The Golden temple is the jewel in the crown of Punjab. Resplendent, sun-kissed golden domes reflect serenely in the placid waters
of the temple tank. This may be the most renowned and popular Sikh shrine, but there are many more gurudwaras (literally meaning
the gateway to the Guru) of individual significance dotting the landscape of Punjab. Join us on a short pilgrimage as we take you on a
virtual journey of sorts!
Guru Amar Das, born 1479, became the third guru of the Sikhs in1552. Soon after, he established the gurudwara Goindwal Sahib, the first
center of Sikhism. He personally supervised the construction of the gurudwara and the “baoli” ( well). It is strategically located
near Taran Taran, 24 km south of Amritsar. The well has 84 steps leading to the gurudwara. The guru decreed that whoever recites the entire
Japji Sahib ( the divine composition of Guru Nanak ) on each of the 84 steps, with a pure heart, before a bath in the holy well, will receive
spiritual emancipation. It is also believed that if the devotee repeats the recitation followed by a bath in the holy well 84 times, he will
attain “moksha”. Guru Amar Das died at Goindwal in1574, after handing over the reins to the fourth guru, Ram Das
Damdama Sahib, 30 km from Bhatinda, holds great significance for the Sikhs, since Guru Gobind Singh spent nine months here, seeking
periodic refuge amidst his battles with the Mughals. He made Damdama the center for propagating the Sikh faith, calling it “ Khalsa Da
Takht” ( The Throne of the Khalsa). The Guru held court and gave sermons regularly, recruiting over 12000 devotees into the Khalsa fold.
It was here that the guru dictated from his memory, the entire Guru Granth Sahib ( the holy book of the Sikhs) to Bhai Mani Singh. He compiled a
new volume of devotional hymns titled “Damdama Sahib di Bir”.
Anandpur Sahib holds pride of place in Sikh history, as the birthplace of the Khalsa. It was here, on Baisakhi day, March 30th 1699, that
Guru Gobind Singh stirred the sweetened water ( amrit) and baptized his five beloved followers. This was the birth of the “ Panj
Pyaras” or the beloved five. Holi, in Anandpur Sahib is celebrated as “Hola Mohalla”, an opportune time to display the
martial arts and spirit of the Sikhs, by the “Nihangs” or the soldiers of God. The Nihangs are draped in blue robes, with
saffron girdles. Their conical turbans and flowing beards distinguish them from other Sikhs, as they enact mock battles.
The weapons of Guru Gobind Singh are displayed at this gurudwara, the most precious being the “ Khanda” or the double-edged
sword, used by Guru Gobind Singh to stir the sweetened waters to initiate the five beloved followers.
Gurudwara Ber Sahib - Sultanpur Lodhi
Guru Nanak bathed daily in the crystal waters of Bein river at Sultanpur Lodhi. He is known to have seen a divine light while bathing one
day, which beckoned him further downstream. Whilst the people feared that Guru Nanak had drowned, he miraculously surfaced after three days,
enlightened with the divine light. It was here that he planted the sapling of a “ber” tree, which stands testimony even today. This
Gurudwara marks the location where Guru Nanak received divine enlightenment, and created the “Sukhmani Sahib”. It was from here that
Guru Nanak first spread his message of one God and the brotherhood of mankind. Nestled in Kapurthala district, this gurudwara can be approached
from Amritsar as well as Jalandhar.
Sikhism lays great stress on daily prayer and universal brotherhood. It preaches a message of devotion, truthful living, and remembering
God at all times. Founded over 500 years ago, it is considered a progressive religion, way ahead of its times.