A Gurdwara is a special place for Sikhs to gather, similar to how Hindus go to a temple, Muslims to a mosque, or Christians to a church.

If you've never been to a Gurdwara service, it might seem a bit confusing. But what makes a Gurdwara important is the presence of the Sacred Sikh Scripture, called "Sri Guru Granth Sahib," written in Gurmukhi Script. This scripture gives the Gurdwara its religious significance. Even though people might call it the Guru's home (meaning God's home), Sikhs believe that God is everywhere. It's like a special place to connect with the divine and share in the Sikh faith.

In a Gurdwara, Sikhs don't have statues or pictures because they only worship God, who they believe doesn't have a physical form. Three important things happen in all Gurdwaras: Kirtan, Katha, and Langar.

Kirtan, Katha and Langar 

Kirtan is when they sing hymns from their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. It's like musical prayers that connect them to God. Katha is like a story session where the teachings from Guru Granth Sahib are explained in words. It's a big part of how Sikhs practice their faith. Many people learn about Sikhism and feel a sense of enlightenment through Katha. It's not just about spirituality; it also shares stories from the past.

Langar is the special meal served in the Gurdwara. Everyone gets a free, vegetarian meal, and it is served with kindness and respect. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe, you're welcome to share in this communal meal. It's something that happens every time people gather in the Gurdwara.

Sanctity of God’s home 

Gurdwaras, besides their main functions, also act as Sikh community hubs globally. They serve as libraries for Sikh books, schools for teaching kids Gurmukhi and Sikh scriptures, and hubs for organizing charitable activities for Sikhs.

When you enter a Gurdwara, take off your shoes and cover your head to show respect for the Guru Granth Sahib's authority. Approaching the Guru Granth Sahib, bow down, touching the floor with your forehead. This not only shows respect but also signifies your submission to the divine teachings in the Sacred Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

In a Gurdwara, Guru Granth Sahib sits on a special platform called Takhat, like a throne under a canopy. A person uses a whisk called a chaur during the service, waving it over Guru Granth Sahib.

People in a Gurdwara sit on the carpeted floor to show humility to Guru Granth Sahib. It also makes everyone equal, giving them the same status. So, whether you're young or old, rich or not, everyone sits together on the floor.

A Gurdwara  nurtures the Sikh spirit while welcoming all to find comfort in its teachings and warmth of its community. With its doors ever open, the Gurdwara weaves  faith, service, and equality serving as a  gateway to the Guru .

*Based on an article by Manmohan Singh Bharara (Manny), the co-founder of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar and the founder of Sikh Faith Organization of Spiritual Enlightenment, UjaroDeepa.Org, published in Southington on 15th November 2011


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