"Wahe Guru", an expression praising the master of the
universe is on the lips of every devotee that comes to Anandpur
Sahib. You will immediately feel the sense of serenity that pervades
this 'city of divine bliss', one of the four seats of authority
of the Sikh religion, where magnificent pure-white gurudwaras beckon
pilgrims from afar. The gurudwara and forts here have witnessed
some of the most significant events in Sikh religious history. The
Khalsa Panth was founded here, a council of five wise men that governs
Sikh religious affairs was first established here, as was the practice
of worshipping the Guru Granth Sahib. Anandpur Sahib is the ideal
place to gain an insight into the essence of Sikhism that governs
the life of tough, hardy Sardars from Bhatinda to Birmingham. During
the festivals of Holla Mohalla (March) and Baisakhi (April) you
can join the sea of devotees who flock to Anandpur Sahib, converting
it into a carnival zone brimming with religious fervour, culture,
tradition and gaiety.
Anandpur Sahib is a small town 80 km from Chandigarh. It lies
in the Ropar district of north-east Punjab, on the border with
Himachal Pradesh. On one side of Anandpur Sahib are the foothills
of the towering Shivalik range, on the other, the river Sutlej.
Located on the Ambala-Sirhind-Ropar-Nangal rail route and the
Ambala-Nangal road, it is 45 km from Ropar and 22 km from Nangal.
Kesar Sahib Gurdwara lies in the centre of town and is a five
minute walk from the bus stand on the highway. Between Kesar Sahib
and the bus stand lies a market with numerous chemists, snack
shops and STD booths. The main town is spread in a labyrinth of
small lanes behind the Kesar Sahib, but also extends to the area
between Kesar Sahib and Anandgarh Fort. The railway station is
a ten minute walk from the bus stand on the main highway, towards
How to Reach
Chandigarh is the nearest airport, 97 km away. Jet Airways (daily)
and Indian Airlines (twice a week) operate flights between New
Delhi and Chandigarh. Indian Airlines also operates flights to
Chandigrah from Amritsar (twice a week) and Leh (once a week).
The main railhead for trains coming in from Mumbai is Ambala Cantonment,
125 km away. From Ambala Cantonment there are a few passenger
trains running to Nangal and an Express train as well, all of
which stop in Anandpur Sahib.
Places to visit
Anandpur Sahib is a city of gurudwara and forts. There are 33
big and small gurudwara in Anandpur and Keeratpur, all historically
connected to the visits and deeds of the Sikh gurus.
Kesar Sahib or Kesgarh Sahib is the biggest and most important
gurudwara in Anandpur Sahib. This impressive white structure is
illuminated at night and is the town's biggest landmark. It is
one of the four seats of authority of the Sikh religion and is
therefore also called Takht Kesar Sahib.
Located on a small hill this is where the revelation of Khalsa
by Guru Gobind Singh and the first initiation of the Panch Pyares
took place. The Kesar Sahib fort was built around it in 1699.
Between 1700 and 1705 armies attacked Anandpur Sahib several times,
but never penetrated the fort. It was only after Guru Gobind Singh
deserted it in 1705, that the fort was captured. Today there are
no remains of this fort.
During the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the late 1820s, peace
reigned in the region and regular granthis (priests) began serving
at Kesar Sahib gurdwara. For about a century, Kesar Sahib gurdwara
had only one granthi but after the Gurdwara Reform Movement (1920-25),
a jathedar (leader) was appointed here.
You will find the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in the
main hall of the gurdwara. In the middle of the hall behind it
you will find a small rectangular glass structure which houses
12 relics. These relics are associated with Guru Gobind Singh
and the Sikh martyrs. Six of these relics were brought from Nanded
where Guru Gobind Singh died, and five were brought from England
in 1966. They include:
Khanda - a double-edged sword believed to be the sword with which
Guru Gobind Singh prepared amrit on the day of revelation of Khalsa.
Kataar - the personal dagger of Guru Gobind Singh which was used
for hand to hand combat. Saif - a double-edged weapon. It is believed
that this weapon belonged to Khalifa Ali (the son-in-law of the
Muslim prophet Hazrat Mohammed) and had been used by Ali's sons,
Hassan and Hussain. It remained with the successors of Ali who
presented it to Aurangzeb in appreciation of his contribution
to the spread of Islam. After the accession of Bahadur Shah to
the Mughal throne, he gave it as a token of thanks to Guru Gobind
Singh. Gun a Sikh presented this gun from Lahore on the
Guru's hukamnama (order) asking Sikhs to bring him gifts of fine
horses, books and weapons.
