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The Gurdwara (The Sikh Temple)
The Gurdwara (The Sikh Temple)

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Gurdwara (The Sikh Temple):

Notes on some Sikh Temples

Notes on some Sikh Temples: The Golden Temple

Sri Harmandir Sahib
The Golden Temple. In 1577, Guru Ram Das asked his Sikhs to excavate a spacious pool at a place in a jungle and later he founded the city of Ramdas Pur (after his name). The city is now called Amritsar (Pool of immortality). Guru Arjan later completed the brick work on the pool and built the Golden Temple in the middle of the pool. Maharaja Ranjit Singh roofed the Temple with gilded sheets of copper and thus the Temple previously called Harimandir (The House of God) also came to be called 'The Golden Temple.' The Sikhs also call it Darbar Sahib (The Guru's court) in reverence. The Holy Granth is read day and night in the Temple by a relay of Granthis (readers). Over the Deodhi (gateway to the Temple) is a treasury where lie four sets of gold doors, jewelled canopies and umbrellas and the golden spades used to dig the holy pool while the foundation was laid. Many other precious relics can also be seen.

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Notes on some Sikh Temples: The Akal Takhat

Sri Akal Takht Sahib
The Akal Takhat faces the Golden Temple and is opposite to the Golden Temple gateway. It was built by Guru Hargobind. This has been the seat of political and religious conferences of the Sikhs and all important decisions (Gurmattas) are taken here. It houses the weapons and relics of the last five Gurus and is one of the seats of authority of the Sikhs.

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Notes on some Sikh Temples: Anand Pur

Sri Anandpur Sahib
This temple was once a fortress built by Guru Gobind Singh and lies at the foot of the Himalayas in a valley. The main part of this temple is the Keshgarh, where Guru Gobind Singh instituted the Khalsa. Many of the Guru's weapons can still be seen in this temple.

In the fortress is a well (Baoli) with 150 steps leading down to the water. Near here is the Sisganj where the head of the ninth Guru was cremated after it had been brought from Delhi by a faithful Sikh.

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Notes on some Sikh Temples: Hazur Sahib

Sri Hazur Sahib
This temple was constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh at a place where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs ascended to heaven in 1708. It is in Nander (Deccan) near the river Godavari. In its Toshakhana (treasury) can be seen the weapons, jewellery, clothes, canopies and a small dagger and gold tipped arrows of the Guru. Ever since the departure of the Guru to his heavenly abode the Sikhs have kept a horse in the Guru's stable like the one used by the Guru when he was alive. A bluish white horse can still be seen there. A procession with the horse is taken out on the special days commemorating the events in the Guru's life.

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Notes on some Sikh Temples: Nankana Sahib

Sri Nankana Sahib
This temple is situated at a distance of 55 miles west of Lahore (Pakistan). This is where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion was born and had spent his early days. There are many other Gurudwaras in Nanakana Sahib commemorating various events of the Guru's life. In an under- ground cellar of the Janam Asthan (birth place) lie the bones of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to free the Gurudwaras from a corrupt priest Narian Das in 1921. Some of the crusaders were cut limb by limb, others were burnt alive and their leader was tied to a Jand tree with his feet up and head downwards and was roasted in that position by lighting fire beneath him. The half burnt Jand tree still survives to tell the woeful tale.

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The management of the Gurudwaras rests in the hands of an elected Committee. The members of the Committee are elected out of the Sangat, and all adult Sikhs, whether male or female, have the right to vote. Women are also elected to the Committees and have equal rights. The election of the historic Sikh Temples in India usually takes place every four years under Government supervision. In England each Sikh Temple has its own constitution and more or less the same method of election and management. Elections in England usually take place annually.
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