Gurudwaras in Delhi - Of Virtuous & Sacrificial History


Gurudwaras in Delhi

The capital city of India is famous for not only its scrumptious street food but also for the host of religious monuments and shrines that hold historical significance. The old-world charm in present-day New Delhi is still intact with such structures, lending it a charming appeal.

If we talk about of Sikhism, New Delhi is home to several Gurudwaras with the most famous of all being Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Apart from that, there are other Gurudwaras in Delhi with unique and note-worthy history which has helped shape the Sikh religion.

Here is the list of 10 Gurudwaras in Delhi - Of Virtuous & Sacrificial History

1. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

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Known for its association with Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Sikh guru, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most prominent religious as well as tourist places in Delhi. This magnificent shrine was built by Sikh General Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi in the same year during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. Operating for all 24 hours, the Gurudwara is an example of the large-hearted nature of Sikhs. One of the most famous tourist attractions in Delhi, a visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib rejuvenates your soul. This place of solace is flocked by more than thousand people in one single day.

Location - Ashoka Road, Hanuman Road Area, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi - 110001

2. Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib

Situated in the Chandi Chowk area of Old Delhi, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is one among the nine historical gurudwaras in Delhi. Built in 1783 by Baghel Singh (military general in the Punjab cantonment), the gurdwara is the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru- Guru Tegh Bahadur. The Sikh Guru was executed on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb on the 11th of November 1675 as he refused to convert his religion to Islam. Before the body could be revived and displayed for view for the devotees, it was stolen by one of the Guru’s disciples Lakhi Shah Vanjara. Vanjara carried the dead body to his home and burnt down his house in order to cremate his Guru. Today, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib stands at that spot.

Location - Chandni Chowk Rd, Maliwara, Chatta Pratap, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006

3. Gurudwara Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Situated in Mehrauli, near the Qutub Minar, this Gurdwara marks the site of the Sikh martyr Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji, where he was tortured to death by the Mughals in an ugly, vile and intolerable manner, along with his son and 40 other Sikhs on 28th April 1719.

Banda Singh Bahadur became a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, converted to Sikhism, and followed down the path to lead and liberate Sikhs. He fought many brave fights for Sikh rights, especially the one which led to his utterly sad demise. His courage and grit have been acknowledged by many, including the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who has written about and glorified Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji’s heroism. His leadership and single-minded devotion to the cause of Sikhism is evident in how not even a single Sikh in his army renounced their faith under duress.

Upon being captured in 1715, he was given a choice between converting to Islam or dying. As his choice was clear, his 4-year-old son was butchered in front of him. Next, Baba Bahadur’s heart was taken out, stuffed in his mouth, his eyes gouged out of their sockets, and he was skinned alive, and dismembered from limb to limb. Even post his death, he leaves a legacy of sacrifices and victories. His conviction managed to convert many Muslims from their religion into Sikhism. His name has gone down illustriously in Sikh history for his fearless gallantry.

Location - Behind Qutab Minar, Mehrauli Village, New Delhi - 110016

4. Gurudwara Mata Sundri

Named after Guru Gobind Singh Ji's wife, Gurdwara Mata Sundri is the site where Mata Sundri Ji breathed her last breath in 1747. This place is a shrine in her loving memory, where she stayed in Delhi after Guru Gobind Singh Ji left for Deccan. Post Guru Ji’s demise, Mata Sundri led and nurtured the Sikhs for 40 years. She was highly respected by the Sikhs, and they turned to her for guidance.

Mata Sundri’s body was cremated at Gurdwara Bala Sahib Ji.

Location - Mata Sundri Women’s College, Mandi House, New Delhi- 110002

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5. Gurudwara Bala Sahib

Located at the crematory grounds of Guru Harkrishan Singh Ji, the 8th Guru of Sikhs, and Mata Sundri stands Gurdwara Bala Sahib. Bala Sahib was conferred with becoming a Guru at the young and tender age of 5 by succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai Ji. Even at that age, he had a radiant and serene luminosity around him. When he came to Delhi, the place was plagued with cholera and smallpox. His healing touch aided a lot of sufferers, and he won the hearts of many with this divine act. However, the disease caught up to him as he contracted smallpox, leading to his sudden demise on 30th March 1664, which was just months before his 8th birthday. Before he passed on to his other life, he said “Baba Bakala”, hinting at his successor, Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh Ji, who was living in a small village Bakala in Amritsar.

Location - Bhagwan Nagar Chowk, Hari Nagar Ashram, New Delhi - 110014

6. Gurudwara Moti Bagh Sahib

When Guru Gobind Singh Ji came to Delhi for the first time in 1707, this was the place he and his army stopped at. It is said that it’s from this place that Guru Gobind Singh Ji shot two arrows in the direction of Prince Muazzam (later Bahadur Shah), son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who was sitting on his throne at the Red Fort. When the first arrow landed at the foot of his throne, he was surprised by the accuracy and precision of the landing and thought of it as a miracle. When the second arrow landed, it had a message which said that it isn’t a miracle, but an act of skilful archery. This impressed the Prince and made him acknowledge and respect Guru Ji’s excellence and supremacy.

