Punjab is the land of Gurus and Saints. It is the land of five water rivers and is famous for its magnificent history and culture. Punjab is also a land of Gurudwaras. The principle religion which is being practiced here is “SIKHISM”. There are a number of gurudwaras in Punjab as well as in other states of India in the memory of different Sikh Gurus. Most important are the FIVE TAKHTS:
- Takht Shri Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar.
- Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib.
- Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda.
- Takht Shri Hazur Sahib, Nanded, Maharashtra.
- Takht Shri Patna Sahib, Patna.
It is the wish of every Sikh to make a holy visit to all Takhts once in his/her lifetime. These Takhts are the pillars of Sikhism and the epicentre of Sikhi.
Being a Sikh, I always remain enthusiastic to visit Sikh Shrines all over the world whether historical or not. I feel a sense of calmness and positive energy from these places. To quench this thirst, I planned my holy trip to Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur in the month of November 2021. I visited this place many times since my childhood but this time I am writing about my complete journey to this shrine.
In this blog, I will talk in length about the complete journey to Takht Shri Kesgarh Sahib and other neighbouring historical gurdwaras on the way to this Sikh temple.
I have designed this article in FAQ format to make things easily understandable and navigable.
Table of Contents
What is the Historical significance of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib (Anandpur Sahib)?
Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib is the THIRD takht out of Five Takhts of Khalsa Panth. It is the birthplace of KHALSA PANTH. On 1 Vaisakh Samvat 1750 (March 30, 1699 AD), the day of the Vaisakhi Festival, Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh guru demanded five heads from the huge gathering of Sikhs. First, Bhai Daya Ram offered his head, second time Bhai Dharam Das, third time Bhai Himmat Rai, fourth time Bhai Mohkam Chand and fifth time Bhai Sahib Chand offered their heads to Guruji with great devotion. Those five Sikhs were from different castes, religions & subcontinents.
Guru Sahib established “Panj Pyaarey” (Five Beloveds) after giving them Nector (Amrit) and suffix “SINGH” with their name and blessed them with:
After that Guru Ji himself received the nectar from these five beloveds and became Sri GURU GOBIND SINGH from Guru Gobind Rai.
Guru Gobind Singh fortified the settlement of Shri Anandpur Sahib from external attacks by constructing “Five Qilas” (Five Forts) which are:
- Fort Anandgarh Sahib
- Fort Lohgarh Sahib
- Fort Holgarh Sahib
- Fort Fatehgarh Sahib
- Fort Taragarh Sahib.
Guru Gobind Singh spent 25 years of his life in the city, added greatly to the city’s size and give it the new name, “City of Bliss (Anandpur).”
How to reach Anandpur Sahib?
Anandpur Sahib city is situated on the edge of the Great Shivalik Hills in Punjab state, Northern India. It is well connected with three modes of transportation and you can reach here by following means:
By Air: The nearest airport is Chandigarh International Airport which is mere at a distance of 80 Km. You can easily reach here by booking Cab/Taxi or bus from Airport which would take approximately 90 Minutes. Another option is Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport, Amritsar which is approximately 170 Km away.
By Road: It is well connected with roads and you can reach here by Bus/taxi/cab or your own private vehicle from any nearby major city like Amritsar, Chandigarh and Delhi. It is at a distance of approx 350 Km from Delhi, the National capital of India and the journey will take around 7 hours.
By Rail: It is also connected with the Rail network and you can book a train to Anandpur Sahib from the major cities of India. It is the most economical way to reach here.
How did I reach here?
I started my journey from Patiala in early morning around 6:00 am. I reached here via GURU GOBIND SINGH MARG (NH 205) passing through Fatehgarh Sahib, Morinda, Roopnagar and Kiratpur Sahib. It took 2 hours to reach here. The road is wide and 4-laned.
What facilities are available here?
Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib remains always flocked with visitors and to accommodate big rush, the complex of the gurdwara is huge and it offers a number of facilities:
Places to stay: Although you can book hotels near the gurudwara for any category (2-star to 5-star) but gurudwara offers the facility of Sarai (Place to stay) at a very nominal cost. You can book your stay 15 days in advance in case of major festivals.
