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Gurudwaras in Pakistan

Gurudwaras in Pakistan, Panja Sahib

Gurudwaras in Pakistan


Guru Nanak Dev’s father, himself a man of the world and.revenue accountant of Rai Bular, wanted his son to settle in business. He once gave the boy a sum of money and sent him, with one Bhai Bala to accompany him, to Chuharkana market to purchase some goods to set up a shop with. “Make a good, profitable bargain”, the father advised. Chuharkana was about 20 kilometres northeast of TaIwandi Rai Bhoi (It is now a railway station on the Sheikhupura-Faisalabad section of Pakistan Railway). A little short of their destination, Nanak and Bala met a group of sadhus, naked and hungry. The former at once decided to feed them, and despite Bala’s advice to the contrary bought provisions from Chuharkana and served the sadhus with hearty meal. On his return home empty-handed, Guru Nanak’s father rebuked him for squandering his precious cash, but he caImly answered, “You had wanted me to make Khara Sauda (lit. real bargain); I could not think of a better and more genuine one than the one I have made.” The Gurudwara established during the Sikh Rule on the spot where the sadhu were entertained came to be called Khara Sauda. Now called Gurdwara Sachcha Sauda (lit. true bargain), it stands between the Mandi (market) and the town of Chuharkana. Its domed sanctum in the middle of a square hall stands in a fort-like enclosure which served as a refugee camp for thousands of sikhs ousted from their homes in 1947. The Gurudwara was liberated from the centuries-old control of Udasi mahants by Khalsa Divan Khara Sauda Bar under the leadership of Jathedar Kartar Singh Jhabbar on 30th December 1920

Gurudwara Panja Sahib (Hasan AbdaI)

Hasan Abdal is a small town and a railway station along the main Lahore-Peshawar railway line in Campbelpore (or Attock) district. Close to it is a spring of cool, clean water which according to tradition  was created by Guru Nanak Dev. It is said that the Guru arrived here at the end of his tour of West Asia. At that time the only source of water near this place was a reservoir at the top of the nearby hill where lived a Muslim divine Wall Karidhari. The Guru sent Mardana thrice to the Wall in order to drink and fetch some water, but every time the latter refused to oblige saying that he would not help a Muslim (Mardana was a Muslim) who followed a ‘Hindu’ Guru. Guru Nanak then asked Mardana to remove a stone nearby from where water sprang forth. At the same time water in Wall Karidhari’s reservoir began to ebb until it was completely dry. Wall Karidhari, infuriated by the ‘Hindu’s’ miracle, rolled down a rock towards the latter. Guru Nanak Dev, sitting unruffled, merely extended his right arm towards the rolling rock and not only the rock stopped dead, but his open palm made an imprint on it as if it was made of molten wax. Wall Karidharl, impressed by the miracle came down and bowed to the Guru asking his pardon and blessing.

Gurudwara Panja (lit. palm) Sahib was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Its control remained with a line of mahants until Jathedar Kartar Singh Jhabbar and his small band of Akali reformers occupied it on 17th-18th September 1920. A heroic incident which occurred at Hasan Abdal on 30th October 1922 made the place more prominent. Guru Ka Bagh Morcha was on. A train full of Sikh prisoners was on its way to Miariwali Central Jail. Sikh sangat of Panja Sahib arranged to serve meals to the prisoners at Hasan Abdal railway station, but the authorities refused to stop the train there. A band of Sikhs headed by Bhai Partap Singh, an empolyee of the Gurudwara, and Bhai Karam Singh, a pilgrim to the shrine, squatted on the rail track in order to force the train to halt. The train did stop but not before mowing down a number of nonviolent resistors of whom the above two succumbed to their injuries.

The foundation of the beautiful three-storey building, designed after the samadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore, was laid on 14th October 1932 by five eminent holymen, Panj Piare. Built with grey sandstone, its exterior is spotted with protruding domed bay windows. The central fluted dome is surrounded by several symmetrically placed big and small domed kiosks. Unlike the Maharaja’s samadh in Lahore, it has porches covering entrances to the sanctum which stands within the sarovar that receives water gushing forth from around the rock bearing the sacred Parija Sahib or the palm-imprint of the Guru. Several other buildings for staff and pilgrims and other ,ancillaries were added subsequently. Guru ka Langar at Panija Sahib was famous for the quality of food and service at all hours day and night. Congregational fair used to be held on Baisakhi (mid-April) and On 30th October until 1947. Now only ,organised bands of pilgrims occasionally visit Panja Sahib with the permission of the Pakistan government. One of such regular visits coincides with the Baisakhi festival.


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