Naagni Barchha - The blade of this spear is in the shape of a
female serpent. It was Guru Gobind Singh's spear. On September
1, 1700 when Ajmer Chand's army planned to bring a drunk elephant
to break open the main gate of the Lohagarh fort, the guru gave
Bhai Bachitar Singh the spear to turn the elephant back. He attacked
and wounded the animal with this spear causing it to retreat and
kill several soldiers of Ajmer Chand's army. Karpa Barchha - a
spear that has a hand-shaped blade that was used during the marriage
ceremony of the Guru in 1677. According to legend, there was an
acute shortage of water at Guru Ka Lahore, the venue for the wedding
ceremony. The Guru is believed to have struck the ground with
this spear causing three springs to gush forth. Today a pond stands
at the site of these three springs. In the war with Ajmer Chand,
Bhai Udey Singh killed Raja Kesari Chand (Ajmer Chand's uncle),
with this spear, then carried his head on it to present it to
the Guru. The hill soldiers shot several arrows to stop him but
the spear deflected them. The spear bears the marks of those arrows.
The gurdwara also has some assorted artefacts from England:
A big spear, a small spear, the Shamshir-i-Tegh (a sword), Dah-i-Ahni
(a golden quoit) and a shield made from rhinoceros skin, are all
part of the collection.
Attached to this gurdwara is a huge langar (free community kitchen)
hall, which reportedly, can seat 40,000 people. Three buildings
house the sarais (inns) or dharamshalas (community lodges) with
about 400 rooms where pilgrims can stay free. An information centre
within the Kesar Sahib complex can give you details of the shrine.
Tel: (01887) 3203
Gurdwara Guru de Mahal
Guru Tegh Bahahdur laid the foundation stone of Chakk Nanaki here
and this is also where Guru Gobind Singh's family lived. The sprawling
complex also includes Gurdwara Bohra Sahib, Manji Sahib and Damdama
Sahib. Damdama Sahib is also known as Gurdwara Takht Sahib, as
Guru Tegh Bahadur performed the functions of Akal Takht Sahib
from here. It was also the Diwane-i-Khas, the court of the Guru.
Guru Gobind Singh was made the tenth guru here, on July 8, 1675.
In March 1698 Guru Gobind Singh summoned all the Masands (treasurers)
to Anandpur Sahib, and they were tried here.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj
It was at this gurdwara that the head of the martyred Guru Tegh
Bahadur Singh was brought back by Bhai Jatia and his associates.
His head was cremated here on November 17, 1675. When Guru Gobind
Singh fled the town on December 5, 1705 he visited this place
and appointed Bhai Gurbaksh Das Udasi caretaker.
Gurdwara Shahidi Bagh
This is the only Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib, which is not under
the control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
You will find it on the road between Kesar Sahib and Anandgarh
fort. The gurdwara has a garden where a few skirmishes occurred
in 1705 when the Bilaspur army laid siege to Anandpur Sahib. Several
Sikhs lost their lives here and in their honour, it was named
Gurdwara Shahidi (martyrdom).
Anandgarh Sahib fort and gurudwara
This was the first fort of Anandpur Sahib. Its foundation stone
was laid on March 31, 1689. Guru Gobind Singh spent nearly 16
years in this fort, as it was strong and strategically located.
The arms and ammunition of the Khalsa army were stored here. It
was almost demolished by the army of Ajmer Chand in 1705. Several
years later, the Sikhs built a gurdwara at the site of Anandgarh
fort. Later S Jassa Singh Ahluwalia built a baoli (step well)
here. A few walls of the fort existed on the northern side until
1985, but were removed to make room for a new building. The other
fort walls were destroyed to make way for a circular road. Nevertheless,
the gurdwara perched on a hill is an impressive sight. During
the tri-centenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth in 1999, a
sound and light show depicting the history of the Sikhs in general
and Anandpur Sahib in particular was held in this gurudwara every
evening. This show commences each year during the Holla Mohalla
and Baisakhi celebrations in March/April.
