Streets surrounding Darbar Sahib are centuries old and have direct link with the lives of the Sikh Gurus and pilgrimage is considered incomplete without visiting these city sites. Tribune Correspondent Manmeet Singh Gill and lensman Sunil Kumar take you to a spiritual journey in the holy city
The holy city, which is known world over for the Sikh shrines, including the Golden Temple, has numerous places of religious and historical value in lanes surrounding Darbar Sahib. For most of the visitors, including Sikhs, visiting the Golden Temple is the foremost thing on their itinerary. But for devotees, their pilgrimage is not complete till they visit most places (gurdwaras) associated with the Sikh Gurus.
Gurdwara Bibeksar Sahib
Situated on the banks of Bibeksar sarovar, the place was frequented by Guru Hargobind Sahib, who held discussions with the Sikhs at this place after his wrestling and martial arts training sessions. The present gurudwara was built during the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Dedicated to the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev, it’s the place where he composed gurbani of Sukhmani Sahib while sitting under the shade of a ‘Beri’ (tree). The gurdwara is located on the bank of a sarovar near gurdwara Ramsar Sahib.
Gurdwara Pipli Sahib
Situated around 1 km away from the Amritsar railway station, Guru Arjan Dev personally welcomed devotees coming from Afghanistan and north-western districts for the excavation of sarovar at Darbar Sahib. The place was subsequently turned into a resting place for devotees.
Gurdwara Bibi Kaulan
The place is named after Bibi Kaulan, who was an adopted daughter of Qazi of Lahore. The samadh of Bibi Kaulan lies at the western end of Kaulsar gurdwara. It’s stated that her father had pronounced a death sentence for her for showing devotion for the Sikh Gurus. She had found refuge at the place. The sixth Guru had directed devotees to take a dip in sarovar at Mata Kaulan before taking a dip at holy sarovar at the Golden Temple.
Gurdwara Toba Bhai Shalo
Bhai Shalo was a prominent Sikh during the period of Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Har Gobind. He was instrumental in bringing traders and artisans of 52 castes to the city when it was being developed. He was in charge of the city and collected food for langar. Originally a dharmshala, the place, now a gurdwara is visited by people seeking blessings for a son. People donate cow dung cakes and take a bath in the holy tank.
Gurdwara Guru Ka Mahal
As the name signifies, it was a residential place for Gurus and their families. The ninth Sikh master, Guru Teg Bahadur, whose 400th birth anniversary is being celebrated this year, was also born at this place. Situated to west of Akal Takht across Guru Ka Bazzar, the place was originally a modest hut built by Guru Ram Das in 1573. The place was subsequently enlarged and beautified by Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Hargobind Sahib. The house was later converted into a gurdwara.
Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib
It’s a nine-storey octagonal tower, over 45m in height, near Kaulsar sarovar and to the south-east of the Golden Temple. At this place, Baba Atal Rai, nine-year-old son of Guru Hargobind passed away on September 13, 1628. A simple memorial in honour of Baba Atal was raised on the site originally. Construction of the present edifice commenced after the Sikh misls had established their authority in Punjab. The cornerstone was laid in 1770 and first three floors were completed by 1784. The upper floors were constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The first six storeys are larger than upper ones, which rise above the central sanctum. The doors on the ground floor, four in number, are decorated with embossed designs, on brass and silver sheets. Interior walls and the ceiling are covered with murals depicting scenes from lives of Guru Nanak, his two sons and nine successors, Guru Gobind Singh’s four sons and Baba Buddha.
Samadh Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia
In the vicinity of gurdwara Atal Sahib is a memorial of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Under his leadership, the Sikhs ruled Delhi and Lahore and he had earned the title of Sultan-Ul-Quam. After Abdali had demolished the structure of Darbar Sahib, Jassa Singh had contributed Rs 9 lakh for reconstruction of the building.
Before Guru Arjan Dev became Guru, he came at this place on the instructions of the third Sikh master, Guru Amar Das, to find a place for excavation of the holy tank. As per a tradition, when the place was being dug, Yogi Santokh Muni was found meditating underneath. It’s stated that Muni told Guru that he had been meditating for long and breathed his last. It’s first of five holy sarovars in the holy city and was completed in 1589.
Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib
Situated alongside Ramsar sarovar, the smallest of Amritsar’s five holy ponds, the place is associated with the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev. The Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, was edited and compiled at this place.
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