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5 Shrines Commemorating the 40 Liberated Ones

Five Memorial Gurdwaras of Muktsar Dedicated to the Chali Mukte

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Five gurdwaras commemorate historic events and mark locations significant to the 1705 battle of Khirdana which is known in modern times as Muktsar. Warrior princess Mai Bhago led a band of 40 reluctant deserters to fight along side Tenth Guru Gobind Singh against Mughal adversaries bent on annihilation of Sikhs. The repentant warriors lost their lives but drove the enemy to retreat. Pardoned by Guru Gobind Singh for their precious sacrifice, the warriors are know as the Chali Mukte, or 40 liberated ones.

Extensive annual festivities involving visits to all of the shrines by the devout, include worship services, kirtan and bathing in the sacred sarovar, and take place in mid January on Maghi, the beginning date of the traditional calendar month.

Sri Darbar Sahib Muktsar

The main gurdwara of Mukstar is known as Sri Darbar, or Supreme Court. The shrine is located at the western bank of the sarovar oasis, where the battle of 1705 involving the Chali Mukte, led by Mai Bhago, took place in Khirdana. The gurdwara hall and flag post are in close proximity to an ancient Van tree, thought to pre-date the historic battle.

The original gurdwara came into existence about 1743 when Sikh families began moving into the area. Over time, renovations which included additions to the original structure were sponsored by various leaders:

  • Late 1700's - Kaithal leaders Bhai Desu Singh and Bhai Lal Singh made additions.
  • Early 1800's - General Hari Singh Nalva of Maha Raja Ranjit Singh's military defense, made additions.
  • 1880's - Maha Raja Hira Singh of Nabha installed a tower with a Nishan Sahib flag pole.
  • February, 1923 - Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandkhak Committee (SGPC) assumes control of Muktsar shrines from Mahant priests of local lineage.
  • 1930's - Sant Gurmukh Singh and Sant Sadhu Singh added marble to the floors and walls, and installed domes.
  • 1980's - Sangat carries out extensive demolition and reconstruction to marble and domes.

Gurdwara Tambu Sahib

The Tambu shrine commemorates the spot where the Majha Sikhs created a camouflage to confuse the Mughals by spreading out cloth over Karir shrubs and bushes to appear as an encampment of tents. Gurdwara Tambu is located close by the sarovar in the proximity of its southeast corner.

  • Mid to late 1800's - Maha Raja Mohinder Singh, a Sikh ruler from Patalia, sponsored the building of the original structure.
  • 1980's - Donations and construction efforts provided through seva replaced the older buildings with a modern day hall having a central high wall worship area topped by a dome.

Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib

The Tibbi shrine commemorates the sandy hillock where Guru Gobind Singh concealed himself and fired arrows into the the oncoming Mughal horde in the Muktsar battle of 1705.

  • Mid to late 1700's - The original gurdwara erected was a simple building.
  • 1843 - Sodhi Man Singh directed reconstruction of old buildings.
  • 1950 - Baba Baghel Singh, an affiliate of Sant Gurumukh Singh, initiated extensive renovations including construction of square building having a central worship hall with a second story surround over which a dome, in the shape of an inverted lotus, was suspended. The floors, walls and dome were all covered in white marble.

Gurdwara Rakabsar Sahib

The Rakabsar shrine is named for an incident involving a stirrup (rakab) which broke when Guru Gobind Singh mounted his horse after descending from his strategic position on the tibbi mound.

  • 1950's - Baba Baghel Singh had the shrine constructed about 650 feet to the east of the Tibbi shrine.

Gurdwara Shahidganj Sahib

The Shahidganj shrine, commonly referred to as Angitha commemorates the funeral pyre of the Chali Mukte, or 40 liberated ones, and stands where Guru Gobind Singh cremated the remains of the shaheed, or martyred, Majha Sikhs.

  • 1870 - Maha Raja Wazir Singh, the ruler of Faridkot, sponsored the construction of the original structure.
  • 1980's - Devotees sponsored and undertook renovations to build a rectangular worship hall topped by a dome.

References

Encyclopaedia of Sikhism Vol. 1 by Harbans Singh

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