Historical Gurdwaras in Delhi

Historical Gurdwaras in Delhi
Gurudwaras in Delhi

Gurdwara Nanak Piyo
Guru Nanak, the Founder of Sikhism, gave to the world a New Faith, a new Dispensation, Which was neither Hinduism nor Islam in its doctrinal and spiritual content.Basing the new faith on his inspired vision of God, and on his own response to the human and political situation of his times, he organized a distinct Church and gave to it a unique relegious, Social and culutural structure.His nine Successors gave a new Scripture, The Adi Guru Granth, new religious, cultural and political institutions in the moral and spiritual framework of Guru Nanak's dynamic Ideals.

Establishing the nucleus of his Faith in Punjab, Guru Nanak went on long missionary journeys to the East in Asam and Bengal, to the South in Lanka, and to the north in Tibet, and to the West reaching Mecca, Medina and other religious Centres of the Middle East.

On his missionary journey to the East he stopped in a garden on the outskirts of Delhi. Here in this garden Guru Nanak delivered inspiring sermons on his religion and mystical experiences through music and songs.Pundits, Mullas, Yogis and sannyasis of Delhi Came and debated with him on many religious issue of their interest, and felt inspired by his thoughts and experiences. The owner of the garden built a shrine in memory of his visit, which was earlier called Pau Sahib, but is now known as Nanak piyao. The well from which water was offered to wayfarers is still there. In the hot season cold water is served to slake the thirst of trevellers and food is given to the needy.

Gurdwara Majnu Tilla Shrine

On the banks of Jamuna river, there lived in Delhi a Muslim Sufi Dervishwho led the life of a penitent recluse. So lonely and Godintoxicated was he theat he was nicknamed Majnu, the mad lover. When he met Guru Nanak, he felt that he was in the presence of a prophet who was imparted to him a new revelation. He felt spiritually to him a new revelation. He felt spiritually exalted and ilumined, and the Light of God was revealed to him in his soul.

Guru Nanak had many Muslim disciples in Punjab but Majnu was his first Muslim disciple in Delhi,who not only became his outstanding devotee but a great missionary who converted his khanqahinto a Shrine of Guru Nanak, Which Continued to be known after his name as Majnu-ka-Tillato this day.

Guru Hargobind ji (1595-1644 A.D.) camps at Majnu Tilla during his visit to Delhi
Even before ascending the throne, Jahangir had been seeking the political support of all forces who were hostile to Akbar, and these forces had already poisoned the mind of Jahangir against Guru Arjun as a very staunch friend of Akbar and suspected supporter of Khusro who had rebelled against Jahangir.

In a fit of rage Jahangir Ordered the death of Guru Arjun, but soon after the Guru's martyrdom Saints and Nobles of Lahore impressed the Emperor that he had been misguided by the Guru's personal enemies. Eminent Sufi Saints like Miyan Mir further established amicable relations between Guru Hargobind and Jhangir.

When Guru Hargobind came to Delhi on the Emperor's invitation, The Guru's old enemies, Chandu and his Mughal supporters again poisoned the mind of the Emperor and the suspicious and emotionally unbalanced Emperor imprisoned the Guru in Gwalior Fort for some Months. After his release he came back to delhi and The Guru's enemies were eliminated. The relations between the Emperor and the Guru remained friendly and free from suspicion and hostility to the end of Jahangir's life.

When Guru Hargobind came to Delhi he stayed at the Majnu Tilla shrine. Later on when Guru Hari Rai sent his son Ram Rai to explain the tenets of Sikhism to Aurangzeb he stayed at Majnu Tilla.Thus this place has been an important missionary centre of Sikhism throughout the last five centuries. In 1783 A.D.S. Baghel Singh encamped here with his Army when Sikhs Captured Delhi.

