Gurdwaras in Nanded - A Chapter from Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Momentous Travels

In India, the most famous of Sikh temples or Gurdwaras, are mostly in the northern part, like Punjab, and even in the capital city of New Delhi. However, there are some situated in other parts of the country which are of principal importance. One such place is Nanded, which marks the last leg of the journey of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the last of Sikh Gurus.
Below is the gripping read of Guru Ji’s journey through the markers of the Gurdwaras that are famous for various events and people:

1. Gurdwara Hazur Sahib

One of the Panj Takhts in Sikhism, marking a significant event in their history, is Gurdwara Hazur Sahib, built on the banks of the Godavari river in Nanded, Maharashtra. Also known as Takht Sachkhand Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib (calling Nanded as Abchalnagar, meaning Steadfast City) it is built in the remembrance of the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The inner prayer room, called the Angitha Sahib, is the place of Guru Gobind’s cremation, which took place in 1708. The dome is gold-plated, with a gold-plated copper Kalash on top of it.
History Guru Gobind Singh Ji came to Nanded in 1708, where he started holding his daily gatherings. Wazir Khan had commissioned two men for Guru ji’s assassination. When the attack took place, Guru Gobind Singh Ji got stabbed and deeply wounded, but he survived it. A few days later, his wounds re-opened, and he took his last breath in Nanded. Before leaving his earthly life, he named Guru Granth Sahib Ji as his successor, the holiest book of Sikhs containing all the teachings, preachings, and the Sikhi way of living life. Guru Granth Sahib is meant to be the only Guru the Sikhs should worship from then on.

A holy shrine, and one which holds exceptional importance, Sri Hazur Sahib is a well-preserved site with artefacts like an archer and two bows with thirty-five arrows, five swords and a shield studded with beautiful stones, belonging to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. All these are kept in a room called Bunga Mai Bhago. One of the fascinating things in this Gurdwara, apart from the historical significance that it holds, is the laser show that takes place every evening from 7.30 pm-8.30 pm. Voiced by the famous singer Jagjit Singh and directed by Jasbir Singh Dham, it takes the viewers and listeners through the journey of the lives of the ten Sikh Gurus.
The transportation system to reach the Gurdwara is relatively easy, with taxis, auto-rickshaws, and buses available at all times.
Location: Harsh Nagar, Nanded, Maharashtra

2. Gurdwara Nagina Ghat

Around 400 metres south of Sri Hazur Sahib, on the banks of river Godavari, stands Gurdwara Nagina Ghat. The construction of this Gurdwara was undertaken by a Raja from Delhi, Raja Gulab Singh Sethi, but was completed by his widow in 1968. Here, Guru Granth Sahib is kept under a palanquin, or Palki, made of white marble, and there is a smaller room with a dome on top on the first floor. Legend states that one fine day Guru Gobind Singh Ji, along with a few other Sikhs, was looking at the Godavari river flow at the place where the Gurdwara is now built, when a wealthy and prideful merchant approached him and gave him a precious stone, a Nagina. Guru Ji casually threw the stone in the river. This gesture of Guru Gobind Singh upset the merchant and he pitied him for his saintly ways of being forlorn and for not realising the worth of the stone. Upon reading his thoughts, Guru Ji asked the merchant to take his stone out of the river, and to his utter surprise and a tinge of guilt, he marvelled at the sight of the river which was now full of millions of precious stones.
Location: Langer Saheb Road, Vazirabad, Nanded

3. Gurdwara Bandi Ghat

Another 400 metres from Gurdwara Nagina Ghat is Gurdwara Banda Ghat, named after a saint, Bhai Madho Das Bairagi, who was later renamed as Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. He has fought relentlessly to preserve the legacy of Sikhism. Bhai Madho Das Bairagi, who was born as Lachhman Das, was a native of Jammu & Kashmir. At one point in his life, he accidentally killed a pregnant doe. To absolve himself of this guilt, he meditated and acquired some magical prowess through his focused devotion. He had a superiority complex and looked down upon Guru Gobind Singh Ji. To lead him to a calmer path in life, Guru Ji wanted to test him. He had two of his goats butchered, which provoked Lachhman Das and he stormed in front of the Guru, demanding an explanation. Upon a set of deliberation, it is said that Lachhman Das wilfully surrendered himself to the service of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, saying that he is nothing but a simple Banda, a simple man. Guru Ji then spent time with him to teach him the Sikh way of living and moulded him into a leader. Even though he was renamed as Gurbakhsh Singh by Guru Ji, the name Banda Bahadur stuck.
Later, after Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s death, he fought against the Mughals and elected the first sovereign Sikh state in Punjab, which was later taken down by the British and the Hindus. But nothing stopped him from leading the army of Sikhs to fight against the Mughals for the right and faith of Sikhism. In the leadership of Bhai Banda Bahadur, none of the Sikhs renounced their faith under pressure, for it was widely known that his valour and courage was too great and infectious.
Location: Vazirabad, Nanded

