Chakk Nanaki

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It is generally believed that the Anandpur town was founded by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib on June 19,1665. In fact it was Chakk Nanaki which had been founded in 1665. The foundation stone of Anandpur Sahib was laid on March 30,1689. The area of Chakk Nanaki (in 1665) extended between the village of Agamgarh and the square between Kesgarh Sahib and the town's bus stand.

Usually, new towns are founded, established and developed by monarchs. It is a unique phenomenon in the history of Sikh religion that its Prophets founded a number of towns and turned several villages into major towns. Hence, social, political, economic and spiritual role became one in Guru Sahib.

The first town associated with the Sikh history is Nanakana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak Sahib. But, the first town founded by Guru Nanak Sahib was Kartarpur (Pakistan). Even Sultanpur Lodhi had the privilege of having felt of the touch of the feet of Guru Nanak Sahib. Guru Angad Sahib turned the small village of Khadur into Khadur Sahib. Guru Amar Das Sahib founded the town of Goindwal. He also asked Guru Ram Das Sahib to establish a new Sikh State in the middle of Majha zone. Guru Ram Das Sahib laid the foundation of Guru Da Chakk which, later, came to be known as Ram Das Pur and now it is famous as Amritsar. Guru Arjan Sahib developed Guru Da Chakk into a major city and also founded the towns of Tarn Taran, Chheharta, Hargobindpur and Kartarpur (Jullundur). Guru Hargobind Sahib revealed Akal Takht Sahib. He purchased the territory of the present town of Keeratpur Sahib {Keeratpur Sahib was founded and established by Baba Gurditta, son of Guru Hargobind Sahib}. Guru Har Rai Sahib played major role in the development of Keeratpur Sahib and turned it into another major center of the Sikhs. By the time of Guru Harkrishan Sahib, Keeratpur Sahib had became a full-fledged town. His visit to a small village Panjokhara put the village on the world map and his visit to Raja Jai Sinh's residence turned it into "Bangla Sahib".

Chakk Nanaki had been founded by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib. Earlier he used to live at Bakala and had spent more than seven years (1656-64) in Assam, Bengal and Bihar. He had spent some time at Talwandi Sabo and Dhamtan too. In the middle of April 1665, he made a visit to Keeratpur Sahib. When he was still at Keeratpur, on April 27,1665, Raja Deep Chand, the ruler of Bilaspur, died. The Bilaspur ruler was a very devoted Sikh. On May 10,1665, Guru Sahib went to Bilaspur to make last prayers for Raja Deep Chand. Guru Sahib stayed there till May 13. By this time Rani Champa had come to know that Guru Sahib had decided to move his headquarters to Dhamtan. This made Rani Champa despondent. She approached Mata Nanaki (Guru Sahib's mother) and begged her to ask Guru Sahib not to move far away from Bilaspur State. Mata Nanaki could not resist helping a sentimental Rani Champa. Mataji requested Guru Sahib to fulfil Rani's desire. When Guru Sahib agreed, Rani Champa offered to donate some land to Guru Sahib so that he might established a new town. Guru Sahib decided to set up new town but refused to accept a donation of the land. He selected a piece of land in between the villages of Lodipur, Mianpur and Sahota and paid regular price for the same. Rani Champa hesitatingly accepted the price of the land but her joy new no bounds at the thought that Guruji had chosen to establish his headquarters near Bilaspur State.

The site chosen by Guru Sahib, around the ruins of the erstwhile village of Makhowal, was very remarkable from strategic point of view. It was surrounded by river Satlej on one side as well as hills and forest on all the sides. This was a peaceful zone for meditation as well as for arts and intellectual activities. It was also safe from military interference and disturbances. The Sikhs had experienced Mughal invasion at Amritsar and Kartarpur in 1634 and 1635. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib too had participated in these battles. Though Keeratpur Sahib had remained safe from the Mughal attacks, yet a possibility always existed because Aurangzeb was sitting on the Delhi throne and he was known for his fanaticism.