Lohagarh Sahib Fort
Located two kilometres from Kesar Sahib on the Dera Harban Singh
road, across the railway line, it was the second strongest fort
of the Sikhs. Here Guru Gobind Singh had set up an arms manufacturing
factory. The hill armies of Ajmer Chand could only occupy this
fort after the Sikhs deserted Anandpur Sahib in 1705. It is the
only fort in Anandpur Sahib with a large part of its fortification
still intact. Today it is a serene place with a gurudwara in its
precincts. Lush green fields and small hamlets around give no
indication of its tumultuous past.
Agamgarh or Holgarh fort
This was the third major fort built by Guru Gobind Singh. Guru
Gobind Singh held the Holla Mohalla celebrations in front of the
main gate of this fort.
Gurdwara Baba Guruditta
It is perched on a hill one kilometre from Keeratpur on the Manali
road. This gurdwara has been built in the memory of Baba Guruditta,
son of Guru Hargobind Singh. Baba Guruditta retired to this hill
and later took samadhi here. From Baba Guruditta Gurdwara you
get a panoramic view of Keeratpur town. There is also a langar
here. On the way here, you will see another small gurdwara called
This gurdwara has been built on the banks of the river Sutlej.
It is situated across the railway tracks and is the place where
residents of Keeratpur Sahib are cremated. Guru Hargobind and
Guru Har Rai were cremated here and the ashes of Guru Harkrishan
were brought from Delhi in 1644 and immersed here. A row of stalls
line the road leading to the gurdwara. They sell interesting items
like swords, daggers and staffs. Swords are priced at Rs 165.
You have to bargain for a good deal.
Gurdwara Sish Mahal
After the foundation stone of Keeratpur Sahib was laid, the first
building to be erected was the residence of Baba Guruditta. This
gurdwara has been built on the site of that residence which was
also the home of Guru Hargobind's family from 1635 to 1663. This
gurdwara lies across the canal and is an impressive white structure.
Gurdwara Charan Kanwal
It was built in the memory of Guru Nanak Sahib who visited the
place a century before the town was established. The gurdwara
is next to Sish Mahal, just off the main road of Keeratpur, across
the canal. It is under renovation during 2001.
Over the centuries, the Sikh gurus founded a number of towns
and turned several villages into major towns. The first town founded
by Guru Nanak was Kartarpur in present-day Pakistan. It is generally
believed that Anandpur Sahib was built upon the town of Chakk
Nanaki founded by Guru Tegh Bahadur on June 19, 1665.
When Raja Deep Chand, the ruler of Bilaspur died in April 1665,
Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Bilaspur to pray. While he was there,
the dowager Rani Champa (the queen of Bilaspur) heard that the
Guru had decided to shift his headquarters to Dhamtan about 200
km away. She approached the Guru's mother Mata Nanaki, and begged
her to ask the Guru not to move away from Bilaspur. On his mother's
request, Guru Tegh Bahadur agreed to stay back. He refused the
Rani's offer of land and instead purchased some land around the
ruins of the village of Makhowal. It was a peaceful area for meditation,
art and intellectual activity, and safe from military attack.
Bhai Guruditta laid the foundation stone of this new town in June
1665 at the present site of the gurdwara Guru De Mahal. Guru Tegh
Bahadur named the new town Chakk Nanaki after his mother. Chakk
Nanaki had the protection of the Charn Ganga stream on two sides
and river Sutlej on the third.
After setting up Chakk Nanaki, Guru Tegh Bahadur was unable to
visit it for the next six years. In March 1672 he moved back to
Chakk Nanaki and finally established it as the Sikh religious
headquarters. After Guru Tegh Bahadur achieved martyrdom on November
11, 1675 his son, Guru Gobind Singh came to Chakk Nanaki. On March
30, 1689 he laid the foundation of a new town and named it Anandpur
Sahib. Today Chakk Nanaki, the old town of Anandpur Sahib and
the adjoining villages of Sahota, Lodhipur, Agampur, Mataur and
others, form the new town of Anandpur Sahib.
