Gurdwara means the "guru's door". A gurdwara is the Sikh meeting place for worship. The members of the congregation, welcome all people to worship in the gurdwara regardless of caste, color, or creed.
Guru Granth, the Sikh scripture is considered to be the living guru of the Sikhs. In every gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, the Guru Granth is kept on a platform in a prominent place. Sikhs worshiping at the gurdwara bow before Guru Granth before sitting down. A Sikh sitting behind the Guru Granth selects a random verse called a hukam, which is believed to be the Guru's divine command.
Prashad is a sanctified offering of a delicate sweet pudding served to each and every person who enters the gurdwara and at the close of every worship service or ceremony which takes place in the gurdwara. The recipe for prashad is outlined in the Sikh code of conduct and conventions.
Kirtan is an important part of a gurdwara worship service when worshipers participate in singing hymns taken from the Guru Granth. An all night program called Rain Sabaee, is a popular event. Hymns are composed in the clasic music system raag.
Anand Karaj, the Sikh wedding ceremony takes place inside the gurdwara. The bride and groom meet with their families in the presence of the Guru Granth. Wedding vows are made by walking around the Guru Granth four times.
Amrit Sanchar the Sikh baptism and initiation ceremony takes place ina secluded part of the gurdwara. New initiates join the worshipers in the gurdwara where services are held:
The gurdwara is a place for friends and family to congregate and participate in observing ceremonies involving important life events:
Langar is a divine dining experience of both physical and spiritual nourishment. Langar means kitchen, but the word is used also for the actual food prepared and eaten, as well as the dining hall itself. Worshipers participate in serving members of the congregation who gather to dine.
The Sikh gurdwara is a gathering place for annual festivities and holidays involving commemorative ceremonies which include parade events:
Gurmat learning camp gives instruction about the basics of Sikhism. Classes take place in the gurdwara hall or adjacent rooms on weekends and holidays when worship services are not in progress. Students learn:
Historic gurdwaras and shrines commemorate many sites which mark events important to Sikh history:
- Gurdwaras and Sacred Shrines of Sikh History
- Historical Gurdwaras of Nankana, Pakistan
- Renovated Gurdwara of Modern Day Nankana
- Goindwal Baoli, the Well 84 Steps
- History of Harmandir Sahib the Golden Temple
- Historic Gurdwaras of Patna Gurdwara
- Historic Shrines and Gurdwaras of Chamkaur
- Muktsar 5 Shrines Commemorating the 40 Liberated Ones
- Bunga Mai Bhago of Nanded
- Bhai Joga Singh of Peshawar