Nankana Sahib

General Information

Nankana Sahib, the home of many gurdwaras for Sikhs, is the place of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, on 15 April, 1469. The gurdwaras present in Nankana Sahib each mark a significant event in the life of the Guru, the most prominent being Gurdwara Janam Asthan which marks the exact place of his birth. The list of gurdwaras at Nankana Sahib follow: Gurdwara janam Asthan; Gurdwara Patti Sahib; Gurdwara Bal Lila; Gurdwara Kiara Sahib; Gurdwara Malji Sahib; Gurdwara Tambu Sahib; and Gurdwara Chhati Patshahi.

Nankana Sahib Massacre

Apart from the stories of the early life of the Guru, the most important event that occurred there is the Nankana Sahib Massacre on February 20, 1921. This bloody event came about due to the Gurdwara Reform Movement (or the Alaki Movement) of the early twentieth century, the creation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and the scandals of Narain Das, the wealthiest of mahants at Nankana Sahib. On that day, 150 Akali Sikhs came to the Gurdwara

Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib

lead by Bhai Lachhman Singh; Narain Das sent his private army of approximately 400 mercenaries into the Gurdwara and they began to kill all those present. Bhai Lachhman Singh was murdered while sitting in attendance of the Guru Granth. Outside the Gurdwara, Narain Das was riding on horseback and rumored to have been shouting, “Let not a single longhaired Sikh go out alive.” Bhai Dalip Singh, known to the mahant and respected by them, attempted to intercede, but Narain Das killed him with his the pistol he was holding as well as six other Sikhs outside the Gurdwara. Narain Das and some of his accomplices were arrested and the shrine was handed over to a committee created by the government comprised of seven Sikhs, lead by Sardar Harbans Sing of Attari, the vice-President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Modern Moves

Since the partition of India in 1947, Sikhs had a difficult time going to Nankana Sahib from India to worship in the gurdwaras. Still in the 1980s, the gates to the Gurdwara remained closed to devotees, but since then daily services are performed and bani is recited. Recently, as in within the last two weeks, the Guru Granth was installed in the Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi at Nankana Sahib, leaving only Gurdwara Kiara Sahib without the sacred text. Along with this change, Sant Singh Sdil was appointed to be granthi of the shrine, going from being the singer of hymns to performing the daily religious services. And over 2,000 Sikhs from India attended the Baisakhi festival at Lahore and went to the Gurdwara Janam Asthan while in Pakistan. Although Sikhs have had a difficult time worshiping and making a pilgrimage to the Gurdwaras, the future looks bright for them as Pakistan is allowing Sikhs from Pakistan and India to come to their sacred sites.

Additional Readings

“2,100 Indian Sikhs Reach Pakistan to Attend Baisakhi Festival | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis.” Dna. April 13, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2016.

“For First Time after Partition, Sikhs’ Holy Book Installed at Nankana Sahib Gurdwara – Times of India.” The Times of India. April 19, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2016.

Singh, Harbans. The Heritage of the Sikhs. New Delhi: Manohar, 1983.

“AKALI MOVEMENT – Sikh Reformist Movements.” AKALI MOVEMENT – Sikh Reformist Movements. Accessed April 27, 2016.

“Nankana Sahib.” – SikhiWiki, Free Sikh Encyclopedia. Accessed April 20, 2016.

“Nankana Sahib.” Historical Gurdwaras. Accessed April 20, 2016.