Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib
Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib is the principal Sikh shrine at Nanded in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It marks the site where Guru Gobind Singh had his camp in 1708, after the departure of the emperor Bahadur Shah and where, in October 2008, the 300th anniversary celebration of the Guruship of Guru Granth Sahib took place.
The tenth Guru held his court and congregation here. It is the site of his own tent where he was convalescing after he was attacked by assassins and the place at which Guru Gobind Singh ji ‘s light rose to rejoin the light of the Creator. This site is now one of Five Takhats which are places of primary importance to the Sikhs. The other four takhats are: Akal Takhat at Amritsar, Takhat Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur, Takhat Patna Sahib in Bihar District and Takhat Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo, Bhatinda, Punjab.
The Guru dispatches Banda Singh
In 1708 being prescient of the end of his earthly role, the Guru had dispatched Banda Singh with five of his Sikhs to Punjab and Mata Sahib Devan under a separate escort to Delhi before the stabbing incident. He told the rest of his retinue to retire to their homes if they so wished, but he bade one Bhai Santokh Singh to stay on here and keep Guru ka Langar going.
However, many others also chose to remain. Together they built a room over the platform where Guru Gobind Singh would sit while holding his court and installed the Guru Granth Sahib on it. They called it Takhat Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh, while conferring Guruship on the holy Book, had himself named Nanded as “Abchalnagar” (literally “Steadfast city”) after the first word of a hymn read at random on the occasion.
Creation of Hazur Sahib
Sachkhand (literally “region of Truth”) had been used by Guru Nanak Dev to mean the abode of God. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), had the present day building of the Takhat Sahib constructed, sending money, artisans and labor from the Punjab Kingdom, Under Sardar Chanda Singh. Present Takhat was constructed, from 1832-1837. Around the same time the Nizam of Hyderabad raised a contingent of Northern Sikhs as part of his army. Most of these men settled permanently in Hyderabad State. Many militant and righteous Hindus of that State, embraced Sikhism in the 19th century.
The control of Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib, was In the hands of Bhai Daya Singh, and Bhai Dharam Singh, But after 1708, which had formerly passed into the hands of Udasi priests, But was regained by the Sikhs under the influence of the Singh Sabha Movement of the late nineteenth century (1872-1879). Some of the ‘rituals and ceremonies connected with working’ are peculiar to this Takhat Sahib. In 1956 an Act was passed by the legislature of Hyderabad under which the management of the Takhat Sahib and other historical Gurdwaras was legally placed under a 17 member Gurudwaras Board and a five member Managing Committee.
Travelling to Hazoor Sahib
If you are pressed for time, both Mumbai and Delhi have flights to Nanded’s Guru Gobind Singh Airport.
Mumbai to Nanded takes about an hour with fares starting as low as Rs. 2,081 (Go air) and Rs. 5,351 (Kingfisher)
Delhi to Nanded takes about two and a half hours with fares starting as low as Rs. 3,706 (Go air) and Rs. 4,406 (Kingfisher)
Fares vary from day to day, they may be checked at:
Train, auto or bus
Having traveled to Hazoor Sahib in Feb 2000 with my sister and mother, here are some details about our trip which may help.
We flew into Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in in Feb 2000. Wanting to go to Nanded in Maharastra, which is 600 KM (400 Miles) East of Mumbai (inland). You can drive, about 15 hours; take a train, about 11 hours or a bus, (estimating) about 20 hours or so.
Pre-booking (which we had not done) is required for the train, so we chose to rent a car with a driver for the day. It took nearly 15 hours to get to Nanded.
When we arrived we went straight to Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib and got a room in the halls there. The Diwas (hall) was apparently built for foreign visitors (sangat). The room was clean with 3 single beds with mattresses, It had a geezer (hot water heater) and a western style toilet.
The next day we hired a jeep with driver for 2 days, because there are appox 9 Gurdwaras to see. On the 1st day we saw the main Gurdwara, Sachkand Sahib. WOW what a spiritual Gurdwara. They do Ardas 3 times a day, after Ardas they open a special room (the Toshkhana) that houses artifacts from the days of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji. The artifacts are brought out and shown to all, including a Sword and Kalangi belonging to Guru Gobind Singh Ji and a sword belonging to Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji. The Sewadars take great pride in explaining each item to visitors, unfortunately its not like a western stele museum as we were not allowed to go into the storage area.
Then we went to the train station to book passage to Punjab, afterwards we went on to see the other 6 gurdwaras around Nanded, which all have their own history.
