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Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur

A small yet important town, the Dera Baba Nanak sits in the district of Gurdaspur in Punjab. The town is located on the banks of Ravi River and is about 26 Km from Batala, 45 Km from Gurdaspur and 55 Km from Amritsar. The town holds a lot of religious importance for the Sikhs as it is associated with Guru Nanak Dev, the originator of Sikhism.

The town is home to the two most famous gurudwaras in the state, Dera Baba Nanak also known as Darbar Sahib and Sri Chola Sahib Gurudwara. The glittering dome of the Darbar Sahib is the first thing that people notice when they enter the town. Darbar Sahib was built in 1827 and stands with the same glory as when it was built. The golden dome is plated with real gold and has not been changed ever since its construction.


It is said that in 1515 Guru Nanak Dev visited Pakkhoke after a long journey. He rested nest to a well, belonging to Ajita Randhawa, the head of the village. The village was also the hometown of Mata Sulakhni, the Guru’s wife. The news of his presence in the village spread rapidly and devotees thronged to the place to get a glimpse of him and for his blessings. Family members and devotees urged him to stay permanently in the village but he selected a place near the banks of Ravi and named it Kartarpur. He lived at Kartarpur till his death. His remains were laid to rest in the area where a Samadhi was built. The shrine however was washed away during one of the floods.

Baba Sri Chand, the son of the Guru saved the urn which had his ashes and buried it again at the platform (tharra) near Ajita’s well. Gradually, a Samadhi was built in the area and later grandson of the Guru, Baba Dharam Das developed the town giving it the name Dera Baba Nanak.

Date of Construction

Dera Baba Nanak gurudwara was built in 1827 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He also contributed large amount of cash for upkeep of the gurudwara. The present structure of Darbar Sahib incorporates the well in the basement and many believe that the water from the well has healing powers.

Structure and Celebrations

The gurudwara is located in a bustling market area of the city but upon entering the gurudwara all the noise fades away and pilgrims get an instant feeling of calm and serenity. The Darbar Sahib is surrounded by huge lawns with evergreen shrubs.

The principal shrine is known as the Tharra Sahib. This is the place where the Guru sat and meditated when he arrived in the village. The gurudwara has a handwritten Guru Granth Sahib. The holy book sits in palanquin made of gold and a dome is placed above it. On the first floor is a huge hall for conducting marriages. There is a huge sarovar or water body next to the main monument. The water in the sarovar comes from the Ajita well. Flower beds can be seen circling the sarovar. Towards the left of the central gurudwara is the Kirtan Asthan. This is the site of kirtan performance by Guru Arjan Dev during his visit.

On every Amavasya, special divans are conducted in the gurudwara. There are several other special occasions observed in the gurudwara especially the death anniversary of the Guru. Festivities in the gurudwara during the Baisakhi celebrations are worth seeing. There is also an annual fair conducted during the Baisakhi celebrations.

Important Places Around Dera Baba Nanak

A little further from the Dera Baba Nanak Gurudwara are three gurudwaras built in a row. These gurudwaras are associated with an artefact of the Guru, a chola (robe). The chola was a gift when he went to Baghdad. The robe has verses from the Quran and Arabic digits inscribed on it. Baba Kabuli Mal built the Sri Chola Sahib. In 1828 he got the chola to the Dera Baba Nanak. There is also the Baba Kabuli Mal Samadhi inside the Sri Chola Sahib. However the chola is no longer housed in the Sri Chola Sahib but is kept in a gurudwara built of the successors of the Guru.

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