Location - Ring Road, Nanak Pura, Moti Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi 110021

7. Gurudwara Damdama Sahib

This place marks the meeting of Guru Gobind Singh Ji with Bahadur Shah in 1707, erstwhile Prince Muazzam, son of Aurangzeb. Bahadur Shah wanted to overthrow his father to take over the throne, for which he was imprisoned several times. When he met Guru Gobind Singh Ji, together they planned a strategy for Bahadur Shah to take the throne from his brother after Aurangzeb’s death. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was treated with utmost respect, admiration and regard by Bahadur Shah, and also received an honour by the Mughal army. Despite the years of tortures faced by the Sikh Gurus at the hands of the Mughals, especially Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh Ji agreed to help Bahadur Shah as his reasons were fair, rational and in the interest of the people.

While he was the Governor of Kabul, Lahore, and Akbarabad (later Agra) from 1696-1707, he then successfully became the 7th Mughal Emperor, reigning from 1707 to 1712.

The Gurdwara was built in 1783 by Sardar Baghel Singh Ji and was later made to renovate under Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule.

Location - Bharat Scouts and Guides Marg, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi - 110013

8. Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib

Marking a dark moment in Sikh history, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj marks the spot where Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s headless body was cremated on 11th November 1675. Guru Ji selflessly gave up his life to save the Kashmiri Pandits, to uphold his honour of being a Sikh, and to bring to light the truth and atrocities of the Mughals. Guru Ji’s death, which was a horrific event, commenced the downfall of the Mughal rule. He is famously known as “Hind Di Chadar” or “The Shield of India” for he gave up his life to expose the cruelties of the Mughals for the greater good of the nation and for reserving the religious rights of the people.

When Guru Gobind Singh Ji refused to convert to Islam, he was beheaded by Aurangzeb at Chandni Chowk, where Gurdwara Sis Ganj is located. Bhai Lakhi Shah Banjara, along with his son, burnt their own house to cremate Guru Ji’s body at the place, which is now known as Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. Guru Ji’s head was taken to Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, to his son Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who became the 10th Sikh Guru.

Location - Guru Gobind Singh Bhawan, Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi - 110001

9. Gurudwara Majnu Ka Tilla

Located at the top of the Yamuna River is Gurdwara Majnu ka Tilla. It is actually named after a man Abdulla, who was also called Majnu (crazy). He met Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 1505. Majnu used to ferry people across the river without any charge and in the name of God. Guru Ji was very impressed by Majnu’s devotion. He blessed Majnu and stayed at the Tilla for some time after that. Majnu also became Guru Ji’s disciple during that time. A lot of people came to take Guru Ji’s blessings there. Majnu ka Tilla literally translates to the hillock of Majnu.

Years later, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji was invited to Delhi by Emperor Jahangir and he stayed at Gurdwara Majnu ka Tilla. He eventually became friends with Jehangir, once even saving him from a tiger attack. At one point, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji was asked to visit Gwalior Fort to pray for the Emperor’s recovery, to which he obliged. When he was asked to return back to Delhi, he demanded the release of 52 Hindu Rajas along with him, and his demand was fulfilled. This event is known as Bandi Chhor Diwas. Guru Ji visited Gurdwara Majnu Ka Tilla once again on his way back to Punjab.

The Gurdwara was built by Sardar Baghel Singh in 1783 to mark the stay of the 1st Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the 6th Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji, at different times in history.

Location - Chandni Chowk Road, Maliwara, Chatta Pratap, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi - 110006

10. Gurudwara Nanak Piao Sahib

Gurdwara Nanak Piao Sahib is built where Guru Nanak Dev Ji camped in 1505 during Sultan Sikander Shah Lodhi’s rule in Delhi. During Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s stay, he started serving food and water to passers-by. Piao means to offer something to drink, and Guru Nanak Dev Ji, along with his disciple Mardana, derived great pleasure in serving people who were in need. They even set up a deep well from which they would serve water to people, and it became a very popular site.

Once it so happened that a group of people came to Guru Ji mourning the death of their elephant. Guru Ji told them that the elephant isn’t dead but is only resting. Upon checking, the people realised that the animal was, in fact, very much alive. News of this miracle healer reached Sultan Sikander Shah Lodhi, who asked for the Guru to visit his palace and bring back to life his elephant as well. To this, Guru Ji refused, saying that he is a nobody, that the animal’s death is God’s doing, and no one is supposed to interfere with that. Enraged, the Emperor asked to imprison Guru Nanak Dev Ji. During his prison time, he had a profound impact on his fellow prisoners and even the guards of the prison cell, owing to his divine and spiritual nature. Eventually, when Guru Ji was released, he asked for the release of many other prisoners with him as well. Such was his aura and holiness.

Guru Ji’s death anniversary is also observed at Gurdwara Nanak Piao.

Location - Grand Trunk Karnal Road, NH 1, Rana Pratap Bagh, New Delhi- 110033

All the Sikh Gurus are exemplars of divinity, sacrifice, justness and peace. They made their presence felt everywhere they went, positively influencing the people around them and without an ill-thought. They believed in one God and didn’t ever liken themselves to being one. All the places they went, they converted enemies to friends or disciples, put people on the right path, and blessed them to do the right thing. All these Gurudwaras are recognised as important places in Sikh history, and if you are visiting Delhi, it is fairly easy to cover a couple of them in a day. Don’t forget to thrill your taste buds with the delicious Karah Prasad that is served at Gurdwaras and Langar, the free community meal.

This post was published by Joysurjya Hagjer

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