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib

Guru Hari Krishan, the boy prophet, became the eighth Guru of the Sikhs on October 6, 1661 A.D. During the short period of his pontificate the guided the Sikh Community with great tact and wisdom in the face of threatening challenges. He sent missionaries to the farthest outpots of the country and inspired the seekers who came to him with eternal truth and the highest mystical and spiritual experiences. His father Guru Hari Rai had disowned his elder brother, Ram Rai because he went out of the way to please the Mughal Emperor, more so by showing magical miracles to entertain him.

When Guru Hari Krishan came to Delhi, he was entertained as a royal guest by mirza Raja Jai Singh in his Haveli (Palace), the present site of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. This palace was built on the model of existing palace of Raja Jai Singh in jaipur. Raja Jai Singh's Chief Rani looked after Mata Sulakhani, the mother of the Guru, and was greatly impressed by the spiritual powers of the child-prophet.

Avoiding invitations and meetings with Emperor Aurangzeb he refused to show any occult miracles of the type Ram Rai had shown in the Mughal Court and got many rewards. During this period Small pox and cholera had broken in Delhi and Guru Hari Krishan moved among the poorest Hindu and Muslim localities helping the suffering and the sick. Hindus and Muslims of Delhi were deeply moved by his compassion and human concern for all those who suffered from poverty and diseases. Every day Guru Hari Krishan distributed sanctified water to the sick and ailing people which had a miraculous healing effect on their mind, body and soul. To this day water sanctified by the Word of God, sung all day in this temple, is distributed to those seeking faith healing. Many seriously ill persons are reported to have been healed. Raja Jai Singh dedicated his palace to his sacred memory and since his death it has been the place of worship of the Sikhs and is known as Bangla Sahib.

Gurdwara Bala Sahib

Most of the poor people who suffered from cholera and small pox had been Shifted to camps on the banks of Jamuna river. Guru Hari Krishan spent the last two weeks of his life looking after these poor and destitute people irrespective of their religion, Caste and creed. He passed away on 30th March 1664, asking his disciples to seek his successor in Bakla, Whom he addressed as 'Baba'.He was cremated at the present site of Bala Sahib Gurdwara. This was the place where he had camped to look after the sick and suffering poverty stricken people of Delhi. He was long remembered by the Muslims as Bala Pir and by the Hindus as Balmukand. In their Invocation prayer (ardas) written by Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs repeat everyday these words,"Contemplate the Presence of Guru Hari Krishan, the vision of whose divine personality dispels all sorrow and suffering."

Gurdwara Sis Ganj

Guru Tegh Bahadur was born in the holy city of Amritsar on April, 1621. He was the fifth and the youngest son of the sixth prophet, Guru Hargobind, and the only one to deservedly ascend the pontific throne nearly 20 years after his father's death as ninth Guru of Sikhs. He was a great lover of poetry and peace, music and meditations, charity and human freedom. He was on his missionary tour in Bengal and Assam when he heard that Aurangzeb had issued orders to persecute the Brahmins, the custodians of Hindus faith. The Emperor had in those days thrown hundreds of Brahmins into jails in the hope that if they embraced the religion of the prophet, the rest of the Hindus would follow suit. (Latif)

Five hundred Brahmins under the leadership of Pundit Kirpa Ram of Kashmir met Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur to seek his protection and help, as Shivaji and the Rajputs had expressed their helplessness in the matter. Moved by their woeful tales the Compassionate Guru said,"Go and tell Aurangzeb that if he succeeded in converting Guru Tegh Bahadur, all Brahmins and their Hindu followers would accept Islam, but if he failed to do so he must stop the persecution of Brahmins.

Aurangzeb reached Delhi sometime in the middle of 1675. (the year given by Massir-i-Alamgiri, like many of its other dates is incorrect). Guru Tegh Bahadur reached Agra and courted arrest. He was brought to Delhi. Aurangzeb failed to convince Guru Tegh Bahadur that idolators should be physically eliminate by superior political power. Guru Tegh Bahadur was himself preaching against idolatory and Brahmanism, but he refused to accept that forcible conversion in any form was legally morally, and spiritually justified. He considered forcible conversion inhuman, brutal and against the basic moral values which higher religions preach. Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to show miracles to save his life because displaying occult powers was considered unworthy of true saints and prophets of God.

