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The Sikh Gurdwara Illustrated

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Remove Shoes Before Entering Gurdwara
Gurdwara Shoe Rack

Gurdwara Shoe Rack and Sevadar

Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Gurdwara Shoe Rack

Every worshiper and visitor to the gurdwara is obligated to remove shoes before entering. Many gurdwaras have shoe racks close to the entrance. Visitors have a choice to make use of the shoe rack or to leave shoes to either side of the gurdwara entrance.

Shoe Seva

A Sikh man or woman may arrange the shoes neatly in rows clean the shoes and shoe racks. Shoe seva may be done voluntarily or assigned as tankaiya by five beloved panj pyare, the administers of Sikh initiation, as chastisement for a transgression of the Sikh code of conduct. Sevadars performing shoe seva consider the task of cleaning the shoes of sangat to be an honor. Shoe seva is always done lovingly with great respect for sangat, the Sikh congregation, and is believed to be a blessing of humility, capable of cleansing the soul.

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