Volume: 17, No: 10 ; October-2023
In the bustling lanes of Naka Hindola, a historic neighbourhood of Lucknow, stands a majestic edifice that bears witness to the glorious legacy of the Sikh faith in the city of Nawabs. This is the Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, also known as Bada Gurdwara, the first and the foremost Gurdwara of Lucknow. It is not only a place of worship but also a cultural centre, a social service provider, and a symbol of communal harmony.
The Gurdwara has a special significance for the Sikhs, as it is believed to be the place where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder and the first guru of Sikhism, spent a night during his first ‘Udasi’, or spiritual journey, between 1497 and 1509. He was travelling from Haridwar to Ayodhya, and also visited Kakori, where he met Bhagat Bikhan, a medieval saint whose hymns are enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs. This Gurdwara in Lucknow was built in 1898 by Rai Bahadur Sardar Saligram Singh, who came to know about this historical fact and bought the land to honour the guru. The records that documented the history of the Gurdwara were lost in the flames of Partition, but the oral tradition has kept the memory alive.
The Gurdwara is also the only one in the state, if not the country, where all the festivals and events of the Sikh community are celebrated with fervour and devotion. It is here that the tradition of Nagar Kirtan, a religious procession with hymns and music, was started in the city. On the eve of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the guru, the Gurdwara is thronged by devotees who pay their respects and seek blessings. The Gurdwara is adorned with lights and flowers, and the air is filled with the fragrance of incense and the sound of prayers.
The Gurdwara has also been a refuge for many during the turbulent times of history. It provided shelter and solace to the Sikhs who faced persecution and violence during the Partition and the 1984 riots. It also organised several inter-faith conferences to promote peace and harmony and uphold the Ganga-Jamuna culture of Awadh.The Gurdwara has also been a benefactor of the poor and needy and has made significant contributions in the fields of education and healthcare. During the first lockdown due to Covid-19, it tirelessly helped the migrant workers and ensured that no one went hungry.
The Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Naka Hindola is thus a shining example of the Sikh spirit of service, sacrifice, and solidarity. It is a beacon of hope and faith for the people of Lucknow and beyond. It is a testimony to the rich and vibrant heritage of the Sikh community in the city of Nawabs.
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