Gurdwara Siddh Bati Patshahi Pahili (Kurukshetra)

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Kurukshetra is in fact the name of a region lying between the Ghaggar and Saraswati rivers, although a large township of this name has also come up, which includes several temple complexes, Kurukshetra University and district headquarters. The name of the adjoining ancient town in Thanesar. The twin towns are now popularly known as Kurukshetra.

It is among the more important sacred places of pilgrimage for Hindus being the scene of the epic battle sung of in the Gita. Several Sikh Gurus visited Kurukshetra, especially on the occasion of solar eclipses which attract vast crowds of Hindus, holy men, scholars and lay devotees, who throng to have a dip in the sprawling sacred tank. Guru Nanak Dev took advantage of one such occasion during the early yeas of the sixteenth century by preaching against superstitious rites and rituals. Guru Amar Das, who had made several trips to Kurukshetra as a pilgrim before his conversion to Sikhism, visited the place once at least in 1553. Bhai Jetha, later Guru Ram Das, probably accompanied Guru Amar Das on that visit.

Guru Hargobind visited Kurukshetra on the occasion of solar eclipse fair in 1638. He possibly passed through it earlier during his travel to Nanak Mata and back in 1632-33. Shrines commemorating all these visits were established and later developed into Gurdwaras. They are:

  • Gurdwara Siddh Bati Patshahi Pahili - This stands on the southern bank of the main Kurukshetra tank and marks the spot where Guru Nank Dev, using his technique of teaching through practical demonstration, attracted an angry crowd of Brahman priests and pilgrims and in answer to their protest against his impertinent breach of religious injunctions, the Guru explained to them that eclipses of sun and moon are natural phenomena having nothing to do with mythical gods and demons, and that controversy regarding vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism is irrational. The two hymns of the topic that appear in Var Malhar Ki in Guru Granth Sahib are believed to have been uttered on this occasion. A proper Gurdwara was first constructed here during the time of Bhai Udai Singh of Kaithal (1830-43).

(to be completed)

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