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Historical Sikh Gurdwaras
 
First let us understand what a Gurdwara is?
Gurdwara, lit, Guru's door, threshold, house or abode, is how the Sikhs call a place of worship for them, although worship is not the only activity related to a Gurdwara. To translate Gurdwara as Sikh temple or Sikh church is not strictly correct because Gurdwaras have neither idols nor altars; neither ordained priests nor sacrament; neither sacrifice not oblation; neither scared fire nor candles except as normal lighting requirement. Sikh form of worship, individual or congregational, consists of recitation or singing of Gurbani, the scriptural texts and ardas, the supplicatory prayer. Gurdwara is a place usually for congregational worship of God, not of Guru, in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, the Shabad-guru. The installation of Guru Granth Sahib is an essential feature of Gurdwara. Another feature is its being a public place accessible to everyone without distinction of caste, class, status or sex. Many Sikhs have a special room in their respective homes where they install Guru Granth Sahib, but such room or home is not a Gurdwara, properly speaking, because access to the Guru there is restricted. A building is of course necessary to house a Gurdwara, but there is no set specification for a Gurdwara building. It may vary from a thatched hut to a palatial edifice. A Gurdwara can be recognized by Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag, flying over or in front of its building. The flag is triangular is shape and usually saffron in color, dark-blue in the case of Gurdwaras managed by Nihangs. Flagpost is also covered with a sleeve of cloth in the same color as of the flag.

Historically, Gurdwara succeeded dharmsal, lit, abode of dharma. Guru Nanak Dev, wherever he went, advised his followers to assemble in sangat for congregational prayer. Sangat or sati-sangat as an institution is considered to possess, besides its cementing or social effect, high soteriological merit as well as epistemological value for acquiring higher knowledge. Theologically, sangat is meant only for practicing nam and kirtan. To his own question, "Which is a true sangat?" Guru Nanak Dev replies, "One where only nam is described", and adds "the True Guru has made it plain, O Nanak, that only nam is the order"; Guru Ram Das says, "That one is a true sangat where God's glory is sung or listened to"; and Guru Arjan Dev declares "Singing of God's glory in Holy congregation is the nobles of actions". The place where the devotees usually congregated was called Gurdwara. By the time of Guru Hargobind the number of sangats had increased considerably, and some of them had also got copies of the pothi (the Adi Granth) compiled by Guru Arjan Dev which they kept in their respective dharmsals. Where they pothi was placed, therefore, began to be considered and called the Guru's abode, Gurdwara; and after Guru Gobind Singh, the Adi Granth really and formally became 'the Guru so that the place where Guru Granth Sahib was placed was properly the Guru's house, Guru-ghar, i.e. Gurdwara.
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Historical Gurdwaras in Foreign Lands
.. Afghanistan
.. Bangla Desh
.. Iraq
.. Pakistan


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Historical Gurdwaras in India
.. Assam
.. Bihar
.. Delhi
.. Haryana
.. Himachal Pradesh
.. Jammu and Kashmir
.. Karnataka
.. Madhya Pradesh
.. Maharashtra
.. Orissa
.. Punjab
.. Rajasthan
.. Uttar Pradesh
.. West Bengal
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