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Rakab Ganj Gurdwara, Delhi Overview

One of the most historical Gurdwaras in Delhi, the magnificent Rakab Ganj Gurdwara is a sight to behold near Parliament House in New Delhi. The Gurdwara is a famous Sikh temple for its historical significance and its quality of maintenance. Devotees visit the place to get blessings and to offer their free service to clean the floors, serve langar, serve water, etc.

Historical records name Baghel Sikh, the Sikh Military General, to be the one who constructed this Gurdwara in 1783. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj is known for being the cremation site of the headless body of the ninth Guru of Sikhs, the martyr Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, who gave his life, saving Hindu Kashmiri Pandits from Aurangzeb’s cruelties in 1675.

The body of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was cremated by Baba Lakhi Shah Vanjara and his son, who belonged to a colony of stirrup makers, which are attached to a horse’s saddles. Hence, the name Rakab which is Persian for stirrups. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj has two prayer halls. The main prayer hall is where the body was cremated. The second one is much bigger and very recent. It is used during momentous Sikh events such as Gurpurabs to accommodate large crowds of people who visit the Gurdwara throughout the day and night, or used for marital processions.

Entrance of Rakab Ganj
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Open Days and Darshan Timings

The Gurdwara is open 24 hours, 7 days a week for people to visit and pay their respects. Kirtan or singing of the melodious hymns happens throughout the day. In the morning, the holy scripture of Sikhs, which is their 11th and only Guru left, the eternal Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is brought to the prayer hall and opened for the day, which is called Prakash. At the end of the day after the Ardas is done, which is performed post the hymn-singing, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is taken back and kept in a separate room in a Takht or raised dais, under a Palki, or Palanquin, covered in a clean and expensive cloth.

Historical and Religious Importance

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was beheaded by Aurangzeb for saving the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits and for his refusal to turn to Islam. While Sis Ganj Gurdwara in Chandni Chowk is where his head was beheaded, the spot where the rest of his body was cremated was the house of Baba Lakhi Shah Vanjara, an honourable man whose name has gone down in Sikh history as one of the many brave men. The place where Gurdwara Rakab Ganj stands now was earlier a Muslim Mosque. When Baghel Singh came to Delhi with his army of 30,000 Sikh warriors and saw this, he asked the Muslims to uproot the Mosque to check the ground beneath the Mosque for Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s ashes by demolishing it. There were objections raised to this, but the Muslims were offered that the Mosque would be reconstructed at the Sikhs’ expense if the vase with the Guru’s ashes was not found. Upon investigation, the claims by the Sikhs was proved right and the Gurdwara was built with permission from Emperor Shah Alam II. It took 12 years and 25 years for this majestic and remarkable Gurdwara to get built.

Architecture

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj is very beautifully constructed. It is made using white marble stones. It also has a garden on one side. Indicating how Sikhism doesn’t discriminate on the basis of caste, colour, or religion, it has entrance gates on all four sides.

Dress code

Usually, Gurdwaras don’t have a dress code. It is recommended to wear loose fitting clothes in which you can comfortably sit while crossing your legs and on the floor. Most of your legs should be covered. Before entering, footwear needs to be removed and deposited in the racks provided. In most Gurdwaras, including Rakab Ganj, there is a proper shoe-rack hall in which people volunteer to do Seva or service and hand out tokens to you when you deposit your footwear, so that they can be easily collected later. In the main Prayer Hall and Langar Hall, one has to make sure to keep their heads covered with a cloth, stole, scarf, or handkerchief. While Sikh males cover their heads with Patka or turbans, others can use a handkerchief or take one from the Gurdwara itself. Caps or hats aren’t allowed in Sikh holy shrines and is seen as a mark of disrespect.

Location

The Gurdwara is located at Gurdwara Road, Parliament Street, New Delhi-110001.

Langar at Rakab Ganj Gurudwara

Don’t forget to relish the Karha Prasad, a delectable mixture of flour, clarified butter and, sugar. Langar, free food for everyone, regardless of caste or community, is served by Gurdwara officials and volunteers alike throughout the day in the community or Langar hall.

How To Reach Rakab Ganj Gurudwara

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj is easily accessible by all modes of transport in Delhi like a car, bus, or even metro. The nearest metro stations near Rakab Ganj Gurdwara are Patel Chowk (2.9 kilometres) or Central Secretariat (3.2 kilometres). The nearest bus stops to Rakab Ganj Gurdwara are N.D.P.O (1-minute walk), St. Columba School (3-4-minute walk), Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (5-minute walk) and Gurdwara Bangla Sahib (5-minute walk)

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