‘Waheguru ji ka khalsa, waheguru ji ki fatah’, ideal words to enchant if you are visiting a gurdwara, which you must at least once in your life even if you are not a Sikh. Gurdwaras always keep their gates open to people of all religions and faith. The word ‘gurdwara’ basically means ‘gateway to guru’, in Sikhism it means through or by means of a guru. In deeper sense, it means a place where you can achieve peace and union with god with the help of a guru.
One special feature of gurdwara is that they don’t have an altar or any idols to worship. This is another thing that separates them from rest of the places of worship. The focal point of worship here is ‘The Guru Granth Sahib’ or ‘Adi Granth’ which is their religious scripture containing prayers and hymns. Gurdwaras also have a pool (sarovar) of holy water (amrit) to cleanse people’s soul and bodies. Their mode of worship includes indulging in kirtnas, sewa (voluntary service) and organizing langars (community kitchen).
There are certain things that you must keep in mind while entering a gurdwara:
Your head must be covered.
Shoes should be removed and feet should be washed.
No smoking or alcohol inside the premises.
Given below is the list of top ten gurdwaras in the world, take your pick:
10. Gurdwara Data Bandi Chod Sahib
The gurdwara located in Gwalior, MP, India signifies the release of 52 Rajput rulers along with Sikh guru Hargobind singh ji. Construction of the Gurdwara was taken up by Sant Baba Uttam Singh ji in 1968. The Gurdwara has a 6 storey building made entirely of white marble and on the inside it has doors made up of gold. It also houses a very beautiful Palki sahib. The main attraction here is “Darshan Deorahi” which has a Sikh museum. The gurdwara also has a very big langar (community kitchen).
9. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib
Yet another historic Gurdwara in Delhi. It’s located on Pandit pant Marg, presidents’ estate, New Delhi. It serves as a memoir of Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh’s sacrifice. This is where his beheaded body was cremated. The 9th Sikh guru was beheaded at Chandni Chowk by Mughals and his body was rescued and cremated and at Rakabganj, the current site of gurdwara. The building is made of white marble and surrounded by a beautiful garden.
8. Gurdwara Chhatti Padshahi
Located in the picturesque hills of Jammu and Kashmir’s district Rajouri, the gurdwara represents the Sikh community living in the area. Even though they might be a minority yet they have preserved their heritage. It was built in memory of 6th guru Hargobind Sahib ji who stayed here for a while. The place where Guru ji was staying was first converted into a Dharamsal which later came to be known as the gurdwara.
7. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur
This gurdwara is situated in sector 34 of Chandigarh, capital of Punjab and Haryana, India. The current site of the gurdwara was originally a village and the villagers had a faith that guru Teg Bahadur Singh and Guru Gobind Singh had visited the place. As per the needs of the people the gurdwara is has often been expanded by the administrative deptt.
6. Bhatta Sahib
This gurdwara is situated in Ropar, Punjab, India. It was built in memory of guru Gobind singh ji. It also has a story as to why it’s named “bhatta”. Legend has it that guru ji was travelling through this area when he asked for shelter from the villagers. The ignorant crowd pointed to a burning kiln as the only place available. Guruji led his horse straight to kiln and miraculously the fire went out. Seeing this miracle people bowed down and apologized. Later on the place was converted in to gurdwara by Baba Jiwan Singh in 1914. It preserves a silver sword, kitar and dhal gifted by guruji to villagers.
5. Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund is a Sanskrit word meaning snow (hem) and bowl (kund). This gurdwara lies in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand, India. It is one of a kind as it is a star shaped gurdwara lying between a marvelous setting of glacial lakes surrounded by 7 hills from sides each with a Nisan sahib. It lies in the Himalayas devoted to 10th guru, guru Gobind singh ji. It was constructed in mid 1960s. If you want to visit the gurdwara as well as enjoy the harmony and stillness of nature do pay a visit between July and October when snow, water, nature and calm are in perfect peace with each other.
4. Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
The most prominent and first gurdwara of southall, London, UK. It was built by the Sikh community of London, which was established in 1960s. It was opened in 2003 and lies on Havelock road. The building was initially a dairy which was later converted into a holy place of worship within a matter of weeks. The Sabha also focuses upon Sikh education and has established Khalsa School at Norwood hall. The gurdwara has a capacity to accommodate around 3000 people at once.
3. Guru Harkishan gurdwara
This gurdwara is popularly known as ‘Bangla Sahib’. It’s the most prominent gurdwara in Delhi, Situated near CP it can be recognized from its stunning golden dome and a saffron flag post called Nissan sahib. It was first built by Sikh general Sardar Bhagel Singh in1783. It was originally the bungalow by Raja Jai Singh but 8th guru came to reside here. That time there was an epidemic. The guru healed people from water in his well. Later on it was converted into gurdwara. The gurdwara has a large pond, art gallery and regular kirtans. They offer langar as in other gurdwaras.
2. Guru Nanak Darbar
This is the only gurdwara in Dubai. Studded with 24 carat gold canopies, it also has Italian marble and a five star kitchen. People here are taken aback by its grandeur and majesty. The man behind the idea is an NRI- Surender Singh Kandhari. The land was gifted by sheikh Mohd. Bin Rashid Al Mktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The gurdwara is a mix of golden temple and southall gurdwara. This is a perfect example of spirituality and modernity combined with affluence. Visitors are in awe of such an opulent gurdwara in an Islamic country.
1. Harminder sahib
Popularly known as the golden temple. This gurdwara is situated in the heart of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It was built by fifth Sikh guru Arjan Dev in 1605. Originally it was a small lake where people meditated. Guru Nanak lived and meditated here, later on his disciples converted the site into Hari Mandir. Maharaja Ranjit Singh gifted marble sculpture, golden gilding and precious stones to the temple. The lake is fed by an underground spring. It has four entries signifying openness and acceptance to all faiths. The majestic gurdwara offers sublime tranquility and peace. One visit is must for everyone.