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A gurdwara (Punjabi: ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ, Guruduārā or ਗੁਰਦਵਾਰਾ, gurudwārā; meaning "door to the Guru") is a place of worship for Sikhs. People from all faiths, and those who do not profess any faith, are very welcomed in Sikh
Sikh
gurdwaras. Each gurdwara has a Darbar Sahib where the current and everlasting guru of the Sikhs, the holy scripture Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib, is placed on a takhalmmlolt (an elevated throne) in a prominent central position. The Raagis (who sing Ragas) recite, sing and explain, the verses from the Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib, in the presence of the holy congregation. All gurdwaras have a langar hall, where people can eat free vegetarian food.[1] They may also have a library, nursery, classroom, meeting rooms, a gift shop, and finally a repair shop.[2] A gurdwara can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh
Sikh
flag.

The Harmandir Sahib
Harmandir Sahib
in Amritsar, India, known informally as the Golden Temple, is the holiest gurdwara of Sikhism.

Shri Hazoor Sahib A gurdwara in Nanded, India

The most well-known gurdwara is the Harmandir Sahib
Harmandir Sahib
(popularly known as The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab, India,[3] which is the center of power (Akal Takht) of Sikhism.[3]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Panj Takht

2 Description 3 Customs 4 Gurdwara
Gurdwara
architecture 5 Spiritual significance

5.1 Meditating by the Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib 5.2 Holy congregation (Sadh Sangat) and reflecting on Gurbani 5.3 Voluntary service (Seva) 5.4 Community life and other matters

6 Learning and other facilities 7 See also 8 References

8.1 Bibliography

9 External links 10 Photo gallery

History[edit]

Nishan Sahib
Nishan Sahib
flags on poles at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar.

The first gurdwara was built in Kartarpur, on the banks of Ravi River in the Punjab region
Punjab region
by the first Sikh
Sikh
guru, Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
Dev in the year 1521. It now lies in the Narowal District
Narowal District
of west Punjab (Pakistan). The worship centres were built as a place where Sikhs could gather to hear the guru give spiritual discourse and sing religious hymns in the praise of Waheguru. As the Sikh
Sikh
population continued to grow, Guru
Guru
Hargobind, the sixth Sikh
Sikh
guru, introduced the word gurdwara. The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh
Sikh
gurus) and 'dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the guru could be reached'.[4] Thereafter, all Sikh
Sikh
places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras. Some of the prominent Sikh
Sikh
shrines established by the Sikh gurus
Sikh gurus
are:

Nankana Sahib, established in the 1490s by first Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Nanak Dev, Punjab, Pakistan. Sultanpur Lodhi, established in 1499 became the Sikh
Sikh
centre during Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
Dev time Kapurthala District, Punjab (India). Kartarpur Sahib, established in 1521 by the first Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, near River Ravi, Narowal, Punjab, Pakistan. Khadur Sahib, established in 1539 by the second Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Angad Dev ji, near River Beas, Amritsar
Amritsar
District, Punjab, India. Goindwal Sahib, established in 1552 by the third Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Amar Das ji, near River Beas, Amritsar
Amritsar
District Punjab, India. Sri Amritsar, established in 1577 By the fourth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Ram Das ji, District Amritsar, Punjab India. Tarn Taran Sahib, established in 1590 by the fifth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, [Guru Arjan Dev ji], District Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab India. Kartarpur Sahib, established in 1594 by the fifth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru Arjan Dev, near river Beas, Jalandhar District, Punjab India. Sri Hargobindpur, established by the fifth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru Arjan
Guru Arjan
Dev, near river Beas, Gurdaspur District, Punjab India. Kiratpur
Kiratpur
Sahib, established in 1627 by the sixth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru Hargobind, near river Sutlej, Ropar District, Punjab, India. Anandpur Sahib, established in 1665 by the ninth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Tegh Bahadur, near river Sutlej, Punjab, India. Paonta Sahib, established in 1685 by the tenth Sikh
Sikh
Guru, Guru
Guru
Gobind Singh, near river Yamuna, Himachal Pradesh India.

By the early 20th century, a number of Sikh
Sikh
gurdwaras in British India were under the control of the Udasi
Udasi
mahants (clergymen).[5] The Gurdwara Reform Movement
Gurdwara Reform Movement
of the 1920s resulted in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee taking control of these gurdwaras.[6] Panj Takht[edit] The Panj Takht
Panj Takht
which literally means five thrones or seat of authority, are five gurdwaras which have a very special significance for the Sikh
Sikh
community.[7] They are result of the historical growth of the religion of Sikhism
Sikhism
and represent the centers of power of the religion.

