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Different places to travel

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi - next to Connaught Place

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is probably the most visited Gurdwara in Delhi. Located centrally in Delhi, it is located on the Baba Kharag Sahib Marg that has Connaught Place at one end, and Gol Dakhana (round post office) at the other end. The back side of the Gurdwara (and the associated school) opens up to Ashoka Road. The Gurdwara was originally the Bungalow of one of the important Rajput ruler Mirza Raja Jai Singh. Jai Singh was a devotee of Guru Harkrishan, and played a role in ensuring that politics being played out in the emperor's court did not cause Aurangzeb to treat the Sikh Guru badly. Guru Harkrishan had been nominated as a successor by the seventh Guru Sri Har Rai, and was summoned to Delhi by Emperor Aurangzeb in a furtive attempt by his older brother Baba Ram Rai to grab the Gurugadi. Earlier Baba Ram Rai had disgraced himself by giving a false translation of Bani to appease the Emperor. For this he had been disowned by his father and rewarded by Aurangzeb.
The place where the current Gurudwara is located was earlier a palatial home, and it was here that Guru Sri Harkishan had stayed here for a few months as a guest of Raja Jai Singh. It was during this time that there was a terrible epidemic of cholera and smallpox and the Guru spent a lot of time caring for people and distributing help. He was eventually struck by the disease as well, and died in Delhi in 1664. He used to distribute water from a well built in the house, and this water is said to have holy and medical properties. The water is now revered as having healing properties and is taken by Sikhs throughout the world back to their homes.
The grounds include the temple, a kitchen, a large pond, a school and an art gallery. As with all Sikh Gurdwaras, the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurdwara kitchen (langer hall).

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