Gurdwaras
in Pakistan

Sikhism, though today is a very small minority religion in Pakistan, has many cultural, historical and political ties to the country, and to the historical region of Punjab.

Sikhs come from across the world to visit several holy sites in Punjab, including the shrine of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at Hassan Abdal in the Attock District, and his birthplace, at Nankana Sahib.

Overview

The Historical Gurdwaras located in Pakistan are an essential part of Sikhism and form an important part of the history of Sikhism. In fact the Sikh religion was founded in the part of the world which is now called Pakistan. The Punjab was divided only in 1947 when the separate nations of India and Pakistan were formed. Prior to this period, the whole of the area covered by the two countries was one nation.

A significant part of Sikh history is linked to places that are now in Pakistan including the village Nankana Sahib where Guru Nanak Dev the founder of Sikh was born. The following is a brief list of the important places that are linked to Sikh history

Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib

Gurdwara Janam Asthaan, the shrine representing the home of Mehta Kalyan Dass and Mata Tripta, father and mother respectively of Guru Nanak Dev, where the Guru was born, was established by Baba Dharam Chand (1523-1618) son of Baba Lakhmi Das and grandson of Guru Nanak Dev.

The shrine must have been established before the end of the sixteenth century because Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606) is believed to have visited it. The present Gurdwara, built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, includes a domed sanctum with an attached rectangular pavilion, surrounded by a vast walled compound. 

Gurdwara Patti Sahib, Nankana Sahib

Gurdwara Patti Sahib also called Gurdwara Maulvi Patti Likhi (‘Patti’ means a wooden board on which children learn to write alphabets with a pen made of a soft stem. The board could be washed after the lesson and would be given another coating of soft light clay and is re-used) is located at the site where young Guru Nanak learned the various different languages mainly Persian and Arabic which were then used in the Punjab, each with its own distinct alphabet.

This sacred shrine lies midway between Gurdwara Janam Asthan and Gurdwara Bal Lilah along the road leading from Janam Asthan to the railway station in Nankana Sahib. The city has been renamed after its most famous native son Guru Nanak. Once known as the village of Talwandi the town is located in West PunjabPakistan

The shrine must have been established before the end of the sixteenth century because Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606) is believed to have visited it. The present Gurdwara, built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, includes a domed sanctum with an attached rectangular pavilion, surrounded by a vast walled compound.

Gurdwara Bal Lila, Nankana Sahib

Gurdwara Bal Lila is located in Nankana Sahib in present day Pakistan. The town is named after Guru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder of the Sikh faith. Guru Nanak was born in this town on Baisakh sudi 3, 1526 Bk/ 15 April 1469.

About 300 metres south-east of Gurdwara Janam Asthan, marks the field where Guru Nanak used to play in the company of other children. As is apparent from the name, this site is related with the wonderful adventure of the early childhood of the Guru. The Guru in his infancy, used to transport the enlightenment of the Naam (God’s name) to the minds of his friends, while playing with them. 

Gurdwara Kiara Sahib, Nankana Sahib

Gurudwara Kiara Sahib is situated at a distance of one and a half kilometres from Gurdwara Janam Asthan. According to Janam Sakhi, when Guru Nanak was yet a young man, he was sent to graze cattle. While resting underneath a shady tree, Guru was immersed in thoughts and the cattle went astray in the fields of a farmer.

On having seen this, the farmer got red with rage. The clamouring made by the peasent disturbed the young Nanak waking him from his trance. Recognizing the the son of the village’s patwari, he made a complaint to Rai Bular who went with the farmer to see the damage. But on getting to the field that had been trampled everyone was surprised to fine no damage at all.

Gurdwara Tambu, Nankana Sahib

A wild tree stands at this place. It is so old that its long branches touch the ground. It is a bit high at the centre. According to a Sikh legend, Guru Nanak rested for a while at this place, after returning from Chuharakana, performing the true business. The Guru had fed the hungry Sadhus with a sum of Rs. 20 /- obtained from his father. On knowing this, Mehta kalu first felt annoyed with his son and afterwards brought him home. On admonishing the son, the father recieved a reply that he had spent his money in the true business. On hearing of this incident, Rai Bular pleaded before Mehta Kalu by saying “Patwari Ji ! lest you chide the boy, let me make it clear to you that the whole city is blessed by his grace and presence”. This Shrine is situated at a distance of one kilometre from Gurdwara Janam Asthan. Pilgrims feel it their proud privilege to pay their homage.