Guru Ka Langar (Free Public Kitchen): Free food is offered 24 hours a day here and you can eat here. The food is prepared in hygienic conditions and special care is being given to the cleanliness of the premises where food is distributed.
Shopping: A big market is there surrounding the Gurudwara complex where you can shop the souvenir items. You can also buy literature and books regarding Sikhism and Punjab history here.
Virasat-e-Khalsa: There is a famous museum, Virasat-e-Khalsa where you can visit to know more about Sikh history. It is a must place for all visitors.
Continuous kirtan (hymns) is being chanted by raagis and you can listen to the Bani of Gurus here.
Which is the best time to visit Anandpur Sahib?
You can visit Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib at any time of the year but the best time is in the summer season. During the summer season (March to May), major festivals like Hola Mohalla, Vaisakhi is being celebrated at this holy shrine which you can observe. People from different corners of the world come here to see the famous Hola Mohalla of Shri Anandpur Sahib in the month of March every year.
What to wear in Gurudwaras?
There is no special dress code for visiting gurudwaras. But it is a religious place and devotees have feelings attached to these holy shrines.
So you are advised to wear simple, sober clothes which cover your maximum body (Avoid short skirts in case of females). Moreover, you have to cover your head with any piece of cloth or handkerchief. Without head covering, you will not be allowed inside the main gurudwara premises. If by chance, you do not have any piece of cloth with you, then you can take that from the main shrine entrance point.
One another thing, you have to put off your shoes and socks in the Jora Ghar (Shoe rack room) before entering the temple.
Which other historical gurudwaras you must visit in Anandpur Sahib?
There are number of historical gurudwaras situated around Anandpur Sahib where you must visit visit to get in-depth knowledge of Sikh history events. The main gurudwars are:
- Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
- Gurudwara Guru ke Mehal (Bhora Sahib).
- Gurudwara Baoli Sahib, Anandgarh qila.
- Gurudwara Qila Fatehgarh Sahib.
- Gurudwara Baba Gurditta ji.
- Gurudwara Pariwar Vichoda Sahib.
- Gurudwara Patalpuri Sahib, Kiratpur sahib.
- Gurudwara Bibhour Sahib, Nangal.
- Gurudwara Ghat Sahib, Nangal.
- Gurudwara Guru ka Lahore, Himachal Pradesh.
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
This gurdwara is situated at walking distance of 5 minutes from the main gurudwara kesgarh sahib.
After the martydom of Guru Teg Bahadur ji (9th Sikh Guru) in Delhi, Bhai Jaita ji arrived at this holy place with sacred head of Guru ji, along with huge sikh sangat via Kiratpur Sahib. Guru Gobind singh (Son of Guru Teg Bahadur ji) cremated the head of his revered father here and sitting at the Gurudwara Akal Bunga Sahib, he exhorted the Sikhs to follow the will of Almighty, defenders of faith and fight against oppression.
When Guru Gobind Singh left Anandpur Sahib in the middle of the night of 6th and 7th Poh (Local name of December Month) in year 1603, Guru Sahib appointed Bhai Gurbaksh Rai as care taker, giving him the responsibility of maintaining this holy place.
Gurudwara Guru ke Mehal (Bhora Sahib).
This gurdwara is also situated at walking distance of 5 minutes from the main gurudwara kesgarh sahib.
Guru ke Mehal’s land was purchased by Guru Teg Bahadur ji from Rani Champa (wife of Raja deep Chand) of Bilaspur on 19th June 1665 AD and laid the foundation of “Chakk Nanaki” town from Bhai Gurditta ji (Grandson of Baba Budda ji).
Guru Sahib built first building “Guru ke Mehal (Residential house) of Chakk Nanaki and started residing here along with his family. Now, this sacred place is known by the name of “Gurudwara Guru ke Mehal”.
The Bhora Sahib (Underground room) is situated inside of Gurudwara Guru ke Mehal where Guru Teg Bahadur ji used to do meditation and prayer.
