Historical Gurdwaras in India


Bilaspur (Village Basantgarh)
Guru Ka Lahaur

Guru Ka Lahaur, a cluster of three Gurdwaras near Basantgarh village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh and about 12 kilometers north of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, is related to Guru Gobind Singh's marriage. The betrothal had taken place during the lifetime of Guru Tegh Bahdur, but the marriage had been postponed in view of the elder Guru's martyrdom in November 1675. Early in 1677, Jito Ji's father, Bhai Hari Jas, a resident of Lahore, came to Chakk Nannki (Anandpur Sahib) and proposed that the bridegroom's marriage party should go to Lahore and the marriage performed at an early and suitable date. The elders in the holy family considered that it was still not politic to go to Lahore. The young Guru said, "We shall create a Lahaur here. The bride's family may come and reside in it, and the marriage may take place as agreed." Consequently, a temporary camp was set up near Basantgarh and named Guru Ka Lahaur. Bhai Hari Jas brought his family and relations there and the marriage took place on 23rd Har 1734 Bikrami/21st June 1677. Even after the camp had been wounded up, the place continued to be considered holy. A Gurdwara was established at the camp site to which two more were adder later close to nearby springs.

1) Gurdwara Anand Karaj Sthan Patshahi Dasvin
- 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.

2) Gurdwara Triveni Sahib
- enclosing a spring formerly called Karpa (lit. spear) Baoli, creating according to popular legend, by the Guru with a blow of his spear, is a domed square hall with a pavilion over the spring in front of the hall.

3) Gurdwara Paur Sahib - a small domed room with a verandah in front, near another spring is also based on legend similar to the one related to Triveni Sahib. In this case the spring is said to have been caused by the Guru's horse stamping its paur (hoof).


1) Gurdwara Gurpalah Patshahi Dasvin (Bathu)
- Bathu village in Una district is 15 kilometers west of Nangal in Punjab along the Nangal-Garhshankar road. Guru Gobind Singh once visited this village. According to local tradition, he arrived here from Bibhaur and held a discourse with Baba Kaladhari, a direct descendant of Guru Nanak Dev, under a Palahi tree on the bank of Suan River, one furlong east of the village. The commemorative shrine established here is called Gurdwara Gurpalah Patshai Dasvin. It is housed in a small domed room built during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is a scheduled Gurdwara (Serial No.137) managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee through a local committee.

2) Gurdwara Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Patshahi Dasvin (Saluri) - Saluri village is 16 kilometers north of Una along the Una - Amb road. Guru Gobind Singh stayed here on his way to Nadaun in 1691. The commemorative shrine on top of a small hillock on the left bank of Suan River is a small domed room built in 1829 by mason Naudh Singh with funds provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is named Gurdwara Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Patshahi Dasvin. It is affiliated to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as unscheduled Gurdwara No. 538, but is administered by the followers of Sant Seva Singh Anandgarhwale who are renovating it.

3) Gurdwara Damdama Sahib Patshahi Dasvin (Nagrauli)
- Nagrauli, 20 kilometers from Una along the Una-Panjawar road, was visited by Guru Gobind Singh in 1691 during a hunting excursion launched from Saluri on the opposite bank of Suan. The memorial set up to the west of the village was called Guru Ki Vari (lit. Guru's garden) or Damdama (lit. halting place). It is now called Gurdwara Damdama Sahib Patshahi Dasvin. It is an unscheduled Gurdwara (Serial No. 547) affiliated to the S.G.P.C. and is maintained by the local sangat.


1) Gurdwara Dasvin Patshahi
- Nadaun is a town along the Una-Amb-Kangra road, about 30 kilometers from Kangra and 70 kilometers from Una. It was the scene of a battle in which Guru Gobind Singh took part to assist Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur and some other hill chiefs against the Mughal general Alif Khan. The battle was fought on 20th March 1691. The memorial shrine west of the town on the bank of Beas River is called Gurdwara Dasvin Patshahi. Its present building, a square domed room, was constructed by Rai Bahadur Wasakha Singh in 1929. It was taken over by the S.G.P.C. in 1935 and is administered by it through a local committee.


1) Gurdwara Padal Sahib
- Mandi formerly the capital of a hill state of the same name, is now a district town in Himachal Pradesh. Guru Gobind Singh once visited Mandi on the invitation of its ruler Siddh Sen. While the Guru pitched his camp outside the town, the ladies of his household were accommodated in the Ruler's palace. Two shrines were established here, one inside the palace and the other at the site of the Guru's camp. The inner shrine is maintained by the erstwhile ruling family. The other one near the bank of the River Beas is called Gurdwara Padal Sahib. It was endowed with a land grant in Balh vikllage by Sardar Lahina Singh Majithia, governor of this region under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Its building was reconstructed by Sardar Dina Nath, chief secretary of mandi State, in 1926.

2) Gurdwara Damdama Sahib (Rawalsar)
- Rawalsar is a natural lake with floating islands, about 15 kilometers west of mandi town. The habitation that has grown around it is also named Rawalsar. Guru Gobind Singh visited it once on the occasion of Baisakhi festival. It was here that Raja Siddh Sen of Mandi met the Guru and took him to Mandi with him. The commemorative Sikh shrine here is called Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. It is located on the hillside at some height from the lake and its dome is visible from a distance. Rawalsar is particularly sacred to Namdhari Sikhs. Because of some allusion to it in Sau Sakhi as a sanctuary, many Namdharis went to settle there during early 1940s, but as this small hilly place could hardly absorb them, most of them came back; yet many settled at the nearby Mandi town from where they keep visiting the lake and the Gurdwara frequently.


