, Gurudwara Baba Gurditta, Tomb of Baba Buddan Shah, Gurudwara Bavangarh, Gurudwara Pata Puri and Gurudwara Shish Mahal.

Gurdwara Charan Kamal

Gurdwara Charan Kamal, at Machhiwara, lies in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh on his journey, while passing through the beautiful village of Machhiwara, came across a shady garden and chose it to wait and take rest for a while. The Guru had a sip of water from a nearby well and fell asleep on the bare land using his arm to support as a pillow. Later this sacred place that offered peaceful refuge to Guru Gobind Singh ji was developed as the Gurdwara Charan Kamal at Machhiwara.

The Guru met his three devotees Dharam Singh, Daga Singh and Manu Singh for the first time here and they joined him. The sacred shrine in remembrance of the historical event is honored by the beautiful Gurudwara Charan Kamal building. It is here that Guru Govind Singh ji sang "Mitra Piyare Nu" and the place still seems to reverberate with the sacred melody. The Charan Kamal Gurdwara is supplied with water from the same well believed to be the one from which the beautiful garden was watered at that time. An annual meeting fair is held around the months of December and January, corresponding to the days of Guruji's stay in Machiwara i.e. the 9th and 10th day of the Punjabi month of Poh. Another nearby shrine popularly referred to as the Gurdwara Chubara Sahib commemorates the house of Masand Gulaba where the Guru spent the night during the journey. The place is popularly known as 'Gulaba da Chubara'.

Gurdwara Charan Kamal at Machhiwara is well connected by Guru Gobind Singh Marg to the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway meeting at Samrala (42 km) and at Ropar (46 km).

Sheesh Mahal

Punjab, the smiling soul of India has been aptly nicknamed the city of gardens and palaces. The imperial palaces of Punjab accentuate the beauty of the rambling farmlands and majestic temples. Sheesh Mahal is one such exquisite palace in Patiala that flaunts the flamboyant grandeur of the erstwhile maharajahs.

Built under the generous patronage of the former Maharaja of Patiala, Narendra Singh, an aficionado of beauty, in the year 1847, the sprawling three-storied Sheesh Mahal is a fine blend of the modern Occidental and the traditional Mughal architecture. Set in a picturesque backdrop amidst sprawling, landscaped gardens glowing with seasonal blooms that are modeled after the legendary Shalimar Bagh, the estate is a sight to behold. A pretty as a picture suspension bridge that resembles the Laxman Jhoola at Rishikesh completes the picture.

The palace boasts of elegant and lavishly decorated interiors. Ornate mirror works and pretty floral motifs adorn the vibrantly painted walls. Exquisite murals depict scenes from Indian mythology, religious teaches or even illustrate works from the celebrated Indian literature like the masterpieces of Surdas, Keshav Das and Bihari Lal.

Deft and dexterous craftsmen from Rajashthan and Hiamhal's Kangra Valley were responsible for the aesthetic ambience of the palace. The miniatures from Kangra that depict Jaidev's legendary Geet Govind forms the magnum opus of the palace's collection of antique artifacts ranging from royal apparel to jewelry to portraits.

The palace also houses a medal gallery that showcases nearly 3000 medals from all corners of the globe that date back to the 12th century.

Patiala is a modern city with a domestic airport, a railway station and several good roads. The city has several comfortable and reasonable priced hotels that are mainly frequented by myriad of tourists who flock to see the Sheesh Mahal, resplendent in its royal grandeur, in the pleasant North Indian winters.

Harmandir Sahib

Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is popularly known as the Golden Temple. It is also known as Sri Darbar Sahib. This Gurdwara is located in the central part of old Amritsar. The Harmandir Sahib is situated on a rectangular platform surrounded by the water of Amrit Sarovar. It is from this lake that the city of Amritsar got its name.

The architecture of the Harmandir Sahib is a combination of the Hindu and Muslim styles. It has a two story marble structure. Harmandir Sahib can be reached by the Guru's Bridge. The upper floor is of this temple is gold plated and is crowned with the golden dome. The golden dome is an inverted lotus shaped structure.

The building of Harmandir Sahib has four entrances instead of the usual one. The walls inside are decorated with inlay works of gold and silver. The Adi Granth of Guru Arjan Dev is kept kept on a throne beneath a preciously decorated canopy. The original copy of Guru Granth Sahib is brought to the Golden Temple every day and at around 10 p.m each day it is returned to the Akal Takhat, the Sikh parliament, very ceremoniously.

Guru Arjan Sahib had the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs. The architecture of Harmindir Sahib was also designed by him. The land for this site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs. Work on this project started in 1570 and continued till 1577.

The Akal Takhat is situated very near the Harmandir Sahib. It is the seat of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee which is the religious governing body of the Sikhs.

Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is one of the important pilgrimage center of the Sikhs.

Manji Sahib

The expression "Manji Sahib" refers to the small bed on which the Guru Granth Sahib of the Gurdwara. The holy book is kept here during the day in Darbar Sahib, the main hall of the Gurdwara.

In the Darbar Sahib of the Gurdwara the centrally placed platform called the Takhat can be noticed. It is on this Takhat that the Guru Granth Sahib is located on the Manji Sahib of the Gurdwara. Here the Sri Guru Granth Sahib rests covered by a 'Rumalla'. A 'Rumalla' is a very rich and colorful cloth. The platform is covered with a Palki Sahib. On the top of this is placed a rectangular canopy known as the 'Chanani'. The 'Chanani' is a huge covering made of rich and colorful cloth. It is attached above the Guru's seat.

The Manji Sahib is a rectangular shaped bed of about 1.2 m by 0.6m. It is constructed of a wooden structure. This wooden structure is further woven with some netting material that forms the suspended surface on which the pillows that support the sacred body of the holy Guru Granth Sahib are placed.

At first the Manji Sahib is covered with white under sheets made of cotton and on that three small pillows are arranged. These three pillows support the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. The body of Guru Granth Sahib is first covered with plain white cotton sheeting then a a colored cloth of some rich material is wound around it.

Thus the Manji Sahib holds an important position in the religious life of the Sikhs.

Last Updated on 7 March 2013

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