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Anandpur Sahib

Anandpur Sahib is a small town in Rupnagar district in the state of Punjab. This holy town is home to one of the most revered pilgrimages of Sikhs, Takht Keshgarh Sahib, which is more popularly known as Gurudwara Sri Anandpur Sahib.

Nestled in the lap of bounty nature, the town was founded by the Sikh Gurus in late 17th century. The town of Anandpur Sahib is dotted with a number of Gurudwaras of which Takht Keshgarh is the most revered one as it was here that the Sikh Faith was founded and the ‘Panj Pyaras’, the five beloved devotees were baptised by the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Anandpur Sahib is primarily a Sikh pilgrimage where stand five important Sikh Gurudwaras. These not so grand looking structures are visited by lakhs of devotees every year for the historical significance attached to each one of these.

 

Historical View of Anandpur Sahib

It all began with the cruelties of Mughals against the Hindus and the thence establishment of the Sikhism. As the atrocities of the Mughals continued, the Sikh Gurus were displaced from one town to another every now and then.

In 1665, the then Rajput king of Bilaspur, an ardent devotee of the Sikh Gurus died. The 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, visited the Rani to pay his obeisance and perform prayer services. Just then, the Rani got to know that the Guru was relocating soon and was going farther away.

Saddened by the news, the queen offered the Guru some land to settle closeby. The queen requested Guru Tegh Bahadur’s mother, Bibi Nanaki, to coax him into it.

Finally the Guru agreed but did not accept the land for free and paid rupees 500 to the queen. Guru and his followers soon developed it into a small settlement and the Guru named it ‘Chak Nanaki’ after his mother.

 

 

Guru Tegh Bahadur himself could not stay here for long though, as, soon he left to extend his support to the Kashmiri Pandits who were again suffering at the hands of the Mughal rulers.

In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur was slained by the men of the cruellest Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb. His severed head was brought for cremation to Anandpur Sahib by Bhai Jaita Singh and was cremated by Guru’s nine year old son, Gobind Rai, who was subsequently declared the 10th Guru of the Sikhs at that young age.

Cruelties of the Mughals continued for a long time to come. Consequently, Guru Gobind Singh started preparing to fight back and built five fortress-Gurudwaras in Anandpur in 1688. Each of the fortress Gurudwaras had special historical significance attached to it.

Of the five fortress Gurudwaras in Anandpur Sahib, Takht Keshgarh is the most important Gurudwara.

 

Panj Pyaras-The Beloved Five

On Baisakhi day in 1688, when all the followers of the Guru had gathered together for the community feast, Guru Gobind Singh announced the life sacrifice as the need of the hour and asked all gathered if they were ready to sacrifice their life in the name of the Faith.

Of the hundreds gathered, first one man came forward. The Guru took him inside a small hut nearby and came out with a blood-stained sword sending shivers down the spine of all present. He asked who was ready to come next and repeated the same for next four till none else came forward.

Finally all the five men came out safe and sound and they were declared by the Guru as the ‘Panj Pyaras’, (The Blessed Five). Guru Gobind Singh then baptised the Panj Pyaras with crossed swords and gave them the holy water to drink. Then Guru Gobind Singh explained the principles of the Five Ks (Kesh, Kada, Kanga, Kachchha and Kirpan).

 

Gurudwaras in Anandpur Sahib

Undoubtedly, Sri Anandpur Sahib is the most revered pilgrimage of Sikhs after Golden Temple in Amritsar where Akal Takht is located.

Sitting pretty on a hill-top, Gurudwara Sri Keshgarh Sahib offers a magnificent view of the surroundings. All the other four fortress-Gurudwaras are visible from here. Of all the five fortress-Gurudwaras (Keshgarh, Holgarh, Taragarh, Lohgarh and Fatehgarh) in Anandpur, Sri Keshgarh Sahib is the most important and most visited.

Qila Holgarh Sahib or Gurudwara Holgarh Sahib is located on the banks of the Sutlej. Every year when India celebrates the festival of colours Holi with fun and frolic, lakhs of Sikhs gather in Anandpur Sahib for Hola Mohalla, a grand display of martial spirit by the Nihang Sikhs.

Devotees move from Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Holgarh Sahib in a grand procession where Hola Mohalla is celebrated every year since 1701.

Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib is the site where the severed head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought from Delhi for cremation in 1675.

Closeby stands Guru ka Mahal which was the first building built in Chak Nanaki. It houses Bhora Sahib where Guru Tegh Bahadur resided with his family and meditated in an underground room, Thara Sahib which was Diwan-i-aam where the Guru addressed his followers and Gurudwara Damdama Sahib which was Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Diwan-i-Khas where he used to meet the guests from other states.

Qila-Gurudwara Lohgarh sahib was the weaponry where all the arms and weapons were kept. 

Not very far is Gurudwara Akal Bunga Sahib where Guru Gobind Singh and his relatives rested after Guru Tegh Bahadur’s cremation.

Located in picturesque surroundings, though not really hills, Anandpur Sahib welcomes the visitors with ambient weather throughout the year though it is best visited in winters. 

A trip to Anandpur Sahib leaves one peaceful within and armed with lot of information about the evolution of Sikhism.

 

Things to Do in Anandpur Sahib

There is not much to do in Anandpur except for tracing through the narrow lanes leading to the Gurudwaras and rediscovering the history of the Khalsa panth. For most of the year Anandpur is a small sleepy town but come the festivals of Hola Mohalla, Baisakhi and Diwali, lakhs of devotees come from all over the country and overseas to enliven it up.

 

Anandpur Sahib Fast Facts

Distance From Delhi: 318 Km

Distance From Chandigarh: 80 Km

State: Punjab

 

How To Reach Anandpur Sahib

By Air

Nearest Airport: Chandigarh (80 Km)

From here one can hire a taxi for Anandpur sahib.

 

By Rail

Nearest Railway Station: Anandpur Sahib Station

 

 

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