1) Gurdwara Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Patshahi 10
- Nahan, district town in Sirmaur district (erstwhile Sirmaur State) is approachable by road from Chandigarh, Ambala and Yamuna Nagar. When Raja Medni Prakash became the ruler of Sirmaur in 1684, he found the State threatened by covetous designs of his eastern neighbour, Raja Fateh Chand of Garhwal. Having heard of the rising power and spiritual influence of the young Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, he thought of wining the latter's support and invited him to Nahan. Meanwhile, Guru Gobind Singh was feeling ill at ease at Chakk Nanaki because the local ruler, Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur, had treacherously tried to grab an elephant presented to the Guru by a devotee and was chagrined by the Guru's refusal to part with the animal. The Guru therefore accepted Medni Prakash's invitation, and arrived at Nahan in April 1685. But his stay at the capital was brief. The Raja offered to him some territory along the river Yamuna, the eastern boundary of the State. Guru Gobind Singh moved there and founded the present township of Paonta Sahib. The site of his stay at Nahan too became sacred, and a shrine, now known as Gurdwara Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Patshahi 10, was established here. Close to the high archway called the Lytton Memorial, is new building, small but impressive, was completed in 1954. Its high-ceilinged domed congregation hall has marble door-frames and a marbled canopied high seat for Guru Granth Sahib. Accommodation for pilgrims is not available in the Gurdwara but can be had elsewhere in the town.

Paonta Sahib

1) Gurdwara Shri Paonta Sahib
- Paonta or Panvta on the right bank of Yamuna River, is connected with road with Yamuna Nagar (65 kilimetres) and Nahan (42 kilometers), and can also be reached from Dehradun (50 kilometers) by crossing the river at Paonta ferry. It was founded in 1685 by Guru Gobind Singh, who stayed here upto 1688. During this period he engaged himself not only in hunting and training his warrior Sikhs in the martial arts, but also in literary activities composing many works of religious as well as heroic poetry and patronizing several talented poets and writers whom he employed mostly for translating ancient classics into contemporary Braj or Punjabi. Towards the end of his stay, he also fought and won the first battle of his life against a combination of hill chiefs hostile to him, in his words, 'for no cause'. Before he left for Anandpur Sahib, he appointed Bhai Bishan Singh to look after the fortress-like complex and the Gurdwara within it. The building was reconstructed in 1823 by Baba Kapur Singh with funds provided by Sardar Sahib Singh Sandhanwalia. The shrine and about 120 acres of land attached to it continued to be controlled by hereditary mahants until Nihangs occupied it forcibly in 1964. This was followed by a raid by Himachal Pradesh policed in which 11 Nihangs were killed. After lengthy enquiries and court proceedings, the management was entrusted to an eleven-member committee with the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as its ex-officio chairman. Meanwhile the Himachal Pradesh government had permanently allotted most of the land of Gurdwara Sri Paonta Sahib to former tenants under Big Landed Estates Abolition Act passed by it. The Gurdwara complex spreading over three acres includes, besides the main sanctum Darbar Sahib, several smaller shrines connected with the Guru's activities here. They are Talab Asthan, where pay was disbursed; Kavi Darbar Asthan, where literary works were recited and discussed; Dastar Astha, where robes of honour were given to warriors for their performance during the battle of Bhangari; a memorial to Rishi Kalpi, whom the Guru had brought from his hermitage to stay here; and the Gobind Ghat leading down to the river waters; and of course, the inevitable Guru Ka Langar. All thee places have been reconstructed or renovated during the 1980s.


1) Gurdwara Tir Garhi (Bhangani)
- Bhagani, a small village on the right bank of the River Yamuna in Paonta tahsil of Sirmaur district, is the place where Guru Gobind Singh fought his first battle against the hill chiefs in 1688. Although only 11 kilometres from Paonta Sahib as the crow flies, Bhangani is approached by a 22 kilometres, stretch of a winding, fair-weather though motorable road. The dispute with the hill chiefs arose when Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur, annoyed with Guru Gobind Singh over the latter's refusal to give him a trained elephant, went to Srinagar (Garhwal) to marry his son Ajmer Chand to the daughter or Raja Fateh Chand of Garhwal. As Fateh Chand was friendly with Guru Gobind Singh, then staying at Paonta Sahib, the Guru, too, sent a few Sikhs to Srinagar with tambol, the customary wedding present in cash. Bhim Chand forced Raja Fateh Chand to refuse the present from one who was his (Bhim Chand's) enemy. Not content with that, he also made Fateh Chand and other chiefs to agree to infest Paonta after the marriage. Guru Gobind Singh on his part came to know of their plan and made preparations for a showdown. He came forward to Bhangani to meet the invaders. The battle took place on 16th April 1688 (though some chronicler differ on this point), and ended on the same day with a complete victory for the Guru. Two Gurdawaras exist at Bhangani. The one right on the river bank where the Guru had his command post is called Gurdwara Tir Garhi, and the other a few hundred yards behind it is known as Gurdwara Bhangani Sahib. A congregational fair is held on 16th, 17th and 18th of Baisakh (end April) to commemorate the victorious battle of Bhangani.

Other Historical Gurdwaras in India
Assam Madhya Pradesh
Bihar Maharashtra
Delhi Orissa
Haryana Punjab
Jammu and Kashmir Rajasthan
Karnataka Uttar Pradesh
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