Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is not just a very prominent Sikh house of worship but a magnet for people of all faiths & religions from all over the world, who come here to revel in its sanctity. There is something unique in the very air of this place – a serenity, a sort of cool comfort that instantly draws you inside & once you’re there, the outside world all but ceases to exist.
The Gurudwara is almost entirely built with white marble, a perfect image of purity & peace. A typical visit to the shrine entails taking off your footwear at the entrance, reverentially covering your head with a cloth, washing your hands & feet with the cool water and paying your respects to the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy book, placed in a gold Palki (palanquin) at the centre of a sprawling main hall.
Thereon, you receive the Karah Parshad (food offering) & embark upon a Parikrama (circumambulation) of the Sarovar (pond). An array of vibrantly colored fish gather around your feet, looking on curiously as you splash your hands & feet with the water or take a dip in it.
With its magnificent golden dome & the tall Nishan Sahib (sacred flagpole), the Gurudwara is easy to locate by virtue of it being built on a raised ground. It is housed in the erstwhile bungalow of Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur, an important member of 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s court.
The Healing Tank
History says that the eighth Sikh guru, Guru Harkrishan, once lived here for several months as the Raja’s guest. During that time an epidemic of small pox & cholera broke out. Guru Harkrishan is said to have spent most of his time serving the diseased, giving them water from the well in the bungalow’s compound, eventually contracting the disease himself & dying at the tender age of five.
To honour the illuminated soul, the Raja built a tank over the well. Today the water from here has attained the proportions of Holy water that can cure all ailments. Such is the power of this faith that people pour in from places far & wide to take away this holy water in bottles/cans for their kin.
A Spiritual Aura
The place exudes an altogether different aura, one that is hard to put in words. The Sarovar ensures that the environs are always cool. People are always ready to help & guide the uninitiated. The soft sounds of the Shabad Gurbani (words from the holy text set to music) rent the air. People of all ages, from all walks of life, irrespective of caste or religion, take time off from their own lives to volunteer for tasks like minding footwear, cleaning the grounds & preparing the Langar (food) that is served to anyone who comes in hungry. The feeling of selfless community service is moving.
Add to it a museum of Sikh history, a secondary school, a well-stocked library & a multi-level car park, and you have the perfect picture of a modern day haven away from the hustle-bustle of the city. A short distance away from both Rajiv Chowk & Patel Chowk Metro Stations, the Gurudwara is situated close to Connaught Place (CP), a major shopping & business hub of Delhi.
You surely don’t want to miss the magic!