The next day we went to a Gurdwara called Nanak Chira, which is in the neighboring state of Karnataka. Nanak Chira is only 200KM south of Nanded, but the roads were so terrible that the trip took 4 hours by Jeep (one way). The Gurdwara has been built on a site that was once visited by Guru Nanak, on one of his many travels.
On the 3rd day we got the Sachkand Express Train to Ludhiana in Punjab. It took 32 hours to get from Nanded to Ludhiana. There are various classes of seat, if comfort is your main concern, the best one to get is the ‘A/C 2 Tier’, which was expensive, but very comfortable. (Which is what you need on a 32 hour train journey
Nanded prepares for the 300th Anniversary in 2008
The tercentenary celebration of the Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is to be celebrated in a massive celebration next year in October 2008 at Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib in Nanded. The main Sikh Gurdwara situated in Nanded, Maharashtra is undergoing a huge rebuilding exercise to facilitate the large inflow of pilgrims for this rare and very important occasion for the Sikhs. This event is of great relevance to the worldwide Sikh Community and will involve the remembrance of the 300th years of consecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the final and perpetual Guru of Sikhs as ordained by Guru Gobind Singh in 1708. The event will also commemorate the 300th anniversary of the accession of Guru Gobind Singh to his heavenly abode.
The main celebrations will be over 8 days duration and will be conducted in the month of October 2008. It is estimated that this event will attract 2,500,000-3,000,000 visitors from all over the world during the last three months of 2008.
Guru Granth Sahib in all Indian languages by 2008
Tribune Article by Ashok Sethi Amritsar, December 12
An eminent Sikh religious studies scholar, Dr. Harbans Lal, said today that the Punjab Government had decided to translate the Guru Granth Sahib into all Indian languages.
Talking to the Tribune on the concluding day of the fourth International Conference on Guru Granth Sahib organised by Guru Nanak Dev University, professor emeritus Harbans Lal said although the holy granth had already been translated into Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, English, German and French, there was a need to translate it into other languages also.
Mr Harbans Lal had been appointed consultant to a Punjab government-sponsored NGO, which would be headed by Principal Jasbir Singh, a renowned Sikh resource person. He said the translation work would be completed by 2008.
Giving a brief of the four-day international conference, Dr Harbans Lal said eminent academicians and scholars of the Sikh religion had acknowledged the comprehensive history of the compilation of the Adi Granth, which stresses inter-faith character, universal message, respect for human rights, justice, peace and freedom of religious practices.
The consensus among the scholars was that the Adi Granth had visualised world peace through understanding. They felt that the ancient wisdom of the granth would be of a great value to the modern world and our civil society.
The international conference adopted 10-point guiding principles, which were endorsed by the representatives of the leading international organisations, including Mr Marcus Braybrook, President, World Congress of Faiths, Mr Tatiana Androsov, World Centre for Thanksgiving, Alfredo Sfeir Younis, World Bank, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi of Sikh Dharma International, Dr Inderjit Kaur, Dr Rajwant Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Dr Harbans Lal, president of the Academy of Guru Granth Sahib Studies, Mrs Rajinderjit Kaur of the Sikh Women Association and Temple of Understanding, Mr Pritpal Singh Bindra and Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.
The guiding principles are: to recognise the presence of the divine light in every living human being; recognise that earth is created according to God’s cosmic blueprint and is intrinsically good; God is the creator and its creative manifestation extend to all humans; it is human destiny to emulate the divine attribute, experience divinity in work and service, follow the principles of righteous living by believing in equality, dignity, justice and human behaviour that cleanse the body and the mind; to build an institution of altruism and sharing social infrastructure; to advocate for those who are most vulnerable, uphold spiritual and moral responsibility to guide politics and finally to build the world order without the culture of “mine and yours” psychology.
Travelling to Hazoor Sahib
Hazoor Sahib and Gurdwara Nanak Chira by Car from HYD. Route is given below:
Delhi to Hydrabad departure saturday morning flight, arrived in Hydrabad 0815 a.m. Hired taxi to Hazoor Sahib @ 6 Rs per K.M.(NON AC) Total K.M. Hydrabad to Nanded 290 covered in exact 5hrs,( Highway road is very good) taxes paid enroute 600/- reached in Nanded at 2.p.m stayed over night and next day went to Bidar by Taxi Total k.m 170 covered in 4 Hrs as road is very bad Nanded to Bidar. Bidar to Hyd 130 K.M covered in 3 Hrs again highway is very good…total journey by road is 600 K.M..took Sunday evening flight and came back to Delhi.