Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


No. 469 Jalan Temoh, 35000 Tapah, Perak

In the 1910s, the Sikh community residing around Tapah were mainly dairy farmers. These Sikhs set up a Building Fund Committee to build a Gurdwara Sahib, which comprised of Sardar Atar Singh Bhinder, Sardar Jemal Singh, Sardar Jagat Singh, Sardar Ram Singh, Babu Isher Singh and Sardar Partap Singh. This Gurdwara Sahib building was completed around 1915 on a piece of land, which is 4 1/2 acres in size. It was a double storey wooden structure with a tiled roof.

The Khalsa Diwan Malaya used to hold its annual jormela at this Gurdwara Sahib on several occasions, which was well attended by the Sikh Sangat from all over Malaya Gurmukhi classes were conducted in this Gurdwara since the late 1920s. Finally around 1935 or 1936, a Punjabi school was built within the Gurdwara Sahib premises, which also included a library. The headmaster of the school at this time was Sardar Dyal Singh. By the 1940s, there were about 70 Sikh students studying in this school. One of the outstanding students of this school was the late lawyer, Sardar Naranjan Singh.

In 1964, the Management Committee decided to build a new double storey Gurdwara Sahib building as the previous Gurdwara Sahib was too small and also in a state of disrepair.
In late 1965, construction work commenced on the new Gurdwara Sahib building. The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Haji Abdul Razak bin Dato Hussein, officially declared the Gurdwara Sahib open on 3rd December 1966. The cost of this Gurdwara Sahib building was RM72,000.00, out of which RM25,000.00 was donated by the Government.

This Gurdwara Sahib is located on a strategic site at the junction of the access road to Cameron Highlands. The old North-South trunk road also passes by the Gurdwara Sahib.Presently, there are 32 Sikh students who attend Gurmukhi classes twice a week in this Gurdwara Sahib's school.

There are two rooms for Sikh visitors in this Gurdwara Sahib. However, prior reservations must be made with the President or Secretary. The Management Committee comprises of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, their assistants as well as six committee members. The present Trustees of this Gurdwara Sahib are Dr. Avtar Singh Ahluwalia and Sardar Sarjit Singh.

Giani Gurdit Singh 'Baba Tul' of Village Salohpur in Gurdaspur served as a Granthi in the Gurdwara Sahib Tapah from 1944 to 1952. Giani Ran Singh served as a Granthi here for 11 years from 1965 to 1976.

Currently, there are about 30 Sikh families staying around the Tapah area who participate in the religious activities held in this Gurdwara Sahib.

Prayers are held twice a week on Sunday mornings from 10.00a.m. to 12.00p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 7.30p.m. to 8.30p.m. The Isteri Satsang programme is held every Wednesday from 2.30p.m. to 4.30p.m. Other religious programmes are held as and when necessary at the request of the sangat.

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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