June 2009
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Gurudwara Sis Ganj – located in the heart of Chandni Chowk

Getting into Chandni Chowk means taking the road from Red Fort and leading directly perpendicular to it. You see a straight road with a divider, and unless you are in the middle of the night or early morning, the road will be crowded with all sorts of traffic. There are numerous shops, and side roads that lead to narrow bustling shopping lanes. As you move ahead, you will see a beautiful Gurudwara to the left side, and this is called Gurdwara Sis Ganj. It is a pivotal part of life in Chandni Chowk, and you can see a huge number of devotees moving in and out of the Gurudwara. Not too many of these people though know the history of the Gurudwara, or the significance.
The life of the Sikh Gurus was built on the concept of sacrifice and not protecting their lives if their was something fundamental at stake. Thus it was during the time of the great (but cruel) Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who was more of a zealot than many of his previous Mughal emperors. This was also a time when there was a clash between the Mughals and the Sikh Gurus, and when the Mughal Emperor was forcibly converting Hindus to Islam. It was then that the Guru told a group of Pandits who approached him to tell the emperor that Aurangzeb should first convince the Guru to convert to Islam, and then only go to the Pandits.
The Guru refused and was imprisoned by the Emperor’s men. He was finally beheaded on November 11th, 1675. His body was cremated secretly by one of his followers so that it would not be on display. Similarly, the separated head was taken to Chakk Nanaki in Anandpur Sahib. After around a century when the Mughal influence had waned and Sikhs had become more forceful, one of his followers Sardar Bhagel Singh, built the Gurudwara. The Gurudwara is made of white marble, has several domes with spires for flags and a water body for religious purposes. It took around Rs. 10 lakh and manpower of 4000 people over various stages to complete the Gurudwara.
The main structure of the Gurudwara is a large open hall. This is very spacious and has a bronze canopy in the middle under which, the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs is kept. The Guru Granth Sahib is covered with a large red tunic cloth and garlands. At night, the book is ceremonially carried to a special room in the gurudwara. Here it is kept in a transparent and well-lit glass chamber for the visitors. The book is kept there in a special-resting closet. It is surrounded by the pieces of tree trunk of the same banyan tree under which the Guru was martyred. There is also an enclosed structure where the guru was held prisoner before being executed. The people who go to the Sis Ganj Gurdwara also visit the well in which the Guru used to take his daily bath when he was in prison.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest of the five sons of Guru Har Gobind. He was born in Amritsar in the early hours of 1st April 1621. The name Tegh Bahadur (mighty of the sword), was given to him by Guru Har Gobind after he had shown his valour in a battle with the Mughals.

Some photos of the Gurudwara can be seen at this link.

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