By Aurangzeb's orders first, Guru Tegh Bahadur's leading apostles and companions in prison were tortured to death. Bhai Dayal Das was thrown into a boiling cauldron, Bhai Mati Das was sawn alive, Bhai Sati Das was burnt on the stake. The sight of the heroic martyrdom of his disciples did not disturb Guru Tegh Bahadur's mind. He was beheaded in the presence of a large crowd under a tree, the trunk of which is still preserved in Sis Ganj shrine on Thursday 11th November, 1675 A.D. Around the place of martyrdom of the Guru grew a temple now known as Sis Ganj. The well where he took his bath while in prison is still preserved.

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj

When Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in Chandni Chowk, the lamenting and wailing crowd surged forward to have a closer look at the martyred prophet, a man named Bhai Jaita, rushed out of the crowd, and with lightning flash picked up the head of the Guru and disappeared into the grief stricken crowd.

he clouds darkened and a strom began to rage. Lakhi Shah, a Sikh devotee and government contractor came rushing with a convoy of horse and bullocks driven by his eight sons through the Chandni Chowk under cover of the darkness created by the dark clouds, they carried away the body of Guru Tegh Bahadur to their residence, the present site of Rakab Ganj Gurdwara opposite Parliament building. They reverently placed the body of the Guru as pre-planned on a pile of sandalwood and set fire to the whole house. They put the remains of the Guru in an urn and buried it on the very spot where the body was cremated. The head of the Guru was taken by his disciple Bhai Jaita to Anandpur where Guru Gobind Singh cremated it near the place where the Guru used to meditate in a Cell. That place is also known as Sis Ganj of Anandpur.

Hermitage of Baba Buddha and Self-Dedication of Baba Gurditta
When Guru Hargobind was unexpectedly imprisoned during his visit to Delhi and sent to Gwalior prison, Baba Buddha the High Priest looked after the Guru's horses and camps. The place where the sage stayed is now known as Buddhapind and a festival is held there in August-September to celebrate the day of the Guru's return from the prison.

Bhai Gurditta was the great grandson of Baba Buddha and the High Priest of Guru Tegh Bahadur's durbar. The Guru had sent him to Anandpur to bestow the articles of spiritual Regalia to his son Guru Gobind Singh. On his way back, Bhai Gurditta had just entered Delhi when he heard the heart rending cried of the people who were witnessing the martyrdom of his Master. Unable to bear the separation of the Master whom he had served with intense devotion, he went to Baba Buddha's hermitage, sat in samadhi and discarded his body, to remain for ever in eternal communion with his Guru and God.

Gurdwara Moti Bagh
Gurdwara Damdama Sahib

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last prophet of the Sikhs left for Punjab for South India on 21 October 1706. When he reached Bhagaur in Rajputana in March 1707, he received a special envoy from Prince Muazzam, (also known as Shah Alam), the heir apparent, requesting the Guru to give him his moral and political support. Prince Azam the third son of Aurangzeb was trying to usurp the throne.

Prince Muazzam encamped at Lahore and proclaimed himself Emperor Bahadur Shah. Both Guru Gobind Singh and the Emperor reached Delhi sometime in the middle of April. Guru Gobind Singh is said to have informed the Emperor of his arrival through an arrow which he shot from his camp into the walls of Red Fort. Bahadur Shah offered to give four Subas (provinces) to Prince Azam but he haughtily replied,"Two kings cannot be contained in one country though ten dervishes can sleep under one blanket."

