Saturday, March 02, 2013

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Sikh Temple, New Delhi, India

Hi and welcome. This is my last post from my visit to Delhi, India in December 2012. I revisited the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Sikh Temple

Major refurbishment works are taking place (December 2012) at the Gate to the temple, hence the scaffolding. It can serve as a useful resting place

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan

The pond inside its complex is known as the "Sarovar", whose water is considered holy by Sikhs and is known as "Amrit"

It was first built as a small temple by Sikh General, Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi in the same year

The grounds include the temple, a kitchen, a large pond, a school and an art gallery

At the Gurdwara, visitors are requested to cover their hair and not to wear shoes

The Gurdwara and its Sarovar (pond) are now a place of great reverence for Sikhs

The place where the Gurdwara now stands was once a splendid bungalow of Raja Jai Singh Amber of Jaipur

A small tank was constructed by Raja Jai Singh over the bungalow's well. Today, the faithful continue to come to the well and take its water home, as amrit, to cure their ailments. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee runs a hospital in the basement of the Gurudwara building and the Khalsa Girls School is located in the adjoining building. A tank 225 x 235 ft with 18 ft wide Parikarma and 12 ft wide varandah along its three sides has been constructed entirely with people's selfless contributions of funds and voluntary labour

Lots of pigeons!

Close up frontal shot of the Gurudwara

There's an interesting anecdote about the relevance of the holy water here. There was a smallpox and cholera epidemic in the city and Guru Har Krishan started giving fresh water from the well in this house to those who were suffering. Since then, Bangla Sahib's water is revered for its healing properties by Sikhs across the globe

For a first timer, here's a low-down on the goings-on at this place of worship. You enter barefoot with your head covered, bow down to the Granth Sahib resting in a gold palki and soak in the lilting sounds of Shabad Gurbani. To wrap up this beautiful experience, you gorge on a generous handful of karah parshad on your way to the sarovar (a large pond). Home to big and small, orange and green fish, this water body is said to act like a panacea for acne and other skin ailments. While many take a dip, others splash their faces and inevitably do a parikrama to complete their holy journey

During his stay in Delhi, the Guru spent most of his time in serving the humble, the sick and the destitutes for cholera and smallpox were spreading in an epidemic form. He distributed medicines, food and clothes to the needy. He also directed Diwan Dargah Mal to spend all the daily offerings made by the people to the Guru for the poor. The Guru won more admirers. Soon stories about his healing powers spread throughout the city

The tank is an impressive and holy place. Don't miss this wonderful Sikh temple and Holy Water. It is a place that draws Sikhs from all over for religious and social get-togethers

Catfish are plentiful

Water is a crucial Sacred element for Hindus and Sikhs in India

The temple with its tank is majestic

I saw several people taking time out to rest in this Holy Place. Evidence of the reverence but also the sense of "being at home" that Indian temples represent for the devotees

Endless photographic opportunties by the water!

Young Sikh bucks who insisted on having their photo taken

The back part of the temple

This building is on the right side of the temple as you face it. I haven't been able to find any other photos. If you know what significance it has I'd be grateful if you could leave a comment

I'm not sure what this is either. Perhaps a Sikh educational building?

Uncontainable! See my photos at 500px

Cool dude. Next Morocco!