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Guru Di Maseet

Guru Ki Maseet or the mosque of the Guru is situated in Sri Hargobindpur town. Sri Hargobindpur, a municipal council in the Gurdaspur district is located along the banks of the river Beas. A small peaceful town, Sri Hargobindpur was once the capital of the Ramgarhia Misl, an Indo-Aryan tribe belonging to Punjab region. Situated at a distance of roughly 45 km from Gurdaspur city, the town was founded by the Sikhs in the year 1595 and named Hargobindpur after the birth of fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev’s son Hargobind in the same year.

Historical Significance

This land became an area of dispute between the Sikhs and the local money lenders. In the year 1621, a conflict arose between a money lender by the name Bhagwan Das Khatri and the Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji. Bhagwan Das Khatri was opposed to the construction of a building that Guru Hargobind wanted to raise upon a stretch of barren land. Consequently, he attacked Guru Hargobind’s camp leading a bunch of hooligans. Bhagwan Das was killed in the fight that ensued and his two sons Ratan Chand and Karam Chand approached the Faujdar of Jalandhar, Abdul Khan for assistance.

A battle was fought for two days on the banks of the River Beas along Rohila Ghat between a large contingent of troops sent in by Abdul Khan and Guru Hargobind Ji. Many soldiers from the Mughal army, including five important generals and the son of the Faujdar of Jalandhar were killed in the battle. Guru Hargobind and his army won, despite suffering grievous losses.

Having returned victorious, Guru Hargobind started the construction of a new town. He built a mosque – known as Guru Ki Maseet, a dharamshala, and walls and gates to fortify the new town. One of these gates is still intact.

Guru Ki Maseet

After the battle with the Mughals, Guru Hargobind decided to stay at the town for a while and a settlement formed in Sri Hargobindpur. Fortifications that were built during this period were so strong and durable that many of these walls and gates can still be seen throughout the town. The settlement came to be a safe and secular home from people of all faiths. The Sikhs constructed a Gurudwara for themselves. However, the Muslim minority did not have the capacity to build a mosque in the same manner.

Guru Hargobind, who saw the Muslim faqirs in the same light of respect as he saw Hindu Sadhus and his Sikh followers, ordered the Sikhs to start the construction of a mosque or masjid for the Muslims. This masjid was handed over to the Muslims upon completion in keeping with the Guru’s wishes.

Dating back to the early decades of the 17th century, the mosque fell into a state of neglect and disrepair in the post partition era as the Muslims of the area migrated to Pakistan. Eventually, the mosque came into the ownership of a community of Nihang Singhs who installed Shri Guru Granth Sahib in the building. This building was maintained by the same group of Nihang in the year 2003, when through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Baba Kirtan Singh, the building was re-established as a mosque. In a unique manifestation of unity in diversity of religions in our nation, the Sikhs and Muslims came together to repair the building and set up a place of worship where the Muslims could offer their prayers again, as per the wishes of Baba Kirtan Singh.

Guru Ki Maseet is a unique structure that is a true manifestation of the coming together of “piri” and “miri”, that is, spiritual and temporal authorities that Guru Hargobind Ji had preached in his lifetime. The mosque where Muslims still offer prayers also holds five trees dedicated to the memory of the five Sikh Gurus. Karsewaks from all over the state answered to the call of the Sikh leaders to help in the repair work for the site and the structure has now been recognised by the UNESCO as a historical site.

How to Reach The City

The nearest major railway station is in Gurdaspur, from where Sri Hargobindpur can be reached by road. The distance from Gurdaspur is approximately 45 kilometres. The nearest airport is at Amritsar. Sri Hargobindpur is a popular pilgrimage among both Muslims and Sikhs.

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