India is a country of multitude religions and faiths. The uniqueness of this country lies in its unmatched unity amidst the diversity. Amongst the various religions followed, Sikhism is an important one. The Sikh community has a strong presence in India.
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak during the 15th century. Initially confined to some regions of Punjab, the religion gradually spread its roots across other parts of the Indian subcontinent. There are several revered places of worship across the country, of which some are dedicated to the Sikh Gurus while others are holy shrines preserving religious relics.
When it comes to Sikh Pilgrimage tour packages sites, most of them are situated within the territory of Punjab – and across the country which depicts the beautiful architecture and utmost devotion.
The Golden Temple
It is situated in the holy city of Amritsar. Religious edifice is perhaps the most important place of worship for the followers of Sikhism. Locals suggest that the best time to visit this shrine is when the day begins and the first ray of sunlight kisses its golden crown. This temple, also called Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar, is one of the most venerated sites for Sikhs and stands for brotherhood, equality and peace. The fourth Sikh Guru Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji gave a nod to the digging of Amrit Sarovar (The Holy Tank) in AD 1577. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (fifth Sikh Guru) completed the brick lining of this holy tank on 15th December, 1588 and gave permission for the construction of the Golden Temple. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is said to have been installed in the premises of this shrine on 16th August, 1604. Akal Takth here is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism and therefore the most important from the pilgrimage perspective. Around Amritsar (70 kms Radius) there are many significant Gurdwaras to visit
Anandpur Sahib near Chandigarh
It comprises of several Gurdwaras. It is a major Sikh pilgrimage centre and one of the most visited after Golden Temple in Amritsar. Takht Sri Darbar Sahib Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur is one of the Rakhts of Sikhism. Regarded as the birthplace of Khalsa Panth,this small town is nestled between foothills of the Shivalik range and the Sutlej River. It is the site of five holy forts constructed by Guru Gobind Singh and Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib – one of the top five pilgrimages in Sikhism. Anandpur Sahib is famous for its splendid white gurudwaras and thus, devotees gather here in large numbers to be a part of divine bliss.
Nanded is a major Sikh pilgrimage centre and home to Sach Khand Huzur Sahib Gurdwara, the place where Guru Gobind Singhji’s ashes were buried. Some of the sacred relics of Guru are also preserved here. This is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism and therefore most important to visit. Sri Hazur Sahib is amongst the five sacred Takths of Sikhism and a place where Guru Gobind Singhji took his last breath. It lies along the bank of the Godavari River and was built on the orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This Gurudwara houses two prime religious scriptures of Sikhism – Guru Granth Sahib and Sri Dasam Granth.
Takht Sri Darbar Sahib Damdama Sahib
It is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism situated in Bathinda. This is where Guru Gobind Singhji, the tenth Sikh Guru, prepared the full version of the Sikh Scriptures popularly known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib in early 18th Century.
Patna Sahib is regarded as one of the five holiest Takhts Patna is considered a holy city by Sikhs as tenth Guru Gobind Singhji was born here in 17th Century and spent his early years here before moving to Anandpur. Handi Sahib (20 kms) is also visited along with Patna Sahib.Patna Sahib was also visited by Guru Nanak and Guru Tegh Bahadur and thus, it is even more relevant and significant as a popular Sikh pilgrimage site. Several sacred relics are preserved in this Gurudwara, which include religious scriptures and weapons of armoury.
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib
It is the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru HarKrishanji. It is regarded as a globally-known destination, when it comes to pilgrimage sites for Sikhs. Some more gurudwara include Gurudwara Sisganj, Rakab Ganj Gurudwara and the famous Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara witnessed the stay of the eighth Guru Sri HarKrishanji, who was entirely devoted to the selfless service of the sick and poor.
Hemkund Sahib near Valley of Flowers a shrine is encircled by seven snow clad peaks and their associated glaciers. This area is accessible during June – Sept period. Hemkund Sahib (also spelled Hemkunt), formally known as Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib Ji, is a Sikh place of worship and pilgrimage site in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India. It is devoted to Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth Sikh Guru, and finds mention in Dasam Granth, a work dictated by Guruji himself. It is here that Guru Gobind Singhji unified with God after prolonged meditation
Lakhpat near Nakhatrana (Kutch) has religious significance for Sikhism as Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, reportedly camped here on his journey to Mecca.
Paonta Sahib is an important pilgrimage for Sikhs. It is believed that Guru Gobind Singh’s horse stopped at this place on its own and he decided to stay here. 50 kms from Dehradun, 150 kms from Chandigarh.Paonta Sahib, located on the bank of River Yamuna, is yet another place of interest for Sikh pilgrims tours India. It is the location of its namesake Gurudwara, which is linked to Guru Gobind Singh and houses weapons used by him. The Gurudwara is considered the site where he wrote several religious scriptures, before heading to Anandpur Sahib for the establishment of Khalsa Panth.
Sikh Guru Gobind Singhji also resided at Rewalsar Lake (45 kms from Mandi) for one month and therefore sacred to Sikhs. Mani Karan Sahib Gurudwara was built in order to commemorate the visit of Sri Guru Nanak Dev to the place. Here, one can find hot water springs, which are said to have curative and magical properties. Guru Gobind Singh is also believed to have visited this site, thus adding to its reverence as a Sikh pilgrimage spot.
Gurdwara Bari Sangat
Gurdwara Bari Sangat is the most notable historical Gurdwara in Kolakata(West Bengal). The Gurdwara was visited by Guru Nanak Dev & Guru Tegh Bahadur and therefore visited by Sikhs as a Pilgrimage
India is a wonderful destination for the followers of this religion. Speaking of great religious leaders and selfless sacrifice of Sikh warriors, these places invoke a feeling of pride and devotion in the minds of visitors. Some of these Gurudwaras and shrines are marvels of excellent architecture while others are reminders of historic dates in the eventful Sikh history. Having a lot of reasons to be proud of glorious historical past, these pilgrimage destinations ideally represent Sikhism – the religion that signifies a spiritual life and the oneness of God.