Saturday, October 01, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

GURDWARA SAHIB KAMPAR, PERAK

No 1 Jalan Baru Kampar, 31900 Kampar, Perak

In the early years of the 20" Century, most of the Sikhs residing around Kampar were either employed in the tin mines or provided transport with their bullock carts. Nearly 80 per cent of the Sikhs had either left their families back home in Punjab or were unmarried. This Gurdwara Sahib also served as a "semi" (resting place) as well for Sikhs who had newly arrived from Punjab.
The first Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Kampar was built in 1914. This was a single storey wooden building approximately 25 feet by 40 feet. Baba Arjan Singh laid the foundation stone of this Gurdwara Sahib. The State of Perak gazetted the Gurdwara Sahib land as a Sikh Temple Reserve on 17' March 1916. This Gurdwara Sahib building was repaired and renovated on several occasions. After being used as a place of prayer for nearly 65 years, this Gurdwara Sahib building was demolished on lst March 1979.

In 1979, a Building Fund Committee was established to raise donations to construct a new double storey brick building to serve as the Gurdwara Sahib. The Granthi, Bhai Hazara Singh, laid the foundation stone of this new building on 1st June 1979. This Gurdwara Sahib building was completed in time for the Vesakhi celebrations in 1980. The President, Bhai Basant Singh, officially declared this new Gurdwara Sahib open on 11th April 1980. The size of this new Gurdwara Sahib building is 40 feet x 90 feet.

The cost of this Gurdwara Sahib building came to RM160,000.00 out of which RM60,000.00 was donated by the Government. The present land area of this Gurdwara Sahib is 0.462 acres. The first floor of the Gurdwara Sahib building consists of the Darbar Sahib. The ground floor is used as the Guru Ka Langgar hall and store.

In 1985, a two-storey building was constructed on the right hand side of the main entrance to the Gurdwara Sahib at a cost of RM110,000.00. The first floor comprises of the library and three rooms for Sikh visitors. The ground floor was previously used as a Punjabi school until December 2000. It is now used as Granthi's quarters.

Sardar Hakam Singh Gill was the founder of Khalsa School Kampar and also its supervisor from 1947 to 1955. The first teacher was Sardar Naranjan Singh Namthari followed by Bibi Pritam Kaur Ghali, Giani Darbara Singh `Daler' and Giani Mahinder Singh Chakarwarti. Bibi Sarjit Kaur from Tapah served as a very capable teacher in this school from 1988 to 2000. Her dedicated service has given birth to many young "pathis" as well as fluent Punjabi-speakingyouths in this area.

Since January 2001, the Punjabi Education Trust Malaysia is conducting Punjabi classes on Saturday afternoons (2.00p.m. to 6.00p.m.) at a Government School. Sikh children from as far as Bidor, Tapah, Malim Nawar, Gopeng, Tronoh Mines and Tanjong Tuallang attend these Punjabi classes to learn their mother tongue.

Bhai Hazara Singh of village `Kane' served as a Granthi in this Gurdwara Sahib for about 17 years from 1962 to 1979. He willed his entire life savings of about RM25,000.00 to the Gurdwara Sahib. The school hall has been named in his memory. Bhai Jagir Singh Ji, Village Bhai Ka Phagta. Sangrur, has been serving as a Granthi in this Gurdwara Sahib since 1982. The younger generation of Sikh youths took over the management of this Gurdwara Sahib in the early 1980s. Since then, numerous youth activities have been organized by them. Nearly every year, youth "Samelans", "Rehan Sebahi Kirtans " , games during "Vesakhi" , competitions among Punjabi school children etc. are held under the auspices of this Gurdwara Sahib. Bhai Kashmir Singh, the Secretary, with his young, able and enthusiastic committee ensures the success of these events. The Management Committee comprises of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, their assistants and seven committee members.

There are presently about 80 Sikh families who participate in the religious activities held in this Gurdwara Sahib. The weekly prayers are held on Sundays from 10.00a.m. to 12.00 noon.

Courtesy:
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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