Historical Sikh Shrines

Historical Sikh Shrines

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Item Code: IDK309
Author: Gurmukh Singh
Publisher: Singh Brothers, Amritsar
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8172051514
Pages: 374 (48 Color Illus:, 3 Color Maps:)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
From the Jacket

Sikh Gurus were great travelers, preachers and organizers. Wherever they went they advised their followers to organize themselves in sangats and to build dharamsals for congregational prayers. Sikh chronicles record places consecrated by the Gurus with their presence. Bhai Gurdas sang about dharamsal in every (Sikh) home. Some of them were perhaps lost in the vicissitudes of history, but many survived and became places of pilgrimage for the devotees. More or less comprehensive lists of them that appeared during the Singh Sabha period are all in Punjabi and list the shrines under each Guru to whom they are respectively related. The present work listing them regionwise is intended to serve the twin objects of reaching the English knowing non-Punjabi public and of being useful to prospective pilgrims and visitors in planning their itineraries for all shrines in one or the other particular region. Some maps and pictures provide additional help. Efforts have also been made to update the account in the light of fresh researches.

About the Author

Since his retirement from the Army Educational Corps in 1976 after 36-year long service, Major Gurmukh Singh has been working on the editorial staff of Encyclopaedia of Sikhism under preparation at the Punjabi University, Patiala with Professor Harbans Singh as its Editor-in-Chief. The author's initial assignment was to personally visit and survey historical Gurdwaras all over the country.


These lines translated from hymns composed by Guru Ram Das, Nanak IV, point to the origin and growth of historical, holy Sikh shrines.

The Sikh Gurus were, by and large, great travelers and great builders. The places they visited and towns they founded, became sacred places of pilgrimage for the Sikhs, who raised structures, more or less permanent or spacious according to their needs and means. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, the most widely traveled of the Gurus, had advised his followers wherever he went, to form themselves into sangats and build dharmsals where they should congregate for prayers and for deliberation over matters of common religious and social concern. These dharmsals (lit. religious places) which later came to be called Gurdwaras (lit. Guru's door or threshold) were as widely spread as were the peregrinations of the Gurus. The places they were located at, were recorded by authors of places they were located at, were recorded by authors of Janamsakhis, Gur-bilases and other chronicles. Not all the places sanctified by the Gurus were perhaps recorded, and sangats and dharmsals could not have been established at many of the recorded ones. Even some of those established became extinct under the pressure of vicissitudes of Sikh history or for extinct under the pressure of vicissitudes of Sikh history or for reasons of lack of communication with the source or predominance of unsympathetic or hostile local response. Yet many survived, and some among them flourished and became prominent. Systematic research and listing of historical Sikh shrines was taken up in the latter part of the nineteenth century by some tireless travelers and scholars such as Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, Giani Gian Singh and Giani Thakar Singh. Their lists accompanied by brief historical account of each shrine, more or less elaborate, serve as a source of historical knowledge and as guides for interested travelers and devout pilgrims. But Gurdwaras therein are arranged under respective Gurus, and it cannot conveniently be known whether a certain Gurdwara is having in its neighbourhood others related to other Gurus. Moreover, these inventories have now become rare books with no fresh editions readily available in the market. The alphabetical arrangement in Bhai Kahn Singh's Guru Shabad Ratnakar suffers from the same difficulty of knowing about shrines located in a particular region. The present work has, therefore, been taken in hand with two objects in mind. One, a region-wise listing to enable intending pilgrims to know about all historical Gurdwaras situated in the same general area, which would facilitate the planning of their respective itineraries. Secondly, this book would be useful to English-knowing travelers who may be interested in visiting historical Sikh shrines or in carrying out research in Sikh history. Besides, effort has been made to updated the account in the light of fresh researches.

The list is primarily based on the aforesaid sources. Several new Gurdwaras have come up lately, some established by local sangats, others by religious luminaries, named after one or the other Guru or some notable historical figure, and claimed to be historical. As the authenticity of such claims is hard to establish, they have generally been omitted, except in a few cases where such Gurdwaras have earned renown by popular acceptance of their historicity.

Hagiographical and poetic nature of our original sources, loaded heavily with symbolism, imagery and other literary embellishments, coupled with human weakness for the strange and the miraculous, and the force of tradition, have made it difficult to sift history from legend and myth not wholly palatable to modern mind. It has been my endeavour to circumvent such elements and to keep closer to rationalistic approach, which, incidently, is one of the distinctive features of Sikhsim. Yet it must be borne in mind that popular lore and tradition is a legitimate, even though secondary, source of history. Secondly, Sikh religion has its own share of mysticism without which it is as hard to fully grasp the existential reality as to comprehend the Ultimate Reality.

Three brief Chapters-Sikhism, Guru Gurdwara-precede the write ups on the shrines. They are intended to provide introductory information considered necessary to rightly understand the place and importance of historical Gurdwaras for the followers of the faith.

My grateful thanks are due to Messrs Singh Brothers, the publishers, who first conceived and proposed this project, and to Dr. Jodh Singh, who encouraged, guided and assisted me in the planning and preparation of this volume. I must also acknowledge my debt to authors whose books, given in bibliography, I have consulted.


(Historical Sikh Shrines in Foreign Lands)
4Pakistan 51
7Bangla Desh75
(Historical Sikh Shrines in India)
8Jammu and Kashmir81
9Himachal Pradesh84
13Uttar Pradesh313
16West Bengal336
19Madhya Pradesh343
1 Maps:Pakistan and North-West India357
West Asia358
Punjab and Haryana359
Uttar Pradesh360
Central India361
East India and Bangla Desh362
2. Bibliography363
3. Index367
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