Located in the heart of New Delhi, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is one of the historically important Sikh shrines . It stands for the rich legacy of Sikh spirituality, strength and the lasting legacy of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs.
This Gurudwara is not just a place of worship but symbolizes the faith and commitment of the Sikh community to its principles.
The historical significance of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is deeply rooted in the events that followed the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji in 1675. After the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb executed the guru in Delhi for defending religious freedom and the rights of the oppressed, his body was left unguarded. It was at this moment that Bhai Lakhi Shah Banjara, a faithful Sikh, emerged as a ray of courage and devotion.
Role of Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara
Amid the chaos and fear in Delhi, a devout Sikh named Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara risked his life to retrieve the guru's body. Bhai Lakhi Shah hid it in a hay cart (called "rakab" in Punjabi) and took the holy remains of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to his residence near present-day Rakab Ganj Sahib.
At great personal risk, Bhai Lakhi Shah brought out the holy remains of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji from the place of execution of Banjara. This unparalleled devotion ensured that the body of the guru was saved from pollution.
He used Rakab (shovel) and Ganji (market) to cremate the guru's body and because of his deep devotion, the place was known as Rakab Ganj .
Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib was officially established in 1783 when the eminent Sikh leader Sardar Baghel Singh laid the foundation stone. The Gurudwara was built exactly where the body of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was cremated. It has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, evolving into the magnificent sanctuary that it is today .
The architecture of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is an evidence to Sikh craft and spiritual beauty.
The main prayer hall is decorated with intricate artwork and an impressive marble floor .
Under the central shade rests the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, where devotees gather to listen to sacred hymns and teachings.
The Gurudwara also has a Sarovar (holy tank) which symbolizes purity and spirituality.
Community Kitchen - Langar
One of the special features of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, like all gurudwaras, is the Langar. It is a free community kitchen that serves food to all irrespective of caste, creed or social status. This tradition started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji embodies the Sikh principles of equality, selfless service and compassion. Visitors and volunteers participate in the langar, creating bonds of unity and humility.
Cultural & Spiritual Significance
For Sikhs, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is not just a physical structure; it is a sacred place that represents their faith and principles. It is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by Sikh martyrs to protect their religious freedom and justify the values of justice, equality and compassion.
The Gurudwara is a beacon of interfaith harmony that reflects Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji's legacy of upholding religious freedom for all.
People of different faiths are warmly welcomed and emphasize the Sikh philosophy of universal brotherhood and tolerance.
The Gurudwara organizes various religious and cultural events throughout the year. Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthday, popularly known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab, is celebrated with great warmth .
Moreover, the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji is celebrated with respect and devotion.
These celebrations attract thousands of devotees who come to pay their respects, seek spiritual support and share in the warm welcome of the community.
Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is not a mere brick and mortar structure; it is a shrine that has the essence of Sikhism - sacrifice, devotion and faith.
Its history, architecture and spiritual significance make it an icon for Sikhs and a source of fascination for visitors from different backgrounds.
By honoring its beauty and historical significance, we are reminded of the enduring legacy of Sikhism and the timeless principles it upholds - a legacy that lives on.