5 Most Famous Gurudwaras in India
Sikhism is the fourth largest religion in India and the most prevalent in Punjab. Gurudwaras are their sacred shrines which offer us spiritual comfort and are very efficiently organized & maintained. Punjabis have this tradition of offering prayers at the Gurudwara irrespective of their religion. One of the fondest memories from my childhood is accompanying my grandmother to the gurudwara and having kadah prasad there. (Kadah Prasad at the gurudwaras is simply awesome!)
Here are 5 most famous gurudwaras in India:
1. Sri Hari Mandir Sahib, Amritsar
Popularly known as Golden Temple or Sri Darbar Sahib, this is the holiest and most famous gurudwara which attracts thousands of visitors everyday from India and abroad. Guru Arjan Dev conceptualized and founded this sacred shrine in 1577 as a central place for all sikhs. It was built as a place for people from all walks of life and from all religions to come and worship God equally. Muslim Sufi Saint Hazrat Mian Mir was invited by Guru Arjan Dev to lay the foundation stone of the shrine. The present day gurudwara was renovated by Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other sikh communities. Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the upper floors gold plated with 750 kg of gold in 19th century, thus popularizing it as the Golden Temple. The gurudwara is surrounded by a large lake which consists of holy water and is fed by the Ravi river. The four entrances of the gurudwara signify acceptance and openness of all religions. The gurudwara runs the world’s largest free kitchen and serves free food for up to 100,000-300,000 people every day.
2. Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Uttarakhand
Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, this star-shaped gurudwara is located at an altitude of 4000 metres above the sea level. It is said that that the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh ji meditated at this place. It is also said to be the place where King Pandu practiced yoga. Nestled amidst snowy mountains, this gurudwara is inaccessible during winters due to snow bound paths and glaciers.
3. Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib was founded by Guru Teg Bahadur ji, the ninth Sikh Guru. Many gurudwaras of historical importance are located in the city among which Sri Keshgarh Sahib is the most famous as it is the birthplace of Khalsa panth. It is one of the five highest Sikh institutions (five takhts) in India. The gurudwara is historically important because it was at this place that Guru Gobind Singh ji initiated the ‘Panje Pyaare’ and laid the foundation of ‘Khalsa panth’ when he called for a special congregation on the Baisakhi in 1699 which was attended by thousands of Sikhs. Every year, Holla Mahalla is organized here which is attended by people from far and wide.
4. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi
Built in between 17th-18th century, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is located in the heart of New Delhi, the capital of India. It was built to commemorate the stay of Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Guru at this place. Guru Har Krishan stayed there during 1664 when Delhi was under an epidemic attack. While serving the epidemic struck people during his stay, Guru Harkrishan contracted the disease and left for the heavenly abode in 1664. The well in the gurudwara is believed to have healing properties. The gurudwara is ranked number 1 among tourist and pilgrimage spots in Delhi. The gurudwara and its sarovar (lake) is a place of great reverence for Sikhs all over the world. A special congregation on the birth anniversary of Guru Har Krishan is held here.
5. Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded
One of the five Takhts in Sikhism, Sri Hazur Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra is the place where Guru Gobind Singh ji breathed his last. The gurudwara was construced by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1832. The room inside the gurudwara where Guru Gobind Singh ji breathed his last and was cremated in 1708 is called Angitha Sahib. Thousands of devotees visit Sri Hazur Sahib to pay their homage to Guru Gobind Singh ji. The gurudwara within the complex is known as sach-khand. It was built during 1832-1837 at the orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This holy shrine has two sanctum sanctorum. All the functions are carried by the priests in the outer room while the inner room is a vault housing priceless objects, weapons and personal belongings of the Guru. Only the head priest is allowed in the inner room.
© 2017 Shaloo Walia