20 Must Visit Gurdwaras in a Life Time
The Gurdwara Sahibs everyone must visit at least once in a life time
Note: List starts off with the 5 Takhts but not in any particular order
1)Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji
Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib 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.
2) Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib Ji
Often referred as Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib, this Gurdwara is the main shrine of the holy city of Anandpur (the City of Bliss) Sahib. This city was founded by ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and is a home to many Gurdwaras. Gurdwara Sri Keshgarh Sahib is famous and of great importance since it is also one of the five Takhats and a seat of authority for the Sikhs. The shrine is located in the centre of the city which is around 95km north-west of Chandigarh.
3) Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib ji, Sri Patna Sahib
Takht Sri Harimandir Sahib – the principal shrine at Patna Sahib and one of the five Takhts or the highest seats of religious authority for the Sikhs, marks the site of the Chhoti Sangat. Guru Tegh Bahadur had first alighted at Bari Sangat at Gae Ghat from where he was brought in a procession to this place which had once been the commodious mansion of Salas Rai, the jeweler, and where Raja Fateh Chand Maini now built a new house to accommodate the holy family. Guru Tegh Bahadur himself leaving his family here in the care of his brother-in-law Kirpal Chand and the local sangat proceeded on further to the east. Guru Gobind Singh was born here. He spent his early childhood here until his departure for Punjab in 1670. The house continued to be maintained as a holy place of worship. Its building was replaced by Maharaja Ranjit Singh during 1837-39 with a square flat-roofed hall surrounded by a covered passage for circumambulation.
4) Takht Sri Hazur Sahib
Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib is the principal shrine at Nanded. It marks the site where the Guru had his camp in 1708 A.D. after the departure of the emperor Bahadur Shah. The tenth Guru held his court and congregation here. It is the site of his own tent where he was convalescing after he was attacked by assasins. It is the place from where the tenth Guru rose to heaven alongwith his horse Dilbag.
5) Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Ji
Literally, Damdama means the breathing or resting place. Dam Dama Sahib is one of the Five Takhts of the Sikhs. It is located at village Talwandi Sabo, 28 km southeast of Bathinda. 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.
6)Gurdwara Pathar Sahib Ji
There is a beautiful Gurudwara known as “Pather Sahib” constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, about 25 miles away from Leh, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000 ft above the sea level. In the late 70s, during the construction of Leh-Nima road, a large stone was found in the middle. The bulldozer driver tried to push and throw away the stone but it did not move and in the process the blades broke and the work stopped. The driver had a dream that night not to move the stone. He narrated his dream to the army officer who did not give any importance to it. When all efforts to remove it failed it was decided to blow it with a dynamite the next day. That night the army officer also had a dream not to remove the stone but he again disregarded it. The next day being Sunday he noticed that early in the morning several Tibetans came and started showing reverence to the stone.
On enquiring further he was told that this was a “Wax Statue” of their revered Lama, Nanak and it contained the imnprints of his shoulders, head and backside.he was told that during the period 1515-1518 AD when Guru Nanak was returning back to Punjab through Srinagar, after travelling to Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, he rested at this place. A woman came to him for help. It was her son that was to be sacrificed to a demon who lived on the hill. Guru Nanak consoled her and asked her not to send her son to the demon. The demon was infuriated and threw a large rock at the Guru which hit the back of the meditating Guru and stopped there. The Guru’s body is believed to be imprinted on the rock. The demon felt ashamed and prostrated at the feet of Guru Nanak.
7) Gurdwara Panja Sahib Ji
Gurdwara Panja Sahib is a gurdwara situated at Hasan Abdal, 48 kilometres from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. This is 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
Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib Ji
The Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib is known for its lovely scenic beauty as it is situated in the mountains of Manali. Historically the Gurdwara has enough signifance as the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji is known to have first visited this place in 1574 along with his disciples Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala. This place is considered as the first place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji meditated through his journey and he is also known to perform few miracles over here.
8) Gurdwara Sri Paonta Sahib Ji
The Guru wrote, “I enjoyed myself on the banks of Yamuna and saw amusements of different kinds.” The Guru took many steps to beautify Paonta and devoted most of his time in composing poetry. He was so much enamoured of poetry that he invited fifty two poets to his court. The pleasant environment and salubrious climate refreshed his mind. Most of the time he spent in reading and writing.