4. Gurdwara Shikar Ghat Sahib

Situated at the top of a low hill and at a distance of 12 kilometres from Gurdwara Hazur Sahib, is Gurdwara Shikar Ghat. It is an exquisite and visually enchanting white tile structure, with even the exterior and the dome made with white marbles. Legend has it that it was at this place that Guru Gobind Singh Ji killed a rabbit, who he believed to be the reincarnation of Bhai Maula Karar of Sialkot, a companion of Guru Nanak Dev Ji during one of his travels. On a different occasion when Guru Nanak Dev Ji went looking for him, Bhai Maula Karar was reluctant to meet him as he didn’t want to accompany Guru Ji for another long journey. Guru Ji went on to complete his journey without him. Later while hiding, Bhai Maula was bitten by a snake a died soon after. It is said that since then, his soul was in search of redemption in various forms and bodies over the years, from the guilt of avoiding Guru Nanak Dev Ji. That’s the reason Guru Gobind Singh Ji hunted the rabbit, to liberate the soul of Bhai Maula Karar.
Location: Langer Saheb Road, Vazirabad, Nanded

5. Gurdwara Heera Ghat Sahib

Located at a distance of 9 kilometres from Nanded is Gurdwara Heera Ghat Sahib, known to be the first spot where Guru Gobind Singh Ji made tent when he came to Nanded. It is on the northern side of the Godavari river. It is a small, pristine shrine, full of lush greenery.
The legend of this place is similar to that of Gurdwara Nagina Ghat, except for the fact that here the person who presented Guru Ji with the precious stone, a diamond, was Bahadur Shah, son of Aurangzeb. When Guru Ji tossed the Heera in the flowing river, Bahadur Shah was hurt. Guru Ji asked him to look at the river stream, and upon seeing it, Bahadur Shah couldn’t help but bow down to him in modesty. It made him realise that it wasn’t that Guru Ji didn’t realise the worth of the offering made to him by, but that such a gift to was immaterial to Guru Ji as there wasn’t a lack of wealth in his abode and that such material attractions don’t tempt him or catch his attention.
Location: Brahmanwada, Nanded

6. Gurdwara Sri Mata Sahib Ji

Half a kilometre from Gurdwara Heera Ghat is Gurdwara Sri Mata Sahib, situated in the memory of Mata Sahib Kaur, who made tent at this place. She was the wife and accomplice of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and made arrangements for Langar for everyone when Guru Ji was staying at Heera Ghat. Constructed in 1976 over a land sprawling 250 acres, the langar is still served here for everyone coming to visit and take blessings.
The langar sewa here, daily food service, is now managed by the Nihangs.
Location: Brahmanwada, Nanded

7. Gurdwara Maltekri Sahib

Situated around 5 kilometres from the city of Nanded, near the airport, is Gurdwara Maltekri Sahib. It is the place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited in 1512 AD during his journey towards Sangla-Deep, present-day Sri Lanka, to see a Muslim man called Sayyad Shah Hussain Lakad.
Lakad Shah Faqir used to meditate and prayed to Guru Nanak Dev Ji to come to visit him as he was unable to walk or see. He was in awe of Guru Ji and his teachings, and thought of him as a depiction of God himself. During one of his prayers, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited him. Lakad Shah Faqir was overwhelmed at his holy presence. Guru Ji gave him his blessings and asked him to take care of the hut he was staying at and keep it clean as the place was about to become an attraction, with people visiting it from all over the world. He was also asked to take care of a sum of money which was buried at that spot but will be required by Guru Ji’s successor later. He was promised two ashrafees, gold coins, for his daily service. Feeling blessed, the Faqir took upon this task of cleaning his hut for the rest of his living life and passed away in Guru Ji’s service in 1610 AD. His grave is just behind the Gurdwara. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was given the buried money, which went to the people in his army.
At a later point in history, Muslims tried to take over the site to build a Mosque by burying their people at this place. A court case followed, which ruled in favour of the Sikhs and marked the place as a Sikh heritage site in 1930.
Location: Maltekri Road, Deglour Naka, Nanded

