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Culture

SULTANPUR LODHI: A SACRED PLACE FOR THE SIKHS

September 16, 2022 10:23 PM
Dr Amrit Kaur

The town of Sultanpur Lodhi which falls in the present day Kapurthala District of

Punjab, is a sacred place for the Sikhs. Among the sacred places relating to Sri Guru

Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539) the first prophet-teacher of the Sikhs, in addition to

Nankana Sahib, District Nankana Sahib (Pakistan), Kartarpur Sahib, District Narowal

(Pakistan) and Dera Baba Nanak, District Gurdaspur of Punjab this town is of

paramount importance for the Sikhs.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on April 15, 1469 at Rai Bhoi Ki Talvandi now called

Nankana Sahib 65 kms south-west of Lahore, now in Pakistan. But by custom his

Janam Purab is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Kartik. Sri Guru

Nanak Dev Ji came to Sultanpur Lodhi approximately at the age of 15-16 years and

stayed in this town for 14 years 9 months and 13 days. It was here that he attained

the spiritual light and henceforth started his udasis i.e. long tours in the four

directions to spread the message he had received from the God Almighty.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji came to Sultanpur Lodhi on an invitation from his sister Bebe

Nanaki Ji and her husband Jai Ram Ji to involve him in some trade. Jai Ram Ji, who

was in the service of local Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi got Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji

appointed as incharge of the modikhana (state granary). In the course of weighing

the grains when he came to number 13 i.e. 'tera' which means 'thine' he would

continuously repeat the words 'tera tera' and would go on weighing the grains

continuously. At this place in his sacred memory now stands Gurdwara Hatt Sahib

which is situated in the southern direction of the fort behind the Government sarai.

The 14 weights used by him are still preserved in this Gurdwara.

At the place where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was detained when his accounts were

being checked on the basis of a false complaint made to Nawab Daulat Khan that he

was giving away grains liberally now stands Gurdwara Kothari Sahib. On checking

the accounts, however, it was found that in the granary there were more grains than

necessary.

After Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode, the Hindus and Muslims wrangled over his mortal remains each claiming him to be their prophet. But there

they found only a chadar (cloth sheet) instead of his body. Each of the two communities took one-half of this cloth. The Hindus and the Sikhs put their portion of

the cloth in an urn and constructed a dehura (samadh) and the Muslims built a grave. But the waters of river Ravi started eroding its right bank threatening Guru

Sahib's samadh.

The principal shrine at Sultanpur Lodhi is Gurdwara Ber Sahib which is situated on

the bank of the rivulet Kali Bein which is at a distance of half a kilometre from the old

town in the western direction. During his stay at Sultanur Lodhi Sri Guru Nanak Dev

Ji after performing his morning ablutions in the rivulet Kali Bein would sit under a ber

(jujuba) tree to meditate. This tree is still extant.At this place Bhora Sahib is also

present where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji sat for meditation. At the place where he

meditated the thara (platform) on which he sat still exists. At this sacred place now

stands the spacious and elegant Gurdwara Ber Sahib.

One morning after meditation he disappeared into this stream and reappeared three

days later at a spot 2 kms upstream which is now known as Sant Ghat. At this place

now stands Gurdwara Sant Ghat Sahib. During these three days he had an intimate

communication with the Divine. On his reappearance he uttered the words 'Na Ko

Hindu, Na Musalman' (there is no Hindu, there is no Musalman). He also uttered the

'Mul Mantra' the opening clause of Japji Sahib.

By uttering the words that 'there is no Hindu, there is no Musalman'. he reconciled

the two warring communities into one brotherhood. Because of this utterance he was

called by Nawab Daulat Khan to explain his position and also to participate in Namaz

(muslim prayer) with him. The Nawab and the Qazi recited the Namaz but Guru

Sahib stood aside. Being asked as to why he had not joined them he told them that

their minds were engrossed in something else and not the Namaz. He told them that

the Qazi was thinking of his new-born mare which he was afraid might fall in a

nearby well and that the Nawab was engrossed in purchasing horses in Kabul. They

both fell at his feet. At the site of the mosque to which Nawab Daulat Khan had

invited Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji to join him in the Namaz, now stands Gurdwara

Antaryamta Sahib.

As mentioned earlier Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had come to Sultanpur Lodhi

approximately at the age of 15-16 and stayed here for 14 years, 9 month and 13

days. It was at Sultanpur Lodhi that on September 24, 1487 he was married to Bibi

Sulakkhani Ji daughter of Mool Chand Ji and Bibi Chando Rani Ji of Batala, District

Gurdaspur, Punjab. They had two sons (Baba) Sri Chand Ji (born 1494) and Baba

Lakhmi Das Ji (born 1497). At the site of the premises where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji

resided with his wife and children which falls in the interior of the town stands

Gurdwara Guru Ka Bagh.

In Sultanpur Lodhi there is one Gurdwara in the sacred memory of Sri Guru Arjan

Dev Ji who in 1604 on his way to Dalla for the marriage of his son (Sri Guru)

Hargobind Sahib stayed overnight. This Gurdwara is named Gurdwara Sehra Sahib.

After the revelation in Kali Bein Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji left his service in the granary

and leaving behind his family embarked on udasis (long tours) on his mission to

preach the God's message. At this time he was about 29-30 years old. His first tour

which was the longest and lasted for about seven years was to the east. After this

udasi he came to Sultanpur Lodhi for a short visit and then started his second udasi

which was to the south, the third udasi was to the north and the fourth to the west.