Akal Takht
Akal Takht
Sahib, (the Throne of the Timeless One) established by Guru Hargobind in 1609 is situated in the complex of The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India[3] Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, located in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India[8] Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, located in Bathinda, Punjab, India[9] Takhat Sri Harimandir Patna
Patna
Sahib, in the neighborhood of Patna
Patna
Sahib, Patna, Bihar, India[10] Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, located on banks of the River Godavari
River Godavari
in Nanded, Maharashtra, India.[11]

Description[edit] A gurdwara has a main hall called a darbar, a community kitchen called a langar,[4] and other facilities. The essential features of a gurdwara are these public spaces, the presence of the holy book and eternal Sikh
Sikh
guru the Granth Sahib,[12] the pursuit of the Sikh
Sikh
Rehat Maryada (the Sikh
Sikh
code of conduct and convention), and the provision of daily services:

Shabad Kirtan: singing hymns from the Granth Sahib. Strictly speaking only Shabads from Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth, and the compositions of Bhai Gurdas
Bhai Gurdas
and Bhai Nand Lal, can be performed within a gurdwara. Paath: religious discourse and reading of Gurbani
Gurbani
from the Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib, with its explanations. There are two types of discourse: Akhand Paath and Sadharan Paath. Sangat and Pangat: providing a free community kitchen called a langar[4] for all visitors, regardless of religious, regional, cultural, racial, caste, or class affiliations.

A typical Darbar Sahib layout. Men and women usually sit on separate sides.

Other ceremonies performed there include the Sikh
Sikh
marriage ceremony, Anand Karaj; some of the rites of the death ceremony, Antam Sanskar; and most of the important Sikh
Sikh
Festivals. The Nagar Kirtan, a Sikh processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community, begin and conclude at a gurdwara.[13] Gurdwaras around the world may also serve the Sikh
Sikh
community in other ways, including acting as libraries of Sikh
Sikh
literature and schools to teach children Gurmukhi, housing the Sikh
Sikh
scriptures, and organizing charitable work in the wider community on behalf of Sikhs. Many historical gurdwaras associated with the lives of the Sikh
Sikh
Gurus have a sarovar (eco-friendly pool) attached for bathing. Gurdwaras have no idols, statues, or religious pictures. Customs[edit]

Gurudwara Paonta Sahib, view inside a typical gurdwara.

Many gurdwaras are designed to seat men on one side and women on the other, although designs vary, and the divided seating is far from mandatory. They do not generally sit together but on separate sides of the room, both at an equal distance from the Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib, as a sign of equality. Worshippers are offered Karah Parshad (sweet flour and ghee-based food offered as prashad) in the hall, which is usually given into cupped hands by a sewadar (gurdwara volunteer). In the langar room, food is cooked and served by the volunteers in the community. Only vegetarian food is served in the langar hall, to suit the visitors from different backgrounds so that no person may be offended. All people belonging to different faiths sit together to share a common meal, regardless of any dietary restrictions. The main philosophy behind the Langar is two-fold : to provide training to engage in Seva and an opportunity to serve people from all walks of life, and to help banish all distinctions between high and low or rich and poor. Gurdwara
Gurdwara
architecture[edit]

Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Smethwick in Sandwell, one of the first and largest gurdwaras in the UK.

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
buildings do not have to conform to any set architectural design. The only established requirements are: the installation of the Granth Sahib, under a canopy or in a canopied seat, usually on a platform higher than the specific floor on which the devotees sit, and a tall Sikh
Sikh
pennant flag atop the building. In the 21st century, more and more gurdwaras (especially within India) have been following the Harimandir Sahib
Harimandir Sahib
pattern, a synthesis of Indo-Islamic and Sikh
Sikh
architecture. Most of them have square halls, stand on a higher plinth, have entrances on all four sides, and have square or octagonal domed sanctums usually in the middle. During recent decades, to meet the requirements of larger gatherings, bigger and better ventilated assembly halls, with the sanctum at one end, have become accepted style. The location of the sanctum, more often than not, is such as to allow space for circumambulation. Sometimes, to augment the space, verandahs are built to skirt the hall. A popular model for the dome is the ribbed lotus, topped by an ornamental pinnacle. Arched copings, kiosks and solid domelets are used for exterior decorations. Spiritual significance[edit] Meditating by the Guru
Guru
Granth Sahib[edit]

Play media

Shabad Kirtan
Kirtan
is performed daily in gurdwaras around the world by Sikh Ragis.

It is the duty of all Sikhs to engage in personal and communal meditation, Kirtan
Kirtan
and the study of the holy Scriptures. Meditating and understanding the meaning of texts from the Granth Sahib is important for the proper moral and spiritual development of a Sikh. One must study Gurmukhi
Gurmukhi
script and be able to read Gurbani
Gurbani
to understand the meaning of the text. A Sikh
Sikh
has to revert to the Granth Sahib for the all spiritual guidance in one's life. Holy congregation (Sadh Sangat) and reflecting on Gurbani[edit]

The Darbar Sahib of a gurdwara.

