Pakistan is a land of love, peace and hospitality. It is the paradise for the holidaymakers, adventure and culture and nature lovers. It is also a land of light, spiritual endowment, a resting place for many spiritual saints from all religions, be it the Sufi mystics of Islam, Hindu Tiraths dating back as 3000 B. C, the disciples of Buddha attaining â€œnirvanaâ€ buried under the remains of Gandhara civilization flourished in the third century B.C. Baba Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion was born in 1469 A.D. at Taluandi village now known as Nankana Sahib, about 72 Km north of Lahore in Pakistan. A Large Sikh gurdwara known as Janam Asthan, was built there in his memory by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Since then, the Gurdwara has become the centre of the annual pilgrimage by Sikh communities the world over. The Sikh Gurdwaras have served more than a place of worship. They have served as school a meeting place and a rest house for travelers in addition to enshrining the Granth Sahib. All Gurdwaras and Sikh shrines in Pakistan are declared sacred places and are well maintained by the Government of Pakistan.
Gurdwara Panja Sahib:
Hassanabdal is a beautiful and quiet place, a convenient halting point on the G.T. Road en route to Peshawar & Abbottabad. This town has a particular association with Mughals and Sikhs. It is a famous holy place for Sikhs where Gurdwara Panja Sahib is located. The name Panja Sahib is derived from a hand (Panja) imprint on a boulder above a water spring. Guru Nanak Dev jee while returning from Mecca had broken his journey for a few days at Hassanabdal, where he had asked one of his disciples to fetch water from the spring on the nearby hill top. The water was however refused to the disciple. There upon, on Guru Nanak Dev jeeâ€™s prayer, the spring abandoned its original course and started flowing from the spot where Guru jee himself was sitting. Guru jee also stopped a big rock rolling down towards him with his palm, which left an impression on the rock. It became an object of great reverence for his followers, who started calling it Panja Sahib.
The collection of the buildings to the west, facing the entrance of the Lahore Fort, is known as Sikh Enclave or Dera Sahib, only the Sikh Yatries are allowed to enter this place. Dera Sahib has two very important monuments of Lahore, one is the tomb of Guru Arjun Dev jee, and other is the tomb of Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Tomb of Guru Arjan Dev Jee:
Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, made Amristar the rendezvous of the Sikhs and compiled the Adi Granth, the holy books containing the sacred scriptures of the Sikh. Guru Arjan Singh helped Khusro, the rebel son of Jahangir. His disciples affirm that the Guru, having obtained permission to bathe, himself disappeared miraculously into the water of Ravi, which thereafter flowed to this place. His tomb with a fluted and gilded dome dates from the time of Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh:
Ranjit Singh is famous as â€œSher-e-Punjabâ€ in the history of the subcontinent. He ruled over Punjab from 1799-1839 AD. From a very young age he proved himself to be a man of extreme personal courage. He organized a strong and disciplined army, with strong and powerful artillery.
At Nankana, there are two main Sikh temples or Gurdwaras; Ba Lila where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion spent his childhood, and Janamasthan – where he is believed to have been born. The latter houses sacred relics belonging to the Guru. Thrice a year, on Besakhi (April), Death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (June) and Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev (November), Sikh Yatries visit these holy places in thousands. Apart from these two main Gurdwaras, Nankana Sahib has some other religious attractions like Gurdwaras Maulvi Patti Sahib, Tambu Sahib, Kaira Sahib and Nahang Singh Chhauni.
Baba Guru Nanak Jee:
Guru Nanak Jee (1469-1539 AD) was born in a village known as Talwandi Rai Bhoe. It belonged to Bhatti, and Rajput cheieftain who became a friend and admirer of Baba Nanak. Nanak Jee was a strict monotheist believing in the one and only God. He liked the Muslims, rejected the Hindu caste system and preached the equality and brotherhood of mankind.
In order to engage Guru Nanak Dev Jee in worldly affairs, his father, who was a revenue accountant, gave his son twenty rupees to purchase profitable merchandise for setting up a shop. â€œMake good, profitable bargainâ€, the father advised. While passing near Churkana (Farooqabad), 20 km northeast of Talwandi Rai Bhoi, a little short of their destination, Nanak and his brother came across a group of Sadhus, naked and hungry. Nanak Jee at once decided to feed them and despite his brotherâ€™s advice, purchased edibles with the whole amount and distributed the same amongst the mystics. When he returned home empty handed, Guru Nanakâ€™s father rebuked him for squandering his precious cash, but he calmly answered, â€œYou had wanted me to make Khara Sauda therefore I could not think of better, a more genuine â€œSaudaâ€ than the one I have made. The Gurdawara established during the Sikh rule is on the same spot where the Sadhus were entertained â€“ thus it has become a great source of inspiration hence very important place for Sikh Yatries.
Gurdwara Rori Sahib & Chaki Sahib:
Guru Nanak Dev Jee, during his stay at this place, had made his bed on a platform of Rori (pebbles). Later, this became a place of veneration and a Gurdwara was built here.