Gurdwara Panjvin & Chhevin Patshahi,Nankana Sahib

Both of these historical shrines are situated near Tambo Sahib on the road leading towards Janamasthan Nankana Sahib. The shrine of Sat Gur Arjun Dev Ji is without a dome whereas the sacred shrine of the Patshah of meeri peeri Guru Hargobind has been built with dome and both the shrines have a common boundary wall. The sixth Patshah came to visit Nankana Sahib in the month of Har Samvat 1670 (1613 AD) while returning from Kashmir. The Guru’s disciples established this Gur Mela at the site where he had stayed, 13 ghumaon of land is said to be endowed to the Gurdham. The tree under which Guru Dev Ji stayed, has withered away. A piece of that tree has been preserved in a glass case and placed inside the dome of the shrine of the 6th Guru so that the visiting Sangats may see it. Here too Prakash does not take place, only the buildings stand which the yatrees visit and get solace.

Gurdwara Mal Ji, Nankana Sahib

Gurdwara Mal ji sahib is in Nankana SahibPakistan and near the local railway station but closer to this famous town associated with the founder of SikhiGuru Nanak. Mal (also called jal and van) is a shady tree.

It is said that once as Rai Bular was riding among the fields in this area, he saw young Nanak sleeping in the shade of a mal tree. What struck Rai Bular was that the shade of the tree had not moved away from the sleeper as the movement and position of the sun warranted.

According to another version, the shade had moved away from the Guru but a large cobra had spread its huge hood over his face so that his sleep was not interrupted. This miracle and the incident related to Kiara Sahib convinced Rai Bular of the spiritual eminence of Guru Nanak Dev whose devotee he became. 

Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore

Gurdwara Dehra Sahib is situated opposite the Royal Mosque or Shahi Masjid. At the place where after many days of torture, the fifth Guru dissapeared into the River Ravi, after his guards allowed Guru Arjan to take a bath to cool his many burns. In those days, the Ravi flowed along the wall of the fort. The Guru’s light rejoined the light eternal on 30th May, 1606.

His son Guru Hargobind visited the site of his father’s torture in 1619 when he had a memorial rostrum built to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan. Later Maharaja Ranjit Singh had a small but beautiful Gurdwara built here. As the Maharaja’s Gurdwara had no congregational hall one was attached to Gurdwara in 1909, after which daily congregations were regularly held. After that a sarai (rooms for visitors) and a marble gate was erected along with a Nishan Sahib (flag post).  

Gurdwara Guru Ram Das, Lahore

This is that holy historical place where Guru Ram Das was born on 24th September, 1534 (25 Asuj, Samwat 1591) to Sodhi Hardas Ji and Mata Daya Kaur. The Satguru spent first 7 years of his life here. This place is situated inside Delhi Darwaza, near Purani Kotwali Chowk in Chuni Mandi.

The ancestral house of the Guru was small in size, so Maharani Nakain requested to Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the time of birth of Kanwar Kharak Singh, for permission to rebuild this historical place a new. As a result of this, the Maharaja purchased the surrounding buildings from the Qazis and got a Gurdwara of dimensions 122′-6×97′-6 built which was some what similar to the Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar. On the west is an open yard and Nishan Sahib is fixed on the South-West corner.

Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Eminabad

Gurdwara Rori Sahib is located 2 kilometres south-east of present-day Eminabad and one and a half kilometre north-west of the centre of the village called Talab. Eminabad, an old town is about 55 kilometres north of Lahore and 15 kilometres south of Gujranwala and is a famous town of Gujranwala district in West PanjabPakistan. It is linked to Grand Trunk Road and Eminabad railway station by four-kilometres stretch of metalled road. This area has three important historical shrines of the Sikhs – Gurdwara Rori SahibGurdwara Chakki Sahib and Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo

Gurdwara Chaki Sahib, Eminabad

Gurdwara Chakki Sahib, at Eminabad is located where a large millstone was kept which was once used by Guru Nanak. In the Janamsakhis, it is mentioned that Guru Nanak Dev was taken as a prisoner along with thousands of his fellow countrymen by Babar’s men.

Baba ji was, along with many of his fellow prisoners, forced to grind corn with hand-driven chakkis (millstones). His captors were surprised to see that the millstone used by Guru Nanak was turning, by itself, while Baba ji was simply pouring grist into the opening in the stone as he sang songs to the Glory of One God.  

Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo, Eminabad

Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo JiBhai Lalo was a carpenter living at Eminabad during the 1500’s. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder Guru of the Sikhs stayed with him on several occasions. Bhai Lalo’s house became a dharmsal (a place where dharam is taught and learnt), meeting place for local followers of the Guru, and was later developed into Gurdwara which was named after a “khuhi” (narrow well) which existed even when the old house had crumbled.

Bhai Lalo, a resident of Saidpur (Eminabad), was a carpenter of Getaura caste. Guru Nanak stayed at his house when came he to Eminabad in about the early 1500’s. It is the place where the Guru composed the following bani (hymns) in Tilang raag

Gurdwara Bair Sahib, Eminabad
When Guru Nanak Dev Ji reached Sialkot via Jammu he found the whole city in the grip of terror. Guru Dev Ji inquired and learnt that someone had failed to keep his promise made to a great saint called Hazrat Hamza Ghaus. He had flown into a rage and made a vow to meditate for 40 days and at the completion of his meditation the whole city would be doomed. Hearing this Sat Gur sat down under a Bair tree close to the place where Hazrat Hamza was meditating and sang his verse in a loud tone. It disturbed the maditation of Hamza Ji, who came to Guru Nanak and angrily asked who he was and why he wanted to save those liars. Guru Ji replied “Hamza, you are not supposed to punish a whole city for the misconduct of a single person.” Hamza Ji was not satisfied. Guru Ji then explained to him that there were many souls. in the city who understood the purpose of life. Guru Ji gave two paisas to Bhai Mardana to buy “falsehood” and “truth” from the market. Some people ridiculed Mardana Ji but there was a Karar (a Hindu sect) named Maula who took two paisas and wrote two chits. On one chit he wrote, “Life is bitter” while on the other chit he wrote, “Death is truth”. Bhai Mardana presented both the chits to Sat Gur Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Ji handed over the two pieces of paper to Hamza Ghaus Ji who after reading the same, pardoned the residents of Sialkot.
Gurdwara Bair Sahib, Eminabad
When Guru Nanak Dev Ji reached Sialkot via Jammu he found the whole city in the grip of terror. Guru Dev Ji inquired and learnt that someone had failed to keep his promise made to a great saint called Hazrat Hamza Ghaus. He had flown into a rage and made a vow to meditate for 40 days and at the completion of his meditation the whole city would be doomed. Hearing this Sat Gur sat down under a Bair tree close to the place where Hazrat Hamza was meditating and sang his verse in a loud tone. It disturbed the maditation of Hamza Ji, who came to Guru Nanak and angrily asked who he was and why he wanted to save those liars. Guru Ji replied “Hamza, you are not supposed to punish a whole city for the misconduct of a single person.” Hamza Ji was not satisfied. Guru Ji then explained to him that there were many souls. in the city who understood the purpose of life. Guru Ji gave two paisas to Bhai Mardana to buy “falsehood” and “truth” from the market. Some people ridiculed Mardana Ji but there was a Karar (a Hindu sect) named Maula who took two paisas and wrote two chits. On one chit he wrote, “Life is bitter” while on the other chit he wrote, “Death is truth”. Bhai Mardana presented both the chits to Sat Gur Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Ji handed over the two pieces of paper to Hamza Ghaus Ji who after reading the same, pardoned the residents of Sialkot.
Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal

Gurdwara Panja Sahib is situated at Hasan Abdal, 48 km from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. This is one of the most holy places of Sikhism because it marks the spot where the founder of the faith, Guru Nanak Dev visited and instilled an important lesson for his adherents. Still visible is the sacred rock with the hand print of Guru Nanak.

Many thousands of faithful Sikhs from all over the globe visit this shrine. However, twice a year, during special celebrations, an enormous number of Sikh pilgrims attend this Gurdwara from every corner of the world. Special visas are allocated by the Pakistan government to cater for the increased demand.

The word “Panja” in Punjabi means an “outstretched palm” from the word “panj” which means “five”.

Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Farooq Abad

Gurdwara Sachcha Sauda is situated at a distance of 37 miles from Lahore on the Lahore-Lyallpur Railway Line.

Guru Nanak as a young man was sent by his father Mehta Kalu, who was hoping to instill a sense of business in his son, to buy some goods which he cold return home with, then sell and make a profit.

At least that was Mehta Kalu’s plan but along the way to his destination, the young Nanak came across some sadhus who were hungry and without food. The Guru to be decided to use the sum his father had given him (a sum of Rs. 20) with which to provide a meal, a langar for the Sadhus. Returning home without any purchases Mehta Kalu was very annoyed. But young Nanak explained to his father that as he saw it he had done a very good deed, feeding the starving Sadhus, and gaining the best profit one could gain from the money. It would not be the last time that Mehta Kalu would worry over his son.

