Kartarpur (Jalandhar)

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Location map showing Kartarpur- click to enlarge

KARTARPUR ((31.4395°N 75.495°E) or 31°26'N, 75°30'E) is a municipal town in Punjab, India famous for its furniture industry. It lies 15 km north-west of Jallandar along Sher Shah Sun Marg in the Punjab. The town was founded by Guru Arjan in 1594 on land granted during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Guru Arjan's successor, Guru Hargobind, resided here too for some time. Two of his sons, Suraj Mall and Tegh Bahadur, were married at Kartarpur.


In April 1635, the "faujdar" or garrison commander of Jalandhar, at the instigation of Painda Khan, a former protege of Guru Hargobind turned hostile, attacked Kartarpur. After a battle lasting three days in which the Guru's youngest son, Tegh Bahadur, displayed feats of valour, Guru Hargobind left the town and retired with his family and attendants to the hill resort of Kiratpur. His young grandson, Dhir Mall, however, would neither leave Kartarpur nor part with the Holy Book, the original copy of Guru Granth Sahib. He stayed behind and declared himself Guru forming his own sect and collecting income from land as well as from offerings made by devotees to the Holy Granth. It is his line called Sodhis of Kartarpur that became the owners of the place and high priests of the sacred shrines located here.

The Dhirmallia sect was rejected by Guru Gobind Singh, who forbade the Sikhs to have any dealings with them. The Sodhis of Kartarpur later returned to the Sikh fold accepting vows of the Khalsa. In 1757, Ahmad Shah Durrani attacked and ransacked Kartarpur. He burnt down the sacred Thamm Sahib shrine and forced Sodhi Vadbhag Singh (d. 1762) to flee and find refuge in the hills of Una. The Sikhs soon avenged the desecration and re-established the shrines when they came to power in the Punjab, during the reign of Maharaj Ranjit Singh.


Below are a list of Gurdwaras in Kartarpur:

Gurdwara Thammi Sahib is named after a massive wooden log ("thamm" in Punjabi means wooden log) used as central support for the first house that Guru Arjan got built for use as an assembly hall for the congregation (sangat) at the new habitation. The thamm was later treated by the Sikhs as a sacred relic. Some time after the building was destroyed in 1757 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, a simple structure was raised on the site, replaced by the present 7 storey strurcture constructed through the munificence of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Standing on a high plinth in the middle of a walled compound, it comprises a 15metre square doublestoreyed marblefloored hall encompassing the square sanctum at the ground floor. The six storeys rising above the sanctum are topped by a dome with a gilded pinnacle. The Gurdwara owns 100 acres of land and is administered by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee through a local committee which also controls Gurdwaras Garigsar, Chubachcha Sahib, Viah Asthan, and Tahli Sahib.


Gurdwara Gangsar Patshahi Panjvin Te Chhevin: 200 metres east of the town is named after the well got sunk in 1599 by Guru Arjan who pronounced it to be as sacred as the River Gariga. The old Mariji Sahib near the well was replaced by the present fivestoreycd building raised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1975. The sanctum is at one end of a square hall on the ground floor. The other four storeys with the dome on lop rise above the sanctum. Within the hall to the right side as one faces the sanctum is a platform dedicated to Guru Hargobind who, according to local tradition, sat here sometimes to address visiting sangat.


Gurdwara Viah Asthan Guru Tegh Bahadur Te Mata Gujariji: at the end of Rabablarivali Lane marks the house where Bhai Lal Chand Subhikkhi, father of Mata Gujari, stayed and where Maia Gujari's marriage with Guru Tegh Bahadar was solemnized on 4 February 1633. The five storey Gurdwara was built during the 1980's under the supervision of Baba Uttam Singh of Khadur Sahib. The sanctum is at the far end of a rectangular hall on the ground floor. A separate building to the north of the hall houses a library.


Gurdwara Chubachcha Sahib Patshahi Chhevin is located in a walled compound about 100 metres northwest of Gurdwara Thamm Sahib. The sanctum is at the far end of a flatroofed rectangular hall, built in 1940.


Gurdwara Tahli Sahib Patshahi 7: About 2 km south of the main town, marks the site where Guru Har Rai, accompanied by his horse guard halted while on his way from Kiratpur to Goindval in 1658. The Gurdwara is named after a shisham tree (Dalbergia sissoo, ldhfi Punjabi), still extant, to which, according to local tradition, the Guru's own horse was tied. The present buildings were constructed in 1949 under the supervision of Sant Ishar Singh of Rara. The central building is a flat roofed rectangular hall in which is located the sanctum.


Gurdwara Babe Di Ber or simply Ber Sahib:About 1.5 km east of town is dedicated to Baba Gurditta (161338), eldest son of Guru Hargobind. It is here that Baba Sri Chand (14941629), son of Guru Nanak, held discourse with Baba Gurditta under a "lierirce" (Ziziphus mamtiana) before he chose him his successor as head of the Udasi sect. The "her" tree still stands as also the old well known as "Khuh Malliari". According to tradition, Bhai Gurdas (d. 1636), poet and expounder of the holy writ, used to compose verses here attracted by the seclusion of the place. The present Gurdwara comprising a square room with a verandah in the front was constructed in 1961 by the local sangat.


Shish Mahal: (literally "palace of mirrors"), originally the residence of Guru Arjan, and Guru Hargobind during their occasional visits to Kartarpur, is within a fortress-like house, the property of the Sodhi descendants of Baba Dhir Mall. A number of sacred relics arc preserved in the Shish Mahal. They include the original copy of the Holy Book prepared by Guru Arjan; a breviary of hymns used by Guru Arjan for his daily prayers; a heavy khandd or doubleedged sword believed to have been used by Guru Hargobind; another khandd associated with Guru Har Rai; the ceremonial cord and cap given by Baba Sri Chand to Baba Gurditta as emblems of headship of the Udasi sect; and a few garments belonging to Baba Gurditta.


Other historical monuments at Kartarpur are the samddhi of Bibi Kaulari; Nanakiana Sahib, a shrine commemorating Mata Nanaki, the mother of Guru Tegh Bahadur; Damdama Sahib, a platform dedicated to Guru Hargobind; and Dera Bhai Bhagatu Ji marking the site where Bhai Bhagatu, a prominent Sikh contemporary of the Fifth, Sixth and the Seventh Gurus, was cremated in 1652 by Guru Har Rai.


References

  • 1. Tara Singh, Sn Gur `Hrath Sangrahi. Amrilsar, n.d.
  • 2. Thakar Singh, Giani, Sri Gurduare Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
  • 3. Gurbilds Chhevm Pdtshdht. Patiala, 1970
  • 4. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sn Gur Praia? Suraj Granl.h. Amritsar, 1927-33
  • 5. Gian Singh, Giani, Sn Guru Panth Prakash. Paliala, 1970
  • 6. Jalandar District Gazetteer


Above adapted from article By K. Jagjit Singh