I am born and brought up in Delhi. I have seen most of the historical places in the city. One such place is Bangla Sahib Gurudwara that has always intrigued me because of its name. How can a Sikh place of worship have a name BANGLA which is my mother tongue? So I did some research, unfortunately, most of the sites were in Gurmukhi, a language that I cannot read (even my Punjabi wife cannot read). So I met with an uncle at Karol Bagh, a place which has large population of Sikhs and where I grew up. Uncle was more than happy to tell me the history of the place….
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is a prominent Sikh Gurudwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi, India and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. It has a pool inside its complex, known as the Sarovar. It was first built as a small temple by Sikh General, Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi in the same year, during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II. It is situated near Connaught Place, New Delhi on Baba Kharak Singh Marg and it is instantly recognisable by its stunning golden dome and tall flagpole usually called Nishan Sahib.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, ruler of Amber, Rajasthan, in the seventeenth century, and was known as Jaisinghpura Palace. The surrounding area was called Jaisingh Pura, a historic neighbourhood, later demolished to make way for the Connaught Place, the shopping district.
The eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan resided here during his stay in Delhi in 1664. During that time, there was a smallpox and cholera epidemic, and Guru Har Krishan helped the suffering by giving aid and fresh water from the well at this house. Soon he too contracted the illness and eventually died on March 30, 1664. A small tank was later constructed by Raja Jai Singh over the well; its water is now revered as having healing properties and is taken by Sikhs throughout the world back to their homes. The Gurudwara and its Sarovar are now a place of great reverence for Sikhs, and a place for special congregation on birth anniversary of Guru Har Krishan.
The grounds include the temple, a kitchen, a large (holy) pond, a school and an art gallery. As with all Sikh Gurudwara, the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurudwara kitchen (langar hall). The Langar (food) is prepared by gursikhs who work there and also by volunteers who like to help out. At the Gurudwara, visitors are requested to cover their hair and not to wear shoes. Assistance to foreigners and visitors with Guides, head scarves, and shoe-minding service can be found inside the compound and are available free of charge. Anyone can volunteer to help keep the shoes in the shoe-minding room, and cleaning the precincts of the Gurudwara.
The complex also houses a senior school, a museum, a library and a hospital. Air Conditioning has been done inside the Gurudwara and also for the Langar Hall. A new Yatri Niwas or Guest House, and multi-level parking space have been constructed as well as a toilet complex.
So at the end I realised that this magnificent place of interest has nothing to do with my mother tongue Bangla, it is in fact Bunglow Saheb that colloquially becomes Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.
Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!!!