Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Chandni Chowk, Delhi | The DelhiPedia
Gurudwara Sis Ganj in Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi (Delhi) is a pilgrim centre for Hindus as well as Sikhs. One of the most deeply revered Sikh shrines, Sis Ganj Gurdwara marks the site of the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur the 9th Sikh Guru, who willingly accepted torture and death at the hands of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, to protect the right of every Hindu to follow his own religion.
In an effort to convert all Hindus, Emperor Aurangzeb was advised by his Maulvis that he must first convert all the Brahmins, who were the main exponents of Hinduism. He issued orders against all Brahmins including from Kashmir, Hardwar, and Benaras. Hundreds were jailed and many were killed. They were taxed unjustly tortured, and asked to convert to Islam or die.
A delegation of 500 Brahmins from several centres of learning, led by Pundit Kripa Ram came to Anandpur to make an appeal to Guru Tegh Bahadur to help and prevent these forced conversions. Guru Teg Bahadur took it upon himself to protect the Pandits and the entire Hindu faith which was under threat. A message was sent to Emperor Aurangzeb that all the Brahmins would embrace Islam only if Guru Tegh Bahadur accepted conversion. If the Emperor could not achieve this one conversion, the Pandits and thereby all the Hindus must be permitted to follow their religious beliefs and practices.Aurangzeb invited Guru Teg Bahadur to Delhi. The Guru was accompanied by five of his disciples Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Dyal Das and Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Udhe and Bhai Gurditta.
Through Aurangzeb’s orders, Gurujee was put in a small iron cage and offered only one option - to embrace Islam or be beheaded. Gurujee preferred beheading to conversion.Three of Gurujee’s disciples were tortured before his eyes and then put to death.
On Nov 11, 1675, the order was given to execute Guru Tegh Bahadur. He was allowed to perform ablutions at a nearby well. After that he sat under this banyan tree where he recited Japji sahib before he was executed nearby.
A huge sand storm hit the city and under cover of the storm a devotee named Lakhi Shah carried Gurujee’s body in his cart and carried it to his home near Raisina village near where Gurdwara Rajab is Ganj today To ensure that proper funeral rites could be performed, he set his house on fire, so the Mughal soldiers would not suspect what was happening. Meanwhile, under the cover to dark, Bhai Jaita lifted Gurujee’s head from the execution site and secretly carried it to Anandpur Sahab. This enabled Gurujee’s son Guru Gobind Singh and the sangat to provide proper cremation rites with due respect and reverence.
Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom is unique as he fell victim to the bigotry of the ruling emperor, and he sacrificed his life, not for himself or for his faith, but to give the Hindus of India the right to practice their religion.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahab today stands on the site of Gurujee’s execution. Tens of thousands of devotees and pilgrims daily visit the holy shrine. Besides the sanctorum of the gurudwara, pilgrims see the enclosure where Gurujee was held captive, the well where he bathed and the banyan tree under which he recited the last Japjee Sahab. Just below the Prakash sthaan where the holy Granth is placed every morning, is a small room. A set of steps leads to this sacred places as this is the exact spot where Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life. The trunk of the tree where Gurujee was martyred has been preserved. Throughout the day the sound of melodious kirtan fills the air.
Pilgrims can see the place adjoining the Gurdwara where once stood the Kotwali (police station), where Guru jee was imprisoned and his disciples were tortured. Today this houses the langar building and a sarai or guesthouse for travelers. Just opposite the Gurudwara across the Fountain Chowk, is the museum of paintings that records many chapters of Sikh history. As in all important Gurudwaras across the country, langar, or the free kitchen daily feeds thousands of pilgrims around the clock.
At the 300th Anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi commended the sacrifice made by the Guru to uphold the Hindu Dharam. According to some historians, had it not been for the sacrifices made by Guru Teg Bahadur and his Sikhs, India would probably have been entirely an Islamic country today and there would not have been any Hindus. That is the debt the country owes to Guru Teg Bahadur and the Sikhs and that is why Gurdwara Sis Ganj should be a must- visit pilgrimage site for every Indian.
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