Gurudwara Pather Sahib Leh
Gurudwara Pather Sahib
There is a beautiful Gurudwara known as "Pather Sahib" constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, about 25 miles away from Leh, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000 ft above the sea level.
In the late 70s, during the construction of Leh-Nima road, a large stone was found in the middle. The bulldozer driver tried to push and throw away the stone but it did not move and in the process the blades broke and the work stopped. The driver had a dream that night not to move the stone. He narrated his dream to the army officer who did not give any importance to it. When all efforts to remove it failed it was decided to blow it with a dynamite the next day. That night the army officer also had a dream not to remove the stone but he again disregarded it. The next day being Sunday he noticed that early in the morning several Tibetans came and started showing reverence to the stone.
On enquiring further he was told that this was a "Wax Statue" of their revered Lama, Nanak and it contained the imnprints of his shoulders, head and backside.he was told that during the period 1515-1518 AD when Guru Nanak was returning back to Punjab through Srinagar, after travelling to Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, he rested at this place. A woman came to him for help. It was her son that was to be sacrificed to a demon who lived on the hill. Guru Nanak consoled her and asked her not to send her son to the demon. The demon was infuriated and threw a large rock at the Guru which hit the back of the meditating Guru and stopped there. The Guru’s body is believed to be imprinted on the rock. The demon felt ashamed and prostrated at the feet of Guru Nanak.
Nestled deep in the Himalayas, about 25 km from the town of Leh, is the Gurdwara, Pathar Sahib. The Gurdwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev reached Leh via Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Yarkhand. The place is revered by both the local lamas and Sikh sangat. Currently the Army is looking after the gurdwara.
As per a legend, there lived a wicked demon who terrorised the people in the area where the gurdwara is situated. The people prayed to the Almighty for help. It is said that Guru Nanak heard their woes and came to their aid. He settled down on the bank of the river below the hill where the wicked demon lived. The Guru blessed the people with sermons and became popular in the area. The locals called him Nanak Lama. The demon got into rage and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev.
One morning when the Guru was sitting in meditation, the demon rolled down a large pathar (boulder) from the hilltop, with the intention of killing the Guru. The boulder came rolling down and when it touched the Guru’s body, it melted like wax. The Guru kept on meditating unhurt and undisturbed. Thinking that the Guru had been killed, the demon came down and was taken aback to see the Guru deep in meditation. In a fit of anger, he tried to push the boulder with his right foot, but as the pathar had already melted like wax, his foot got embedded in it. On seeing this, demon realised his own powerlessness as compared with the spiritual powers of the great Guru. He fell at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev and begged for forgiveness. Guru Sahib advised him to get rid of his wicked ways and asked him to lead a life of a noble person. This changed the life of the demon, who gave up evil deeds and started serving the people.
Guru Nanak Dev thereafter continued his holy journey towards Srinagar via Kargil. The pathar pushed down by the demon, with the imprint of the body of Guru Nanak Dev as also the foot imprint of the demon, is at present lying in Gurdwara Pathar Sahib. It is said that since the visit of Guru Sahib (in 1517) to 1965, the local lamas held pathar sacred and offered prayers to it.
To visit the gurdwara, one can take, a flight to Leh from New Delhi and stay in a hotel at Leh. As Leh is located at a high altitude, one can have breathing problems due to the paucity of oxygen. Visitors are advised to consult their doctors before embarking on this journey. The 25-km road from Leh to the Gurdwara Pathar Sahib is in good condition. Visitors can go by bus or taxi. The Gurdwara Sahib is located next to the road.