8. Gurdwara Sri Sangat Sahib

Situated in the old town of Nanded is Gurdwara Sri Sangat Sahib. It is said that a Sikh Sangat existed in Nanded between the time of Guru Nanak Ji’s visit to this place at Maltekri or before Guru Gobind Singh Ji arrived.
The money which was kept buried at Maltekri by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and guarded by Bhai Lakad Shah Faqir was brought to this place by Bhai Dharam Singh and Bhai Daya Singh. It was distributed amongst the armies of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Bahadur Shah for their services along the way. It is said that there was a generous distribution of wealth, by means of a shield, to the 300 people army. Even post the liberal and open-handed distribution, there was much of it left, which was buried again. The shield with which the wealth was distributed is kept at this spot as a relic for visitors to see.
Location: Gurudwara Road,Ganipura, Nanded

9. Gurdwara Sri Damdama Sahib

Gurdwara Sri Damdama Sahib is located at a distance of 30 kilometres from Nanded. Guru Gobind Singh Ji visited this place in 1708 when he was on his voyage to Nanded. He stayed here for eight days, owing to its compelling natural beauty of flora and fauna. Upon hearing the news of Guru Ji’s arrival, his followers came to visit him and to take his holy blessings.
Location: Basmath Nagar, District Prabhani, Maharashtra

10. Gurdwara Sri Nanaksar Sahib

At a distance of 10 kilometres from Nanded and towards Gurdwara Sri Ratangarh is Gurdwara Sri Nanaksar Sahib. This place is famous for Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit on his way to Bedar. It was here that he meditated for 9 days and 9 hours under a Ber tree.
The story behind this spot’s significance is an interesting one. One day, Bhai Mardana, who was Guru Nanak’s companion, asked him for water. Guru Ji asked him to play the Dhun of Kartar, or the tune of the God, upon which a stream of water appeared before them. Shortly, a leper visited Guru Ji asking him to help with his condition. Guru Ji asked him to drink the water from the stream and bathe from it. The leper was relieved of his leprosy, and the place has since been made into a holy Sarovar by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, for people to rid themselves of their sins and pray for their heart’s desires. Baba Narinder Singh undertook the renovation of the Sarovar.
Location: Pangri, Maharashtra

11. Gurdwara Sri Nanakpuri Sahib

Near Gurdwara Sri Nanaksar and on the way to Gurdwara Sri Ratangarh is Gurdwara Sri Nanakpur Sahib. This Gurdwara is known for safeguarding Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Khadavan, his wooden sandals, at the time he met his followers at this place and stayed here for some time. It is a small Gurdwara where one can peacefully sit and meditate.

12. Gurdwara Sri Ratangarh Sahib

Situated at the hills of Ratnagiri, 13 kilometres south of Gurdwara Hazur Sahib, is Gurdwara Sri Ratangarh. After the earthly demise of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Khalsa and the Sikhs were feeling utterly dejected and didn’t know what to do. After his last rites were performed, a saint showed up and told them that he was visited by Guru Ji on his horse and his eagle. Guru Ji asked the man to convey to the Sikhs and the Khalsa to continue being in high spirits and keep reciting the name of God. Upon checking, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s horse and eagle were missing. So, the people believed it to be Guru Ji’s divine intervention. Because they were mourning his death and feeling direction-less, Guru Ji had blessed them and heeded them to carry on his teachings and not to forget the Sikh way of living.
Location: Wadepuri, Maharashtra
Visiting the famous Sikh pilgrim Takht, Sri Hazur Sahib, is a great journey in itself. Knowing the stories and folklore around the Gurdwaras situated nearby gives the visitors a great insight into the journey of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his divine appearance. All these hold relative significance and importance, marking the sight of a historical event. Do visit Hazur Sahib when in Nanded, and if you have time in your favour, explore some of the above Gurdwaras around the place as well.

This post was published by Simranjeet Kaur

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