Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sikh house of worship - ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਬੰਗਲਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ

HOW TO REACH HERE: By Metro - Rajiv Chowk and Patel Chowk metro stations are equidistant from the gurudwara. Get down at either of the two stations and walk to the holy place.
By road -  Gurudwara is on  Ashoka Rd, Hanuman Road Area, Connaught Place

HISTORY: Originally this place was the Bungalow(haveli) of Mirza Raja Jai Singh, hence the name Bangla Sahib. It's original name was Jaisinghpura Palace. Mirza Raja Jai Singh was an important military leader of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.After the passing away of Guru Har Rai the seventh Sikh Guru, Ram Rai and his masands (masand is derived from Arabic word masand, meaning delegating authority of the sovereign) instigated Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to issue a decree summoning Guru Harkrishan to his court. Ram Rai was elder brother of Guru Harkrishan. Guru Harkrishan decided to go to Delhi since he felt that the "sangat", his followers had been misguided and he saw an opportunity in this to clear their misunderstandings. Meanwhile Sikhs of Delhi approached Mirza Raja Jai Singh, a strong devotee of Sikh Gurus to prevent any harm coming to Guru Harkrishan either by Aurangzeb or by the masands of Ram Rai.
Ram Rai when learned that Guru Harkrishan had accepted the summons to appear before Aurangzeb in his court at Delhi, started rejoicing since Guru Harkrishan had taken a vow not to appear before Aurangzeb. If Guru Harkrishan Comes to Delhi and refuses to meet Aurangzeb then definitely he will be arrested and suffer humiliation. Now Ram Rai felt that this act of Guru Harkrishan will surely lower his prestige among his followers and will pave the way for Ram Rai to declare himself as the true successor of Guru Har Rai.
Mirza Raja Jai Singh had made elaborate arrangements to receive Guru Harkrishan. Guru Harkrishan was received on the outskirts of Delhi like a royal guest of honor. Guru Harkrishan was accompanied by prominent Sikhs from his darbar and his mother Sulakhni.

Interiors of the gurudwara.
Langar being practiced in the hall.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is situated in the heart of New Delhi's  Connaught Place area. It is located on the east side intersection of Ashoka Road and Baba Kharak Singh Marg. The holy place includes the temple, a kitchen, a large holy pond called 'Sarovar' , a school and an art gallery. Just like any other Sikh Gurudwara, the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race, caste or religion may eat in the Gurudwara kitchen (the langar hall). The Langar is prepared by gursikhs who work there and also by volunteers who like to help out. At the Gurdwara, visitors are requested to cover their hair and and remove their shoes before entering. Assistance to foreigners and visitors with Guides, head scarves, and shoe-minding service can be found inside the compound and are available free of charge. Anyone can volunteer to help keep the shoes in the shoe-minding room, and cleaning the precincts of the Gurudwara.