On the spot where Guru Nanak Dev fed the sadhus, now stands a magnificent Gurdwara that was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, on the pattern of a fortress. The building of the Gurdwara is very beautiful. The very impression of the Darshani Deorhi attracts the congregations. In the beginning, the service of the Gurdwara was in the hands of Udasis.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, Narowal

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is located in town by the same name Kartarpur (Ravi) in Pakistan. The nearest town on the Indian side of the border is Dera Baba Nanak [1Km. from Border] in the district of Gurdaspur. The shrine is located about 3 kms from the Indo-Pakistan border.

The original abode established by Guru Nanak was washed away by floods of the river Ravi and the present Gurudwara was established by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Recently, there has been lobbying to open the corridor for Sikhs from India to visit the shrine without any hindrance or visa. It lies only 3km from the border.

When Guru Nanak departed for his heavenly abode, Hindus and Muslims disagreed on how to perform the last rites. The Hindus as per their tradition wanted to carry out a cremation while the Muslims wanted to carry out a burial. A samadh (Hindu tradition) lies in the Gurdwara and a grave (according to Muslim traditions) lies on the premises as a reminder of this discord.

The gurdwara is located next to a small village named Kothay Pind (village) on the West bank of the Ravi River in Punjab, Pakistan. The Gurudwara at Kartarpur can be seen from another Gurudwara located across the border at the historical town of Dera Baba Nanak in India (It is not Daara, as so many people wrongly call it. Dehra is derived from the word Deh or body). Both sites are one of the holiest places in Sikhism located in the Majha region. Recently, there has been lobbying to open the corridor for Sikhs from India to visit the shrine without any hindrance or visa. It lies only 3 km from the border.

Gurdwara Bhai Joga Sing, Peshawar

This Gurdwara is situated in Jogan Shah locality of Namakmandi of Peshawar City where Sangat of Peshawar is held in the morning and evening and Parakash of Granth Sahib takes place.

Joga was the son of Bhai Gurmukh Singh of Peshawar who was converted to Sikhism by tasting Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Sahib took Bhai Joga as his godson and always kept him in his presence. At the request of Bhai Gurmukh Guru Gobind Singh allowed him to go to Peshawar for his marriage but to test his devotion, Guru Gobind Singh ordered another disciple to follow him. Guru Dev Ji gave him a proclamation which was to be delivered to Joga after “lawan” (Sikh rite of marriage). The note’ said: “Once you see this note, proceed to Anand Pur at once.” The currier did accordingly and delivered the note while he was performing Lawan. Joga Singh abruptly left without even completing his Lawan. The marriage rites were completed by giving the remaining Lawan to his belt. On the way this thought entered his mind that there could hardly be any other being who would submit before the will of Guru Gobind Singh like him. When he reached Hoshiarpur he was overwhelmed with lust when he saw the beauty of a prostitute and reached her pleasure hall. Kalghidhar disguised himself as a mace-bearer and started guarding the house of the prostitute to save his devotee from hell. Joga Singh tried to enter the house four times during the night but had to turn back as he ran into the mace-bearer every time. He set out for Anandpur. He sought forgiveness for his folly when reached the court of the Guru. The Gurdwara is constructed as a beautiful 3- storeyed building. Prakash of Guru Granth Sahib takes place and local and foreign sangats meet daily. There is a Punjabi school for Sikh children which imparts secular education alongwith the religious education.

Gurdwara Gurhatri, Peshawar
This historical shrine is located in Mohalla (locality) Ganj of Peshawar city. It is also known as Gurhatri and Dharamsala Baba Sri Chand. According to the older biographies Guru Nanak Ji, came here during his fifth itinerary. A Muslim leather merchant named Abdur Rehrnan presented Sat Gur with a pair of shoes. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was very pleased and in return give him his old pair of shoes. It remained with his family for the next four generations. Then Rahim Khan took it to Hoti Mardan and left it in charge custody of Sardar Sant Mota Singh and then never came back. He gave this sacred pair of shoes to his friend Manna Singh. His adopted son Bhai Natha kept it with love and devotion. In 1934 AD it was present in the house of a friend named Gur Bukhsh Singh. Baba Sri Chand built a Dharamsala over the site of the Abdur Rehman’s shop which came to be called Guru Hatri and Dharamsala Baba Sri Chand. Only one door of the sacred place is standing, the remaining building was demolished and had been reconstructed. It now houses a girls school.