The armies of Bahadur Shah and Azam Shah met at Jajuan about 12 miles from Agra on 10th June 1707 A.D. Guru Gobind Singh sent a token support of one regiment under Commander Kuldip Singh, as he generally did when his help was sought by the Hill Chiefs of Shivalik in their difficulty. He was always on the side of justice and peace. Guru Gobind Singh camped at a little distance ready to send reinforcement if necessary. When the battle reached a critical and decisive phase, Guru Gobind Singh entered the fray, and in his final assault on other side Prince Azam was mortally wounded. The wounded prince exclaimed : "It is not Shah Alam who fights against me, God has abandoned me and fortune has turned against me."

The Emperor rewarded Commandant Kuldip Singh and presented Robes of Honour in royal style along with a bejewelled ornaments worn by kings, worth sixty lakhs. Thus the friendship that already existed between Bahadur Shah and Guru Gobind Singh since 1695 A.D., became deep and profound. Guru Gobind Singh had a mind to come to Punjab but when the Emperor promised to punish all those officers who had destroyed Anandpur and treacherously attacked him and killed all his four sons, he decided to resume his missionary journey to the South.

While the Emperor went to Agra Guru Gobind Singh came back to Delhi and stayed here for the whole of rainy season. The Emperor also came to Delhi and there were a number of meetings between the Emperor and Guru Gobind Singh at the present site of Damdama Sahib near Hamayun's tomb. Guru Gobind Singh stayed at the present site of Moti Bagh Gurdwara on Ring Road and the meetings between the Emperor and the Guru were held at the place now called Damdama Sahib Gurdwara. Latest researches indicate that these leisurely meetings with the Emperor in which they entertained each other-with military sports were held after the battle.

Gurdwara Mata Sundari ji (Sundar Kaur)
Angithas of Mata Sundari ji (Sundar Kaur) And Mata Sahib Devan ji (Sahib Kaur)

After the ascension of Guru Gobind Singh on 7th October 1708, Holy Mother Mata Sundari (Sundar Kaur) and Mata Sahib Devan (Sahib Kaur) continued to stay in Delhi.For nearly three decades they guided the sikhs living in small groups arounds their holy places in Punjab and the rest of India. They organised religious and political leadership of the Sikhs in Diaspora.

Their spiritual authority and personal qualities of leadership imbibed from Guru Gobind Singh inspired the Sikhs to meet state Terrorism and waves of persecution of the Sikhs in Punjab and Delhi. They maintained contacts with colonies of Sikh community living as far as kabul, and pakpattan in the west and patna and Dance in the East, through Encyclical letters (Hukamnama) in which the names of all prominent Sikhs are given. They also issued Hukamnamas condeemning the cults and sects whose leader were being being projected as eleventh guru of the Sikhs, pointing out that the Guru Granth ji was the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs and no human being could set himself as successor of Guru Gobind singh. The Holy Mother were protected and guided by eminent contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh.

For some years Mata Sundari (sundar Kaur) and Mata Sahib Devan(Sahib Kaur) stayes in kucha Dilwali Singhan near Ajmeri Gate. The residence of the Holy Mother was known as Matya Mahal (Holy Mother’s Palace). During the critical period of June 1725 the Holy Mother moved to Mathura for two years. From 1727 onwards the Holy Mothers stayed in newly constructed building, then called Mata Sundari’s Haveli and now called Mata sundari’s Gurudwara. Here the Holy Mother stayed to the end of their lives. They were source of great moral and spiritual strength to the Sikhs who carried a relentless armed struggle against the Mughals. During their life time, Golden Temple complex was desecrated for the first time by Lakhpat rai the Hindu Diwan of Lahore rulers. Some of the great contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh suffered martyrdom defending it in April 1734 A.D. The Holy Mother preserver some of the most precious relics of Guru Gobind Singh, and under their supervision the works of Guru Gobind Singh were collected and compiled. Mata sundari(sundar kaur) passed away sometime in the year 1736 while Mata Sahib Devan (Sahib kaur) departed from this world in 1738 A.D. They were cremated near the Bala Sahib shrine where Guru Hai Krishan had been cremated.