If you are looking to connect with your spiritual self this year, you are sure to find this article an interesting read. Here is a compilation of some of the most revered Sikh Gurudwaras and pilgrimage sites across India, which are worth exploring both, from the spiritual, as well as, tourism point of view.
The Sikh community in itself has a fabulous history, worth exploring. Learn about the historical significance behind the establishment of each of these Gurudwaras that welcome all with open doors, delicious langar, and even hospitable rooms to stay at.
Enjoy the positivity and the inner connect this year, as you visit some of these must-see places that tell the tales from Sikh History while still being relevant to the modern era in their preachings. The rich cultural essence of these Gurudwaras makes them apt for family trips, especially with kids.
Here are some of the top Sikh Pilgrimage sites that you must visit to explore this religion in greater depth.
1. Gurudwara Sri Harmandir Sahib, The Akal Takht, or The Golden Temple
Located at: Amritsar, Punjab
History: Guru Arjan Dev Ji laid the foundation of this shrine in the year 1588. He placed the Adi Granth in the shrine in the year 1604. However, it was Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who covered the upper floors of the shrine in Gold in the 19th century in order to protect the shrine. An act, that gave this Gurudwara its name. The four entrances to the temple symbolize that it is accepting of all people.
The Gurudwaras also has a lot of historical significance. Inside, you will find several souvenirs that commemorate important saints, events and even martyrs of the Sikh religion. There also are inscriptions that commemorate the Sikh soldiers who became martyrs in the World War I and II.
2. Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib
Located at: Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
History: The Hemkund Sahib is believed to be the ‘Tap’ Ashram or the place of Meditation of the Tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. In the 19th Century, the search for this pious spot began and Pandit Tara Singh Narotam finally discovered it in the year 1884.
The shrine is located at a height of over 4000 meters above sea level. The Gurudwara is star shaped to offer protection form the weather conditions that prevail. It is inaccessible between October and April. Several pilgrimages take place here each year in the month of May.
3. Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib
Located at: New Delhi
History: As a commemoration of the life of the eight Sikh Guru in Delhi, the Gurudwara was built between the 17th to 18th century. It was a bungalow where Guru Har Kishan stayed whilst in Delhi.
This is the most popular Gurudwara in Delhi. The water from the well in the Gurudwara is said to have healing powers. It is believed that Guru Har Kishan offered clean water to those suffering from cholera and chicken pox from this well to help them heal.
4. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib
Located at: Bhatinda, Punjab
History: The name Damdama means, “breathing place”. This is where Guru Gobind Singh came to rest after a battle.
The Gurudwara is highly revered because this is where Guru Gobind Singh Ji wrote the Bir in the Guru Granth Sahib. This is also, where he famously tested the Singhs for their faith. This place is known for its literary significance and people often come here with their children to seek the divine blessings for better academic performance.
5. Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji
Located at: Patna Bihar
History: Also known as the Patna Sahib, this shrine is highly revered as it stands in the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Maharaja Ranjit Singh constructed it in the year 1666.
The shrine has been visited by the two eminent Sikh Gurus, Guru Sri Nanak Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur. Located on the banks of Ganga, this shrine has devotees pouring in from all over the world every year.
6. Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchal
Located at: Nanded, Maharashtra
History: Also known as Nagar Sahib or Hazur Sahib, this is the site where Guru Gobind Singh Ji camped in the year 1708. This was shortly after he was attacked by to possible assassins. This is where the Guru breathed his last after the wounds from the attack reopened. He was cremated in the inner room of the shrine called the Angitha Sahib in the year 1708.
The biggest attraction in this Gurudwara is the laser music show that is held in the Gobind Bagh in the temple. This music show depicts the lives of all the ten Sigh gurus.
7. Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib
Located at: Leh, Jammu and Kashmir
History: This Gurudwara was built in the year 1517 when Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Ladakh. When the Guru was returning to Punjab after travelling to Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim, it is believed that he rested here for a short while.
The Lamas do not only revere by the Sikhs but this site as well. Legend has it that Guru Nanak Sahib protected the people from a wicked demon and came to be known as the Nanak Lama.