Besides,the Guru selected a site noted for its scenic beauty and splendour and got constructed a fort on the bank of Yamuna. Here Pir Buddhu Shah a renowned Muslim saint living in Sadhaura near paonta,called on the Guru. The two had a long discourse and ultimately the muslim holyman recognised the superiority of the Guru. He became a devotee of the tenth Maste
9) Gurdwara Sri Baoli Sahib Ji
Goindwal is situated at a distance of 30 km south-east of Amritsar city. Here, are two historic Gurdwaras, associated with the third Guru Sri Amar Das. He planned to construct a ‘Baoli’-a well with descending steps, in Goindwal. He purchased some land and laid the foundation of the ‘Baoli’ with due religious ceremonies. His devoted Sikhs joined in the work on self-help basis and many willingly came forward to provide food for the volunteers engaged in the digging operation. The Baoli had eighty-four steps. The Guru decreed that whoever should attentively repeat Japji on every step, should escape from the travail of wandering through eighty four lakhs births and rebirths.
Thus the Baoli at Goindwal Sahib, became an object
10) Gurdwara Guru Ka Lahore
represents the spot where the marriage was performed. Its present building, a square hall with the domed sanctum in the middle of it, was constructed by Sant Seva Singh Anandgarhwale during the 1960s.
11) Gurwara Sri Taran Taran Sahib Ji
Gurudwara Tarn Taran Sahib, is situated at a distance of 22 km south-east of Amritsar city. It was built by Guru Arjun Dev, in the Mughal style, in memory of Guru Ram Das. Its dome is covered with copper gilt. It is located on the edge of a big tank whose water is believed to cure leprosy. So, affected persons have been visiting this holy shrine for the last four centuries to seek cure of their lacerated wounds caused by leprosy. A big fair is held here every month, an amavas day.
12) Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib Ji, Pakistan
Sikh history originates from Nankana Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, was born here in 1469. The name of the place at that time was Rai Bhoi di Talwandi. The landlord contemporary of Guru Nanak Dev was Rai Bular, who himself became a devotee of the Guru. It was renamed Nankana after the Guru. It is located in what is called Nilianwali Bar (forest where nilgais abound), and is about 75 kilometers west-southwest of Lahore. Nankana Sahib is in Sheikhupura district and is connected to the district town by rail and road. There are several shrines connected with the memory of Guru Nanak Dee’s childhood and early youth here. Later Guru Arjan dev and Guru Hargobirid also visited Nankana Sahib and a Gurdwara was also raised subsequently in their honor.
13) Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Pakistan
Gurudwara Dehra Sahib is situated opposite the Royal mosque or Shahi Masjid. At the place, after torturing, the fifth Guru was drowned into the Ravi. At that time, the Ravi flowed along the wall of the fort. The Guru after enduring the most unheard and unseen tortures, without repining, merged into the eternal light on 30th May,1606.In A.D. 1619, when the sixth Guru Hargobind visited this historical place, he got a memorial rostrum built here to commemorate the martyrdom of his Guru-father. Maharaja Ranjit Singh got built a small but beautiful Gurdwara
14) Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib Punjab, India
The place where 48 Singhs Took on 1 Million Mughal Soldiers
Gurudwara Qatalgarh Sahib (Shahid Ganj), west of Garhi Sahib, is the main shrine at Chamkaur Sahib. This marks the site where the thickest hand to hand fight took place on 7 December 1705 between the Mughal army and the Sikhs, including the Sahibzadas, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, and three of the original five Piare (the Five Beloved).
15) Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib
The Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara marks the spot, where the two brave children, the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh became shaheed for the noble cause. They refused to be converted to Islam during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb.
16) Gurdwara Bangla Sahib (New Delhi)
The word “Bangla” means palace and here it refers to the palace of Raja Jai Singh in which the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji stayed while on his visit to Delhi in 1664. He cured diseases like small pox, chicken pox and cholera which were an epidemic those days with sacred water. That water now forms a “sarovar” which is present in the centre of the Gurdwara and people take a dip in it to remove all bodily and mental dirt. There is also a famous museum in this Gurdwara which depicts the great Sikh history.