Your Itinerary for Anandpur Sahib
(Delhi-Chandigarh-Parivar Vichhorra- Anandpur Sahib- Amritsar-Tarn
Taran - Gobindwal- Hazoor Sahib - Amritsar- Baba Bakala Amritsar-Delhi
(7 Days/6 Nights) )
Day 01: Delhi - Arrive Delhi
and transfer to hotel. After lunch half-day visit to Gurdwara
Sisganj. Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and Gurdwara Rakhab Ganj. Dinner
and overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Delhi / Chandigarh / Parivar
Vichhorra / Anandpur Sahib/ Chandigarh - After breakfast,
depart for Chandigarh by car/coach (238kms/5hrs). Check-in at
Hotel Shivalik or similar. After lunch, visit Parivar Vichhorra
(52kms/2hrs) and drive onto Anandpur Sahib (30kms/ 1hr) -fortress
temple situated on the left bank of the River Satluj founded by
the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. It was here that the Sikh
religion acquired its final military character. Back to Chandigarh
for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 03: Chandigarh / Amritsar (250
kms/ 6.5hrs) - After breakfast, sight-seeing tour of Chandigarh,
visiting the Museum. High Court, Assembly Chamber and Rock Garden.
After lunch, depart by car/coach for Amritsar, situated on the
north-western border of the country. The 400 years old city, founded
by the fourth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ramdas, has been the seat
of Sikh religion and culture from its very inception. It is renowned
for the famous Golden Temple. Amritsar, literally - 'Pool of Nectar',
derives its name from the holy pond around the temple. The land
for the pool was gifted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Check-in
at Hotel Amritsar International or similar on arrival. Dinner
and overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Amritsar/Tarn Taran / Gobindwal
/ Hazoor Sahib / Amritsar - After breakfast, excursion to
Tarn Taran (22kms/ 3/4 hr), famous for a gurdwara standing on
the side of a large tank and built in honour of Guru Arjun Dev.
Lepers come from far-off places to have a dip in the tank, for
it is believed that its water can help cure Leprosy. Proceed to
Gobindwal (22kms/'/;hr). a short run from Tarn Taran, connected
to the memory of Guru Amardas who lived there. A gurdwara built
by the Guruji still stands there. Since no space was available
for a tank, an underground 'Baoli' was constructed near the gurdwara
with a flight of 84 steps leading to it. Continue onto Hazoor
Sahib (10kms/1/4hr), where the Samadhi (memorial) of the second
Sikh guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji, was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh
in 1815. Return to Amritsar and after lunch, visit the Golden
Temple. Built in the midst of the holy pool by Maharaja Ranjit
Singh in 1803. It is also known as Darbar Sahib or Har Mandir
Sahib. The dome of the temple is covered with an estimated 400kgs
of gold leaf, hence its popular name the 'Golden Temple'. The
interiors of the temple, like-wise, decorated by inlay work with
delicate floral patterns is done with semi-precious stones. Adjoining
the pool is Akal Takht, established by the sixth Sikh guru, Guru
Hargobind Singh. It is the seat of the supreme head of the Sikh
religious authority. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Arnritsar/Jalianwala Bagh/Baba
Bakala/Amritsar - After breakfast, visit Jalianwala Bagh (24kms/3/4hr),
the historic site where hundreds of innocent Indian men, women
and children were massacred by British General Michael Dyer on
April 13, 1919. A memorial and garden have been created here as
a national monument. Proceed to Baba Bakala (21kms/3/4hr), a place
associated with the ninth Sikh guru, Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur, having
a magnificent gurdwara where people gather in thousands on every
Amavas. An annual fair is held on Raksha Bandhan with about a
hundred thousand people visiting the place, commemorating the
day when the ninth guru was located by his followers. Return to
Amritsar (45kms/1.5hrs). Lunch, dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 06 : Amritsar/Delhi - Morning
return to Delhi by train (Shatabdi Express 0:0510/A:1100), breakfast
on board. Check-in and lunch at Hotel Imperial or similar on arrival.
Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Delhi/Back Home-After
breakfast, half-day city sight-seeing tour, visiting Red Fort
- the symbol of Moghul power and elegance built in red sand-stone
by the fifth Moghul Emperor Shah Johan when he shifted his capital
to Shahjahanabad from Agra in 1638; India Gate - the country's
memorial to the unknown soldier; and Qutub Minar - built in red
sandstone in Islamic style, the tower is 71m tall with its walls
consisting of intricately carved quotations from the Holy Quran.
After lunch, transfer to the airport to catch flight for onward