Other historical places situated in the circumbulation of Gurudwara Guru ke Mehal are:
Gurudwara Tharha Sahib: At this place, a group of Kashmiri Pandits led by Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt (who was later baptized & become Bhai Kirpa Singh and martyred in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib) along with his associates came as petitioners to Guru Teg Bahadur ji and requested for protection of Hindu religion. Guru ji accepted their request and was martyred on 11 November 1675 AD at Chandni Chowk, Delhi for the protection of Hinduism by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Gurudwara Sri Damdama Sahib: At this sacred place, Guru Teg Bahadur ji used to sit for meet with sikh sangat and preached them. This was the same place where Guru Gobind singh was blessed with Guruship.
Gurudwara Janam Asthan Sahibzadas: The three young sons of Guru Gobind Singh (Baba Jujhar Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh) were born at this place. he eldest (Baba Ajit Singh) was born at Paonta Sahib.
There is an old water well which is known by the name of “Masandan da Khooh” which has also historical significance.
Gurudwara Baoli Sahib, Anandgarh qila.
This Gurudwara is situated near Virasat-e-Khalsa building and is at walking distance of 5 minutes from Main Gurudwara Kesgarh Sahib.
This Gurudwara is in the complex of Anandgarh Fort which is the one fort out of five forts.
There is an old baoli (Well) of Guru ji’s time inside the fort which can be accessed by going downstairs 132 steps.
Gurudwara Qila Fatehgarh Sahib.
This gurudwara is situated at the walking distance of 10 minutes from Main Gurudwara Kesgarh Sahib.
Guru Gobind singh sat here after the martyrdom of his father Guru Teg Bahadur ji and built a Sikh Army. Sikh army was trained for 6 years here.
Gurudwara Pariwar Vichoda Sahib.
This Gurudwara is located at the distance of approximately 20 KM from the Anandpur Sahib on the NH 205 towards Ropar side.
It is situated at a reasonable height and you have to upstairs approx. 70 steps.
At this sacred place, Guru Gobind Singh ji along with his family and other sikhs arrived here after they left the Anandgarh fort. At morning time, when the kirtan of “Aasa ki Waar” (Gurbani) was going on then all of sudden the Mughal army attacked this place. Many of the sikhs got martyred here during this war. Due to this reaosn, all family members of Guru ji got separated from here.
Gurudwara Patalpuri Sahib, Kiratpur sahib.
This Gurudwara is situated at a distance of 7 KM from Anandpur sahib towards Ropar side.
It is situated with the bank of Sutlej river at the south-west side of Kiratpur City which was revealed by Guru Hargobind Sahib (6th Sikh Guru) by shot an arrow from the site of Gurudwara Tir Sahib.
The 6th sikh guru Hardgobind sahib ji and 7th Guru Har Rai Sahib ji wee cremated at this place and Sri Guru Harkrishan’s hearth was brought here after cremation at Delhi.
Guru Hargobind sahib ji named to this sacred place as “PATALPURI”.
Gurudwara Bibhour Sahib, Nangal.
This gurudwara is located at the distance of 20 KM from Anandpur Sahib in Nangal town.
This gurudwara is at a reasonable height and one can see the beautiful view of Nangal Dam/Satluj river from this site.
This gurudwara is in the memory of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind singh visited this place upon the request of Raja Ratan Rai. Guru ji lived herefor many months. On Samvat 1753, Guru ji recited the famous Bani “Chopai Sahib” here.
Gurudwara Ghat Sahib, Nangal.
This gurudwara is situated in the Nangal town, 20 KM away from Anandpur Sahib.
This gurudwara is in the memory of 10th Guru Gobind Singh. This beautiful gurudwara is exact at the bank of sutluj river.
My journey to Anandpur sahib was wonderful. One must visit this holy shrine at least once in his lifetime. You will get in-depth knowledge about Sikh political and historical aspect. I hope this information would be useful. If you have any query regarding Anandpur Sahib visit then feel free to post a comment in the comment box. I will be glad to answer your query.
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