17) Sis Ganj Sahib
built at the site in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi, where the revered ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded, on Wednesday, November 24, 1675, on the orders of the Mughalemperor Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam.
18) Gurdwara Baba Atal Ji, Amritsar, India
The Gurudwara of Baba Atal was built in memory of the nine year old son of Sri Guru Hargobind ji. The divine soul in this child’s body once emitted a dazzling spark, others called it a miracle. Baba Atal the young dutiful son had to leave earthy form in answer to his father’s remonstration. Atal Rai was born at Amritsar on December 22, 1619. He was beloved son of Guru Hargobind and Mata Nanaki. The Guru often told his son that he had been blessed by God with much power and he should not fritter it away by showing miracles. But when Atal Rai brought to life his playmate Mohan, the great Guru demonstrated his divinely gifted son and ordained, “None should intervene in the will of God!”
19) Gurdwara Data Bandi Chod Sahib, Gwalior, MP, India
This Gurdwara located in Gwalior, MP, is given the name Bandi Chod because it signifies the release of 52 Rajput rulers who were imprisoned in the Gwalior fort. The sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji stayed in the Gwalior fort to pray for Jahangir’s health where he met these rulers and decided to help them to get freed. Consisting of 6 storeys made up of entire marble and having doors made up of gold, this Gurdwara was constructed in 1968 and Sant Baba Uttam Singh Ji was given the charge of its construction. The Gurdwara is specifically popular for its beautiful “Palki Sahib” and a Sikh museum “Darshan Deorahi”.
20) Gurdwara Sri Bibhour Sahib
Gurdwara Bibhour Guru, he situated on the right bank of the river Sutlej, just opposite the Sutlej Sadan of Bhakra Management Board. Here Guru Gobind Singh stayed for about a year and composed hymns in praise of Almighty God.
21) Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Uttarkhand
Sikhs believe that this holy place, known as Hemkunt (lake of ice/lit. cut in the snow), is the tap asthan (place of meditation and prayer) at which the tenth and final living Guru of the Sikhs achieved union with God in his previous incarnation. From there, the Guru was summoned by God to be reborn into the world to teach the people the true path. The temple built on the shore of the lake commemorates his mission. It also shelters the Guru Granth Sahib, the eternal scriptural Guru for the Sikh community. The community is itself recognized as a collective Guru, and pilgrims, as they walk the path toward Hemkunt, share the sacred journey with its members.
In this way, all three forms of the Guru – the source of spiritual guidance – are understood to be present at Hemkunt. Sikh pilgrims go there to be inspired to walk the same difficult path that the Guru walked, both in body and in spirit, and to, through the Guru’s grace, realize their connection with God in the same place where the Guru realized his. At Hemkunt Sahib, Sikhs feel closer to the Guru and, through the Guru, closer to God. Gurudwara Hemkunt in the Himalayas is also regarded as one of the holiest places of the Sikhs. It was there that Sri Guru Gobind Singh the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs is reported to have meditated in his previous life.
22) Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, India
Gurdwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is an historical sikh shrine present there which was discovered by Baba Narayan Hari, the history of the gurdwara sahib is mentioned in Bhai Bala Janamsakhi and Twarikh Guru Khalsa.
Gurdwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is located where Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji was with his Sikhs in the Himalaya mountains of India. His sikhs were hungry and there was no food. Guru Nanak sent his Good Friend Bhai Mardana to collect food forlangar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated rice and flour (atta) to make parsadas (bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food.
Guru Nanak than lifted a rock and a hot spring (hot water) appeared. The Sikhs were able to make rice and beans. Bhai Mardana was having trouble making parasadas (chapatis) because they kept sinking. Bhai Mardana said, “I am going to donate my life in the name of God”. The parsada amazingly floated. Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that anyone who donates his life in the name of God, All his (or her) drowned items will float. This was a miracle.
The place is famous for its hot boiling sulphur springs, which are revered by lakhs who come here for a dip in the curing waters. It is believed that the hot springs can cure skin diseases or even ease the swelling caused by gout. A huge Gurdwara has been erected in the memory of Guru Nanak who is believed to have visited this place. A number of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims visit the Gurdwara every year. The Ram Temple mentioned above, built in the 16th century, is situated near the Gurdwara.