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 gurdwaras. Each
gurdwara has a Darbar Sahib where the current and everlasting guru of
the Sikhs, the holy scripture
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 Granth Sahib, in the presence of the holy congregation.
All gurdwaras have a langar hall, where people can eat free vegetarian
food. They may also have a library, nursery, classroom, meeting
rooms, a gift shop, and finally a repair shop. A gurdwara can be
identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan 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 (popularly known
as The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab, India, which is the
center of power (Akal Takht) of Sikhism.
1.1 Panj Takht
5 Spiritual significance
5.1 Meditating by the
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
9 External links
10 Photo gallery
Nishan Sahib flags on poles at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar.
The first gurdwara was built in Kartarpur, on the banks of Ravi River
Punjab region by the first
Guru Nanak Dev in the
year 1521. It now lies in the
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
continued to grow,
Guru Hargobind, the sixth
Sikh guru, introduced the
The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'gur
(ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the
Sikh gurus) and 'dwara
(ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the
gateway through which the guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all
Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
Some of the prominent
Sikh shrines established by the
Sikh gurus are:
Nankana Sahib, established in the 1490s by first
Dev, Punjab, Pakistan.
Sultanpur Lodhi, established in 1499 became the
Sikh centre during
Guru Nanak Dev time Kapurthala District, Punjab (India).
Kartarpur Sahib, established in 1521 by the first
Sikh Guru, Guru
Nanak Dev, near River Ravi, Narowal, Punjab, Pakistan.
Khadur Sahib, established in 1539 by the second
Dev ji, near River Beas,
Amritsar District, Punjab, India.
Goindwal Sahib, established in 1552 by the third
Das ji, near River Beas,
Amritsar District Punjab, India.
Sri Amritsar, established in 1577 By the fourth
Das ji, District Amritsar, Punjab India.
Tarn Taran Sahib, established in 1590 by the fifth
Sikh Guru, [Guru
Arjan Dev ji], District Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab India.
Kartarpur Sahib, established in 1594 by the fifth
Sikh Guru, Guru
Arjan Dev, near river Beas, Jalandhar District, Punjab India.
Sri Hargobindpur, established by the fifth
Guru Arjan Dev,
near river Beas, Gurdaspur District, Punjab India.
Kiratpur Sahib, established in 1627 by the sixth
Sikh Guru, Guru
Hargobind, near river Sutlej, Ropar District, Punjab, India.
Anandpur Sahib, established in 1665 by the ninth
Bahadur, near river Sutlej, Punjab, India.
Paonta Sahib, established in 1685 by the tenth
Singh, near river Yamuna, Himachal Pradesh India.
By the early 20th century, a number of
Sikh gurdwaras in British India
were under the control of the
Udasi mahants (clergymen). The
Gurdwara Reform Movement
Gurdwara Reform Movement of the 1920s resulted in Shiromani Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee taking control of these gurdwaras.
Panj Takht which literally means five thrones or seat of
authority, are five gurdwaras which have a very special significance
Sikh community. They are result of the historical growth of
the religion of
Sikhism and represent the centers of power of the
Akal Takht Sahib, (the Throne of the Timeless One) established by Guru
Hargobind in 1609 is situated in the complex of The Golden Temple,
Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, located in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India
Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, located in Bathinda, Punjab, India
Takhat Sri Harimandir
Patna Sahib, in the neighborhood of
Patna, Bihar, India
Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, located on banks of the
River Godavari in
Nanded, Maharashtra, India.
A gurdwara has a main hall called a darbar, a community kitchen called
a langar, and other facilities. The essential features of a
gurdwara are these public spaces, the presence of the holy book and
Sikh guru the Granth Sahib, the pursuit of the
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 Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth, and the
Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal, can be performed within
Paath: religious discourse and reading of
Gurbani from the
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 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
Other ceremonies performed there include the
Sikh marriage ceremony,
Anand Karaj; some of the rites of the death ceremony, Antam Sanskar;
and most of the important
Sikh Festivals. The Nagar Kirtan, a Sikh
processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community, begin and
conclude at a gurdwara.
Gurdwaras around the world may also serve the
Sikh community in other
ways, including acting as libraries of
Sikh literature and schools to
teach children Gurmukhi, housing the
Sikh scriptures, and organizing
charitable work in the wider community on behalf of Sikhs. Many
historical gurdwaras associated with the lives of the
Sikh Gurus have
a sarovar (eco-friendly pool) attached for bathing.
Gurdwaras have no idols, statues, or religious pictures.
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 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
Gurdwara Smethwick in Sandwell, one of the first and
largest gurdwaras in the UK.
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
Sikh pennant flag atop the building.
In the 21st century, more and more gurdwaras (especially within India)
have been following the
Harimandir Sahib pattern, a synthesis of
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
Meditating by the
Guru Granth Sahib
Kirtan is performed daily in gurdwaras around the world by Sikh
It is the duty of all Sikhs to engage in personal and communal
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 script and be able to read
understand the meaning of the text. A
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
The Darbar Sahib of a gurdwara.
It is believed that a
Sikh is more easily and deeply engrossed by
Gurbani when engaged in congregation gatherings. For this reason, it
is necessary for a
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)
Khalsa principles of Deg to cook food (langar) in huge amount
Seva is an important and prominent part of the
Sikh religion. Dasvand
forms a central part of
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
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 principles. Importance is given to
Inter-faith dialogue, support for the poor and weak; better community
understanding and co-operation.
Learning and other facilities
Many gurdwaras also have other facilities for Sikhs to learn more
about their religion, such as libraries, complexes for courses in
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.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gurudwaras.
Gurdwaras in India
List of gurdwaras
^ "The Gurdwara". BBC.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
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
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.
Special train to connect all five Takhats, first run on February
^ W. H. McLeod (2009). The A to Z of Sikhism. Scarecrow. p. 16.
^ "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.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2014). Encyclopedia
All Historical Gurudwaras
Gurdwara-Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Sikh Gurdwara, Wakefield Road, Bradford, United Kingdom
Guru Nanak Gurdwara, United Kingdom
Sikh Temple, Letchworth, United Kingdom
Sikh Temple, Icknield Way, Hitchin, United Kingdom
Gurdwara in Stockton, California, U.S.
Gurdwara in Southall, London, United Kingdom
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi, India
Gurdwara in San Jose, California, U.S.
Guru Singh Sabha, Bangkok, Thailand
Sikh Temple, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, United Kingdom
Gurdwara Smethwick, United Kingdom
Guru Singh Sabha, a
Sikh Temple in Southall, London,
Sikh temple located in El Sobrante, California, U.S.
Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi, Rainwari, Srinagar, Kashmir
Gurdwara Baba Gurditta Ji in Kiratpur, Rupnagar, Punjab, India
Gurdwara in Queens Park, Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
A Gurudwara in Johor Bahru, Malaysia
A gurudwara near the birthplace of
Guru Nanak, Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
Guru Amar Das
Guru Ram Das
Guru Har Rai
Guru Har Krishan
Guru Tegh Bahadur
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib (
Sikh holy book)
Beliefs and principles
Guru Maneyo Granth
Sikh Rehat Maryada
Cannabis and Sikhism
Diet in Sikhism
The Five Ks
Guru Granth Sahib
United Arab Emirates
Gurdwara (Harmandir Sahib)
History of the Punjab
Women in Sikhism
Sikhism and sexual orientation
Idolatry in Sikhism
Punjabi language (Gurmukhī)
Place of worship
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