A visit to Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib & Sampling the Taste of India at #ChandniChowk
It was Guruparab yesterday (6th Nov’14), the happy birthday of one of the greatest human being to set foot on this planet earth Guru Nanak Dev (ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ; Hindi: गुरु नानक, Urdu: گرونانک, Gurū Nānak; 15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) – the founder & first guru of Sikhism – the religion founded to protect the Hinduism against the onslaught of barbaric Islamic invaders. Guru Nanak Dev ji travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of God’s creations and constitutes the eternal Truth. He set up a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue. It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak’s sanctity, divinity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them.
I have been to Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib numerous times since my childhood days, most of the times though we would just stop in front of the main gate on the street, fold our hands, bow our heads with eyes closed in reverence of the soul of the martyrs Guru Tegh Bahadur by the order of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
The ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur ((1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675) was beheaded on the orders of the Aurangzeb in 1675 AD, the cruel Mughal Emperor ascent to the throne of Mughal Empire was marked by his treacherous killing of his own brothers, imprisonment of his father Shah Jahan and a period of ruthless religious persecution in India. Aurangzeb ordered to behead Guru Tegh Bahadur on 11 November 1675 at this very spot, after torturing him along with his Sikh disciples for months, for refusing to convert to Islam. Guru Tegh Bahadur is popularly known as Hind Di Chadar – The Shield of India, in reference to his ultimate sacrifice of his life for the protection of religious freedom in India against the barbaric Islamic invaders. Before his body could be quartered and exposed to public view, it was stolen under the cover of darkness by one of his disciples, Lakhi Shah Vanjara, who then burnt his house to cremate the Guru’s body – the place place where Guru Tegh Bahadur’s body was cremated is marked by another gurdwara, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi.
The severed head (Sis in Hindi or Punjabi) of Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought to Anandpur Sahib by Bhai Jaita, another disciple of the Guru. It was cremated by the Guru’s son, Gobind Rai, who would later become Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs
We planned this for a long time to take the kids to Gali Paranthe Wali but on all those occasions something or the other bombed the visit. Yesterday we were able to do that as well, and the kids got the opportunity to appreciate the real taste of India through the street food around Chandhi Chowk. This time we could try the Dahi-Bhalla-Papri chaat, Rabri, Fruit chaat, Potato & Sweet Potato chaat, Kulfi and the famous deep fried paranthas at the Paranthe Wali Gali. Kids loved it so much that they’re now looking forward to the next trip to taste the rest of the food items, snacks and desert delights that we were unable to cover this time.
I love Sikhism more than any other religious thought in the world, though within our family there is no one who follows the religion, I would love my kids to became Sikh if they desire to do so when they are mature enough to take that decision. But ironically there are painful memories etched deep inside me which comes out automatically whenever I think of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Saheb. They belong to my teenage years when I used to travel in the famous and now extinct 4 Seater Fatfatia – the 2nd world war era British bikes converted into public transport vehicles, to visit the Delhi Public Library close-by. One relates to the mayhem I saw at Favvarra (fountain) chowk when the disputed Majestic cinema theater was taken over, demolished by force and converted into a museum & guest-house as a part of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Saheb. The ownership dispute was in the court for a very long time and not just Majestic but most single screen cinema theater all around Delhi were in a bad financial condition. The second is of a young girl trying to run away from her marriage ceremony at the Gurudwara, forcefully being taken back inside the Gurudwara by her family members threatening to kill her along with anyone who tried to help her.