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Gurdwaras and Sacred Shrines of Sikh History

Historic Gurdwaras and Ancient Sikh Shrines


Gurdwara is the proper name for a Sikh place of worship or commemorative sacred shrine. Ancient gurdwaras and sacred shrines commemorate significant events in the lives of the ten gurus of Sikhism. Many of these sacred places have been built over the centuries. Most ancient sites and holy places sacred to Sikhism are in the part of Pakistan and India which what used to be known as the Punjab prior to partition.

The Five Thakats

Golden Temple Harmandir Sahib and Akal Takhat
Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

The historic supreme seats of temporal power, and religious authority, are known as the Panj Takhat, or five thrones of Sikhism:

  1. Takhat Sri Kes Ghar Sahib
  2. Sri Akal Takhat Sahib
  3. Takhat Sri Sach Khand Hazoor Sahib
  4. Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib
  5. Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib

Historical Gurdwaras of Nankana Pakistan

Nankana Gurdwara Maal Ji Sahib
Photo © [S Khalsa]

Nankana Pakistan is the hometown of Guru Nanak. There are a number of commemorative gurdwaras which mark his birthplace and the sacred sites where miraculous events occurred during his childhood.

    Modern Nanakana is the site of an annual gurpurab full moon fall festival commemorating Guru Nanak's birth.

    Goindwal Baoli the Well of 84 Steps in Goindwal India

    Goindwal Baoli The Well of 84 Steps
    Photo © [Jasleen Kaur]

    Baoli is a word meaning well. Goindwal Baoli commemorates the site marking the "Well of 84 Steps," constructed in the 16th century by Guru Amar Das. Pilgrims perform prayers on the 84 steps in hopes that their soul may be liberated from the transmigration of 8.4 million life forms. 

    • Goindwal Baoli Well of 84 Steps

    Harmandir Sahib the Golden Temple of Amritsar India

    Sarovar Amritsar Surrounding Golden Temple Harmandir Sahib and Akal Takhat
    Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

    Harmandir Sahib the central gurdwara, or worship place, for all Sikhs is known as the Golden Temple because it is constructed of marble and gold. Harmandir Sahib has a history dating back to Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Third Guru Amar Das, and bride of Fourth Guru Raam Das and their son, Fifth Guru Arjun Dev. The gurdwara is located in Amritsar India and is also the site of The Akal Takhat seat of religious authority in Sikhism. Over the centuries the gurdwara has attacked and restored a number of times.

    Historic Gurdwaras and Commemorative Shrines of Patna India

    Takhat Harmandir Sahib in Patna
    Photo © [Devesh Bhatta - Courtesty GNU Free Documentation License]

    Patna is home to five historic gurdwaras built on ancient sites significant to Sikhism dedicated to Guru Nanak, Guru Teg Bahadur and the childhood of Guru Gobind Singh.

    • Gurdwara Pahila Bari aka Gurdwara Gae Ghat (Travels of Guru Nanak)
    • Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib (Birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh)
    • Gurudara Bal Lila Maini Sangat (Home of Rani who fed the child Gobind Rai)
    • Gurdwara Sri Gobind Singh Ghat (Where Gobind Rai played as a child)
    • Ghat Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh (Relics of Gobind Rai)

    Gurdwara Handi Sahib of Dinapur, Bihar

    Located about 12 or so miles from Patna, Gurdwara Handi Sahib or Daanpur, Bihar, commemorates the devotion of Mai ji, an elderly woman who prepared Khichri (khichdi) from her own meager stores to feed Prince Gobind Rai and his entire family. The tradition of preparing Khichri is continued by the gurdwara.

    Historic Shrines and Gurdwaras of Chamkaur

    Chamkaur Sahib is the site of famous battles fought by Sikhs against Mughals troupes. Six historic shrines and gurdwaras commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's sons and warriors.
    • Gurdwara Ranjit Ghar
    • Gurdwara Damdama Sahib
    • Gurudwara Ghari Sahib
    • Gurdwara Qatalghar Sahib (Shahid Ganj)
    • Gurudwara Shahid Burj Bhai Jivan Singh
    • Gurdwara Tari Sahib

    Muktsar 5 Shrines Commemorating the 40 Liberated Ones

    Five gurdwaras commemorate the battle fought at Muktsar by the martyred 40 liberated ones known as Chali Mukte.

    • Gurdwara Tambu Sahib
    • Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib
    • Gurdwara Rakabsar Sahib
    • Sri Darbar Sahib Muktsar
    • Gurdwara Shahidganj Sahib

    Bunga Mai Bhago of Nanded

    At least two sacred shrines commemorate the fearless warrior princess Mai Bhago who led the 40 liberated ones into battle along side Guru Gobind Singh.

    • Bunga Mai Bhago
    • Gurdwara Tap Asthan

    Bhai Joga Singh Gurdwara of Peshawar Pakistan

    Bhai Joga Singh Gurdwara commemorates the memory of an unusual event when Joga Singh overcame temptation of a dancing girl on his wedding night after being called away from his bridal bed by Guru Godbind Singh.

    • Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh of Peshawar

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