It is believed that a Sikh
Sikh
is more easily and deeply engrossed by Gurbani
Gurbani
when engaged in congregation gatherings. For this reason, it is necessary for a Sikh
Sikh
to visit gurdwara. On joining the holy congregation, Sikhs should take part and obtain the benefit from the combined study of the holy scriptures. No one is to be barred from entering a gurdwara regardless of their religious or regional background and are welcomed in. Voluntary service (Seva)[edit]

Khalsa
Khalsa
principles of Deg to cook food (langar) in huge amount

Seva is an important and prominent part of the Sikh
Sikh
religion. Dasvand forms a central part of Sikh
Sikh
belief (of Vand Chhako) and literally means donating ten percent of one's harvest, both financial and in the form of time and service such as seva to the gurdwara and anywhere where help is needed. All Sikhs therefore get involved in this communal service whenever an opportunity arises. This in its simple forms can be: sweeping and washing the floors of the gurdwara, serving water and food (Langar) to or fanning the congregation, offering provisions or preparing food and doing other 'house keeping' duties. Community life and other matters[edit] Sikhism
Sikhism
offers strong support for a healthy communal life, and a Sikh must undertake to support all worthy projects which would benefit the larger community and promote Sikh
Sikh
principles. Importance is given to Inter-faith dialogue, support for the poor and weak; better community understanding and co-operation. Learning and other facilities[edit] Many gurdwaras also have other facilities for Sikhs to learn more about their religion, such as libraries, complexes for courses in Gurmukhi, Sikhism
Sikhism
and Sikh
Sikh
scriptures, meeting rooms, and room-and-board accommodation for those who need it. Gurdwaras are open to all people - regardless of gender, age, sexuality or religion - and are generally open all hours of a day. Some gurdwaras also provide temporary accommodations (serais) for visitors or devotees. The gurdwara also serves as a community centre and a guest house for travellers, occasionally a clinic, and a base for local charitable activities. Apart from morning and evening services, the gurdwaras hold special congregations to mark important anniversaries on the Sikh calendar. They become scenes of much éclat and festivity during celebrations in honour of the birth and death (Joythi Joyth Samaey) anniversaries of the Gurus and Vaisakhi. See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gurudwaras.

Panj Takht Gurdwaras in India List of gurdwaras List of Sikh
Sikh
festivals Sangat

References[edit]

^ "The Gurdwara". BBC.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 18 March 2013.  ^ " Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Requirements". WorldGurudwaras.com. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.  ^ a b c The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica 2014. ^ a b c "Historical Gurdwaras" Archived 2010-06-11 at the Wayback Machine., Shiromani Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, Punjab, India, www.SGPC.net, 2005. ^ H. S Singha (2000). The encyclopedia of Sikhism. Hemkunt Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1.  ^ Rajit K. Mazumder (2003). The Indian army and the making of Punjab. Orient Blackswan. pp. 213–218. ISBN 978-81-7824-059-6.  ^ " Special
Special
train to connect all five Takhats, first run on February 16".  ^ W. H. McLeod (2009). The A to Z of Sikhism. Scarecrow. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8108-6344-6.  ^ "Railways halts survey to finalise the Talwandi Sabo rail route". hindustantimes.com. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.  ^ Five jathedars visit Patna, kick off ’17 preparations ^ Hazoor Sahib — a salute to the saviourThe Tribune ^ "BBC - Religions - Sikhism: The Gurdwara", BBC.co.uk, 2010. ^ "BBC - Religions - Sikhism: Weddings", BBC.co.uk, 2010.

Bibliography[edit]

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2014). Encyclopedia Britannica. 

External links[edit]

All Historical Gurudwaras

Photo gallery[edit]

Gurdwara-Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Sikh
Sikh
Gurdwara, Wakefield Road, Bradford, United Kingdom

Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
Gurdwara, United Kingdom

Sikh
Sikh
Temple, Letchworth, United Kingdom

Sikh
Sikh
Temple, Icknield Way, Hitchin, United Kingdom

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
in Stockton, California, U.S.

Ramgarhia
Ramgarhia
Sabha Gurdwara
Gurdwara
in Southall, London, United Kingdom

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi, India

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
in San Jose, California, U.S.

Gurudwara Shri Guru
Guru
Singh Sabha, Bangkok, Thailand

Sikh
Sikh
Temple, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, United Kingdom

Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak
Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Smethwick, United Kingdom

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Sri Guru
Guru
Singh Sabha, a Sikh
Sikh
Temple in Southall, London, United Kingdom

Sikh
Sikh
temple located in El Sobrante, California, U.S.

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Chatti Patshahi, Rainwari, Srinagar, Kashmir

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Baba Gurditta Ji in Kiratpur, Rupnagar, Punjab, India

Gurdwara
Gurdwara
in Queens Park, Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

A Gurudwara in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

A gurudwara near the birthplace of Guru
Guru
Nanak, Nankana Sahib, Pakistan

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