The stone that is worshipped here is believed to have been used by the demon to kill the Guru. However, when the boulder turned into a mound of wax, the demon surrendered and realized how powerless he was.
8. Gurudwara Sri Sis Ganj Sahib
Located at: Delhi
History: This shrine was built in the year 1783 to commemorate the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji after his martyrdom. It was built by Baghel Singh to mark the place where the Guru was beheaded on the orders of Aurangazeb, the Mughal Emperor, in the year 1675.
Located in the bustling Chandni Chowk area, you also have the option of trying out famous culinary delights from Delhi and shop from the old markets. This is one of the nine prime Gurudwaras in Delhi and popular Sikh Pilgrimage sites in India.
9. Gurudwara Sri Anandpur Sahib
Located at: Rupnagar district, Punjab
History: It is believed that Guru Gobind Singh Ji spent 25 years in this shrine, sharing his knowledge and teachings with his disciples. This place was named Anandpur or the “City of Bliss” as the devotees experienced complete tranquility and peace upon visiting this shrine.
Located between the Sutlej River and the Shivalik hills, the setting of the Gurudwara is also perfect to deliver calmness. The Gurudwara is also the birthplace of the revered Khalsa.
10. Gurudwara Sri Chamkaur Sahib
Located at: Rupnagar, Punjab
History: This shrine commemorates the famous Battle of Chamkaur between the Sikhs and the Mughals. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, with just 40 Sikh soldiers fought the Mughal Army from this small fortress.
He blessed his elder sons, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzaada Jujhaar Singh to fight the battle and lay their lives down if need be. The duo attained martyrdom along with 37 soldiers. A Sahidi Jormela is held each year at Chamkaur Sahib to commemorate the bravery of the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the soldiers.
11. Gurudwara Rewalsar
Located at: Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
History: This shrine is built in the honor of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is where he met the king of Mandi, Raja Sidd Sen.
In order to get to the place of worship, you first have to climb 108 stairs; considered a test for the devotees who want to get to the dome of the shrine. However, alternate routes are available. Located close to the Gurudwara is a Buddhist Monastery. Tourists visiting either place pay homage to the other as well.
12. Gurudwara Sri Goindwal Sahib
Located at: Tarn Taran, Punjab
History: This is believed to be the first ever, Sikh Pilgrimage site. During the time of Guru Amar Das Ji, it became one of the most revered sites for the Sikhs. It is located on the banks of the beautiful Beas River.
Devotees believe that taking a dip in the Baoli and then climbing the 84 steps up to the shrine, reciting the Japji Sahib is the route to salvation. This is also, where Guru Arjan Dev Ji was born.
13. Gurudwara Sri Nanak Jhira Sahib
Located at: Bidar, Karnataka
History: Legend has it that Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived here shortly at the outskirts of Mardana. The people here faced severe shortage of water. They were unable to find any water to drink. It is believed that the Guru removed some debris on the hill with his toe after which a fountain of sweet water gushed out.
The Gurudwara Nanak Jhira was built on the side of this very fountain and is one of the most popular Sikh pilgrimage sites. Devotees visit the shrine on three important days: Dusshera, Holi and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
14. Gurudwara Sri Manikaran Sahib
Located at: Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh
History: Legend has it that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited the place with his disciples, where the shrine is located in the year 1574. The locals donated flour for them to make rotis. However, when they found that there was no fire, he asked his disciple to simply lift a rock. A hot spring gushed from beneath and every roti that was set afloat was baked after his prayers.
Hindus and Sikhs visit this pilgrimage site after Kashi. It is believed that the pilgrimage is truly complete only after they have visited this area. The hot spring that still flows here is hot enough for the “langar” to be cooked in it.
15. Gurudwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib
Located at: Fatehgarh, Sirhind, Punjab
Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib is a complex consisting of several important shrines or Gurudwaras linked to Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s the younger Sahibzadas – Sahibzaada Fateh Singh and Sahibzaada Zorawar Singh and his mother Mata Gujri Ji. This place marks the sad site where at the behest of Wazir Khan of Kunjpura, the two children were bricked alive in a wall. The wall has been preserved in this Gurudwara.
Gurudwara Burj Mata Gujri and Gurudwara Shahid Ganj are also located in the main complex of Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib.