Faiths of India – Sikhism

sikh-bangla-sahib

Bangla Sahib, New Delhi – Photo Leon Yaakov

Founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak in the Punjab district, Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good and not only carrying out rituals.

With a population of around 20 million, Sikhs represent less than 2% of India’s population (Census 2011).

Despite their small numbers (in Indian terms), Sikhs are dominate in the Punjab, the state in which their faith was founded.  The number of Sikhs living in Haryana, Delhi NCR, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand is also notable, states the Indian census in 2011.

There were 10 Sikh Gurus whose teaching are contained in the Sikh’s holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.  The book, which has the status of a guru, is offered the same respect as would be given to a human guru.

Sikh’s believe that God should be kept in heart and mind at all times, everyone should be treated equally and that they should generous towards the less fortunate.  The principles of equality and serving others can be seen at the langar eating halls in the Sikh Gurudwara (temple) were everyone sits together and eats for free.

Places of worship

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, in central Delhi, is probably the best known Gurudwara in the capital.  It’s associated with the eighth Sikh guru Guru Harikrishan Sahib, who lived here during the mid 1600’s.  The temple complex also houses a secondary school, a museum, a library, an art gallery and a hospital.  Help out at the kitchens or call in for langar.

Gurudwara Majnu ka Tilla on the banks of the Yamuna river in the north of the city is built on the site where Guru Nanak met a muslim sufi hermit, nicknamed Majnu, in 1505.  The sufi, who was seeking enlightment, received Guru Nanak’s blessing and became a follower.  So pleased was the Guru Nanak by this that he said that name of Majnu would be immortalised.  And so it is, in the name of the Gurudwara.

Gurudwara Rikab Ganj, near parliament house is the cremation ground of the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, who was executed on the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb. in 1675. Built in 1783, the Gurudwara is on Pant Road.   Here’s a map.

Gurudwara Sis Ganj, slap back in the middle of Chandni Chowk, was first established in 1783 by Baghel Singh to mark teh martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1575.   The temple is built at the exact spot where the Guru was beheaded by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.  His body was smuggled away by two followers and he was cremated at Gurudwara Rikab Ganj, nr Parliament House.  Here’s a map to guide you in.

To learn more about Sikhism click on the overview provided by the BBC.

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One thought on “Faiths of India – Sikhism

  1. Pingback: Religion & places of worship | Namaste New Delhi

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