Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


No. 15 Jalan Haji Salleh, off Jalan Sentul, 51000 Kuala Lumpur

In the early years of the 20th Century, there were a large number of Sikhs from the Majha, Malwa and Doaba regions of Punjab living in Sentul. Most of these Sikhs were employed in the Central Railway Workshops. These Sikhs decided to build a Gurdwara Sahib in Sentul to serve their religious needs.

The present site of the Gurdwara Sahib land, which is 37.25 Poles in size, was gazetted as a Sikh Temple Reserve on 20' October 1912. This first non-police Gurdwara Sahib was built in 1912 / 1913. It used to be referred to as Gurdwara Central Workshops but is now more commonly known as Gurdwara Sahib Sentul. The Gurdwara building was made of wood with an attap roof, which was later changed to zinc.

The first President of this Gurdwara Sahib was Sardar Chanan Singh, a businessman. He played an important role in the management of this Gurdwara. Sardar Harnam Singh was the first Secretary.

In 1932, the Gurdwara Sahib building was replaced with a new single storey building made of bricks, concrete and Chinese roof tiles. The cost of this Gurdwara Sahib building came to about Straits Settlement $25,000.00.

From 1927 to 1937, Guru ka Langgar used to be served in this Gurdwara Sahib to everyone, irrespective of race or creed.

One of the main aims of this Gurdwara Sahib was to promote Gurmukhi classes and Gurbani from the Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In 1947, the Sentul Punjabi School was established under the Presidency of Sardar Budh Singh. Giani Inder Singh Gill Village Guru ki Wedali, Amristsar was appointed headmaster of this school. Giani Inder Singh developed the syllabus for school level Punjabi, which was later accredited by the Government Education Board. In 1950, he commenced classes in Budhimani and Giani, which was again another first in Malaysia. Giani Inder Singh Ji served as a headmaster for 22 years at the Sentul Punjabi School and later Guru Nanak School Sentul before retiring around 1970. Giani Inder Singh Ji passed away on 5th August 2002.

This Gurdwara Sahib building was extensively renovated in 1988 at a cost of about RM60,000.00. At the same time, a new three-storey building was constructed by the side of the Gurdwara. It is known as the "Sikh Centre Malaysia". The langgar hall, which is on the ground floor, can seat 450 persons. The second and third floors of the Sikh Centre Malaysia building has a library. Granthi's quarters as well as 34 rooms to accommodate Sikh students including two rooms for Sikh visitors. It also has a conference hall that can seat 150 people. The cost of construction of the Sikh Centre Malaysia building came to about RM1,500,000.00.

There is a Sikh Assistant Registrar of Marriages at this Gurdwara Sahib who may officiate at the marriage ceremony, if called upon to do so. However, the actual marriage ceremony is conducted by the Granthi in accordance with Sikh religious rites.

Giani Jaswant Singh Ji Village Kore Wala Kelan, Moga served as a Granthi in this Gurdwara Sahib for 14 years from August 1988 to August 2002 before going on retirement.
The Management Committee comprises of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and six committee members. The present trustees of the Gurdwara Sahib are Harcharan Singh, Charanjit Singh and Preetam Singh.

The normal weekly prayers are held every Wednesday from 6.30p.m. to 8.30p.m. The Isteri Satsang programme is held every Thursday from 3.00p.m. to 5.00p.m. The Sikh Naujawan programme is held on the last Saturday of every month from 6.00p.m. to 9.00p.m. Various religious functions are usually held on Sunday morning from 10.00a.m to 12.00p.m. at the request of the Sikh Sangat. About 500 Sikh families participate in the religious activities in this Gurdwara Sahib.

Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia&Singapore
Saran Singh Sidhu AMN,PNM,FRNS

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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