Jammu & Kashmir is quite close to the Sikh dominated states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Many years ago, lots of Sikhs migrated from these states to settle down in Jammu & Kashmir due to their businesses. The state slowly started becoming a hub of Sikh population, which explains the large number of Gurudwaras set up here. Many of the holy Sikh Gurus have visited these places and made it all the more special and sacred for the devotees. Almost every major district of the state contains more than one Gurudwara. Let us now look at some of the famous Gurudwaras of the state and a brief history of each.
Gurudwara Manji Sahib at Srinagar
This is a beautiful Gurudwara located in Srinagar. The history of this place dates back to around 1620AD, when one of the ten Sikh Gurus, Guru Hargobind Singh came to Srinagar. Manji refers to a place where the Sikh objectives are fulfilled. During this time, this Gurudwara’s caretaker was Sewa Das. His mother, Mai Bhagbhari was an ardent devotee of the Guru. She had knitted a dress for the Guru with her own hands and her only wish was that the Guru should wear that dress in front of her eyes. It was the single-minded devotion of the old lady that attracted the Guru to come to Srinagar.
Once he visited the place, he blessed all the devotees who came to seek his blessings. When he met Mai Bhagbhari, he asked her to bring the dress that she had knitted for her. Brimming with joy and devotion, the old lady gave the dress to the Guru, which he wore in front of her and made her happy. All the three months that the Guru stayed here, he blessed all his devotees, spread the good message of helping the poor and gave out other wonderful preachings. The old lady passed away with a contented heart and the Guru left Srinagar only after ensuring that her last rites were performed as per religious traditions.
Gurudwara Mattan Sahib at Srinagar
This is a Gurudwara that was constructed in the memory of the first and the most sacred Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. During his missionary tour in the year 1516, the Guru came to Mattan in the valley of Srinagar and resided in this place for a while. During this time, one Brahmin named Pandit Brahmdas came to visit the Guru and he boasted about his knowledge of books and claimed that he was the most learned person on earth. Hearing this, the Guru recited a simple poem to him, telling that apart from the truth of the Gods’ name, all other knowledge is just about man’s ego and that it was not permanent. The Brahmin realised his mistake and it is believed that from that moment onwards, he converted to Sikhism religion and went on to construct this Gurudwara. Even today, apart from Sikhs, many Kashmiri Brahmins come to this place for offering their prayers.
Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi at Singhpura Village
Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi, also known as Thara Sahib, is located in the Singhpura village, close to Baramulla district. This was constructed in memory of the occasion when of theSikh Gurus, Guru Hargobind Singh visited the village. Initially, this was a very humble structure of just an elevated platform made of mud. Renovation to this structure was done only during the 1930s due to the sincere efforts of an ardent Sikh, Bhai Vir Singh. He constructed a veranda around the area of the building and he constructed the main building itself which stands today in the shape of a dome square.
Gurudwara Bahu Fort
This Gurudwara is one of the most easily accessible Gurudwaras in the state, because it is just at one km distance from the railway station of Jammu and about 5km from the main city of Jammu. The Gurudwara here has constructed in the memory of an ardent Sikh devotee, Mahant Bachiter Singh, who belonged to Dera Nangali Sahib Poonch.
Gurudwara Sant Mela Singh Dastkari Ashram
Gurudwara Sant Mela Singh Dastkari Ashram was constructed with the sole purpose of spreading and propagating the goodness of Sikhism religion to the locals of Jammu. Children are trained on Sikh faith, weapon handling, martial arts, kirtan and slogan recitations etc. right from a very young age at this centre. Children from downtrodden families and orphans are given free education and food here. Today, this Gurudwara is one of the most popular places of worship in the state, because children who received training here are today renowned Kirtani Jathas or Granthis in Gurudwaras located all over the globe.
This Gurudwara was constructed in memory of the 4th Mahant of the Dera, Sant Mela Singh Ji, by the 12th Mahant of Nangali Sahib Poonch Gurudwara, Mahant Bachiter Singh. During 2007, Mahant Manjit Singh, who is the present Mahant, organised for a Gurmat Amrit Sanchar function at this Gurudwara. This was attended by a whopping 12000 Sikhs who were baptised here.
Gurudwara Tapo Asthan Sant Baba Sunder Singh Ji Alibegh
This is a very scenic Gurudwara located on the shores of Chenab River. Construction of this place of worship was done by the Jammu Sikh Sangat in memory of one of the Sikh Sants who meditated on this area. Even today, Sikhs from all over the country, come here to meditate due to the tranquillity of the place.
Gurudwara Guru Nanak Dev
This is probably the most beautiful and elegant Gurudwaras in Jammu. This is located in the busy market complex of Mubarak Mandi. Thousands of Sikhs flock to this place to offer their prayers to Guru Nanak every day. The most striking feature of this Gurudwara is its elegant architecture made out of intrinsic carvings of precious and semi-precious stones. This Gurudwara was constructed in memory of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, who came to Jammu when he was travelling to Punjab.
Maharaja Pratap Singh, an ardent devotee of the Guru, installed a 3 feet statue of Guru Nanak in the premises of this Gurudwara. This statue made of striking white marble escaped all kinds of damage. Even when the Singh Sabha Movement was involved in the process of removing all statues from Gurudwaras, this statue was left untouched, as not many knew of the existence of beautiful statue. Many people who come here are spell bound by the beauty of the marble statue and the calmness in the eyes of the Guru. Today, this place occupies a prime spot in the face of the state’s pilgrim tourism department.
Gurudwara Maharani Chand Kaur
Until the year 2002, this place was called as Samadh Gurudwara, because it housed a small Gurudwara long with Maharani Chand Kaur’s Samadh. Maharani Chand Kaur was the wife of Kharak Singh Maharaja and the daughter in law of Ranjit Singh Maharaja. During 2002, Sikh Sangat Movement gave its consent to break the Samadh, after which, it was abolished. A bigger Gurudwara is now in its place serving the needs of the people who come here.
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