During his parchar (preaching) campaigns he gave the message to the masses as

engrained in Mūl Mantra which are the opening lines of Japji Sahib as well as of Sri

Guru Granth Sahib.

"(ik) oaṅkār satinām kartā purakhu nirbhau nirvairu akāl mūrati ajūnī saibhaṅ

gurprasādi"

"God is one; call Him Eternal truth; He is the Supreme creator; He knows no fear and

is at enmity with none. His being is Timeless and Formless; He is autogenous,

attainable through the grace of the Guru".

He also propagated the cardinal principle "Nam Japo, Kirat Karo, Wand Chhako".

Around 1521 after his four udasis he came to the village Pakkhoke also known as

Pakkhoke Randhave now called Dera Baba Nanak which is situated on the left side

of river Ravi and falls in District Gurdaspur of Punjab. At this place his wife and

children were staying with his wife's parents. On reaching this village he alighted at

the irrigational well of Bhai Ajitta Randhawa Ji, the headman of Pakkhoke. The

members of Guru Sahib's family came to this place and his devotees began to flock

to this place. At the insistence of his family and devotees including Bhai Ajitta

Randhawa Ji, Bhai Doda Ji and Bhai Karori Mal Ji he decided to make his

permanent abode in the vicinity. Thus, shortly thereafter he moved to the other side

of the river Ravi and founded a habitation naming it 'Kartarpur' meaning 'the abode of

God' which now falls in Narowal District of Pakistan. He made this place his

permanent abode and lived here with his family for 18 years. He also invited his

parents Mehta Kalu Ji and Mata Tripta Ji to stay there. From then onwards he lived

at Kartarpur Sahib. At this place in addition to religious preaching he gave a written

version to his religious preachings. During his 18-year stay at Kartarpur Sahib he did

farming. He also gave a practical shape to his preaching 'Nam Japo, Kirat Karo,

Wand Chhako'. In Kartarpur Sahib at the place where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had set

up a dharamsal as a place of congregational worship Gurdwara Darbar Sahib,

Kartarpur has been established .

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode on 22 September, 1539 at

Kartarpur Sahib. Before leaving for his heavenly abode on September 22, 1539 he

declared Bhai Lehna Ji whom he had re-named as 'Angad' as his successor. Thus,

Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji became the second prophet-teacher of the Sikhs.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's parents Mehta Kalu Ji and Mata Tripta Ji had left for their

heavenly abode earlier in 1539. Mata Sulakkhani Ji left for her heavenly abode after

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji also at Kartarpur Sahib.

After Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode, the Hindus and Muslims

wrangled over his mortal remains each claiming him to be their prophet. But there

they found only a chadar (cloth sheet) instead of his body. Each of the two

communities took one-half of this cloth. The Hindus and the Sikhs put their portion of

the cloth in an urn and constructed a dehura (samadh) and the Muslims built a

grave. But the waters of river Ravi started eroding its right bank threatening Guru

Sahib's samadh. Therefore, his elder son Baba Sri Chand Ji got the urn exhumed

from Kartarpur Sahib and burried it on the left bank of the river Ravi at Thara Sahib,

built at the site of Ajitts Randhawa Ji's well where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had sat on

his arrival to Pakkhoke Randhave after his four udasis. At this place a small

habitation grew which came to be called 'Dehura Baba Nanak'. The word dehura

means samadh or mausoleum. Popular usage changed the word dehura into dera

(abode) and the place got the name Dera Baba Nanak.

Later on Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's grandson Baba Dharam Das Ji, son of Guru

Sahib's younger son Baba Lakhmi Das Ji founded the habitation now named as Dera

Baba Nanak. At the site of the original Dehra now stands a spacious and elegant

shrine Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak Sahib.

In the sacred memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Dera Baba Nanak there is another

shrine named Gurdwara Langar Mandir Chola Sahib which was established by Baba

Kabuli Mal Ji, a descendent of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji who had procured a chola

(loose gown) believed to have been presented by a Muslim devotee to Sri Guru

Nanak Dev Ji during his stay at Baghdad after his visit to Mecca and Madina. Baba

Kabuli Mal Ji had brought this Chola Sahib to Dera Baba Nanak on March 1, 1828

and built a room in which it was installed three days later. Since then every year from

21st to 23rd Phagun the last desi month which corresponds to the months of

February-March a congregation is arranged during which langar (free community

meal) is arranged for the pilgrims who come to have darshan (holy gimpse) of this

chola sahib.

The aerial distance between Dera Baba Nanak, District Gurdaspur, Punjab and

Kartarpur Sahib, District Narowal, Pakistan is approximately 11⁄2 kms. Currently

preparations are underway on both sides of the Indo-Pak border to construct a

Corridor to allow the devotees from the Indian side to have darshan (holy glimpse) of

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur and pay their obeisance on the auspicious

occasion of 552ND Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji the great spiritual

teacher and social reformer which fell on 19 November. This corridor provides an

access to the pilgrims to have darshan of this sacred place on a permanent basis.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 552 ND Birth Anniversary was celebrated on November 19,

2021 all over the world with great pomp and show.

DHAN DHAN SRI GURU NANAK DEV JI!

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