Thus, the sight selected for new town had a special importance. In 1665, the river Satlej used to flow through the present city of Anandpur Sahib (now it flows near Keeratpur Sahib). Keeratpur Sahib too was a strategic place. It was surrounded by Satlej on one side, river Sarsa on the other side and a chain of hills on the third side. Similarly, the site of Chakk Nanaki too was still better choice. It had the protection of Charn Ganga stream on two sides and river Satlej on the third. Towards the hills-side there were thick bushes and trees. Long long ago, it was dense forest and herds of elephants and other animals used to inhabit these jungles. Then, this area was known as Hathaut (literally: abode of elephants)

The area or Chakk Nanaki was a peaceful zone. Besides, it was a fertile land and could yield two crops annually. Hence, it was capable of being a self-sufficient City-State. Guru Sahib's selection of the land was highly appreciated by Rani Champa and the Sikhs. The Bilaspur elite was exceptionally happy because the presence of a Sikh City-State on the borders of Bilaspur State and the Mughal territory meant complete safety for Bilaspur and its associate States.

The foundation stone of the new town was laid down by Bhai Gurditta (great-grandson of Baba Buddha), on June 19,1665 at the present site of Guru De Mahal. The first prayers were made by Diwan Dargah Mall. Guru Sahib named the new town Chakk Nanaki after his mother Mata Nanaki. Guru Sahib spent the next three months at Chakk Nanaki. During this period a couple of house had been built for the visitors to the Sikh City.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib could not visit Chakk Nanaki for the next six and a half years. He took a missionary journey of Assam, Bengal and Bihar from January 1666 to March 1670. After this, he spent about one and a half year at Bakala (now Baba Bakala). In March 1672 Guru Sahib and his family moved to Chakk Nanaki and finally established it as his headquarters. Guru Sahib embraced martyrdom on November 11,1675.

Guru Gobind Singh Sahib stayed here till March 1685. In April 1685 Guru Gobind Singh Sahib founded Paonta Sahib and stayed there till October 1688. He returned to Chakk Nanaki in November 1688. On March 30,1689 Guru Sahib laid the foundation of a new town and named it Aanandpur Sahib. Now Chakk Nanaki and Anandpur Sahib both as well as some adjoining villages (Sahota, Lodipur, Agampur, Mataur etc) form the present city of Anandpur Sahib.

Chakk Nanaki was founded by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and Anandpur Sahib was established by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. The boundaries of Chakk Nanaki, Anandpur Sahib, Sahota, Lodipur, Mataur, Agampur etc. are not known to a common man. Only revenue officers (Patwari and Lambardar) know about the actual boundary-lines. In government papers Chakk Nanaki is known as "Chakk" only.

The square between the present bus stand and Gurdwara Kesgarh Sahib is the meeting point of Chakk Nanaki, Anandpur Sahib and Lodipur. Gurdwara Guru De Mahal (Bhora Sahib, Damdama Takht Sahib and Manji Sahib) are in the territory of Chakk Nanaki. It was the residence of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. Gurdwara Sis Ganj is on the border of Chakk Nanaki and Anandpur Sahib. The Bus Stand, Hospital and the Girls School are in Chakk Nanaki. A part of the saw-mill near Gurdwara Holgarh Sahib is in the territory of Chakk Nanaki and its boundary wall is within the boundary of Sahota village. The Milk Bar (near the squares) and the Sarover (tank) are in Lodipur village. The garden adjacent to the police post is a part of Chakk Nanaki. Khalsa High School is in the territory of villages Sahota. Quilla Anandgarh Sahib Gurdwara Shahidi Bagh (under the management of one group of Nihangs) are situated in the village of Lodipur. The area around Kesgarh Sahib is a part of Anandpur Sahib. Khalsa College has been built in the territory of village Mataur. The bridge over Charan Ganga is a part of Chakk Nanaki. Now all these areas form the present city of Anandpur Sahib.

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