All About the Gurdwara the Worship Place of Sikhs

Where Sikhs Worship

The door to the Guru's house of worship is always open and welcoming to the worshiper. Step inside the gurdwara and leave aside differences. A sublime atmosphere of devotion greets the senses. Strains of hymns beckon the ear. An array of vivid hues engage the eye. Bow before the Guru Granth in a moment of humility. A helping of the sacred delicacy, prashad, delights the palate. The scent of food cooking promises the tongue fulfillment. Sit with the congregation and discover a sanctuary for the soul. The opportunity for selfless service presents an unparalleled inner cleansing experience while at worship in a gurdwara.

Gurdwara Mathatake
Gurdwara Hall. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Gurdwara means the "guru's door". A gurdwara is the Sikh meeting place for worship. The members of the congregation, welcome all people to worship in the gurdwara regardless of caste, color, or creed.

Read more:

Gurdwara - Guru's Gateway

Do Sikhs Believe in Going to Church?

Before You Visit the Gurdwara Sikh Place of Worship

Illustrated Guide to the Gurdwara

Golden Temple of the Sikhs More »

Nishan Sahib - Sikh Flag Nishan Sahib
Nishan Sahib. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The Nishan or Sikh flag is displayed outside the gurdwara in a prominent spot. The Nishan is embellished with a khanda, which represents the Sikh coat of arms.

Read more:

Nishan, the Sikh Flag

Khanda, the Sikh Emblem

Nishan of Gurdwara Bradshaw More »

Guru Granth - Hukam
Guru Granth - Hukam. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Guru Granth, the Sikh scripture is considered to be the living guru of the Sikhs. In every gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, the Guru Granth is kept on a platform in a prominent place. Sikhs worshiping at the gurdwara bow before Guru Granth before sitting down. A Sikh sitting behind the Guru Granth selects a random verse called a hukam, which is believed to be the Guru's divine command.

Read more:

Guru Granth the Sikh Scripture

Who Are the Authors of Guru Granth Sahib?

Reading a Hukam from the Guru Granth

Illustrated Guide to Reading a Hukam Parkarma (Circumambulation) of Guru Granth More »

Prashad Seva
Serving Karah Prashad. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Prashad is a sanctified offering of a delicate sweet pudding served to each and every person who enters the gurdwara and at the close of every worship service or ceremony which takes place in the gurdwara. The recipe for prashad is outlined in the Sikh code of conduct and conventions.

Read more:

Prashad Sanctified Offering

Prashad Printable Recipe

Prashad Illustrated Step by Step Recipe More »

Kirtani
Kirtani. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Kirtan is an important part of a gurdwara worship service when worshipers participate in singing hymns taken from the Guru Granth. An all night program called Rain Sabaee, is a popular event. Hymns are composed in the classic music system raag.

Read more:

Raag Melodious Hue

Kirtan Adoration in Song

Illustrated Kirtan Performance

Night So Beautiful! A Gallery of Song More »

Lavan - Wedding Rounds
Lavan - Wedding Rounds. Photo © [Nirmaljot Singh]

Anand Karaj, the Sikh wedding ceremony takes place inside the gurdwara. The bride and groom meet with their families in the presence of the Guru Granth. Wedding vows are made by walking around the Guru Granth four times.

Read more:

Anand Karaj, the Sikh Marriage Ceremony Guide

Sikh Wedding Anand Karaj Ceremony Illustrated

Lavan, the Sikh Wedding Hymns

The Wedding Hymn More »

Amrit Sanchar Ceremony of Khalsa Initiation
Amrit Sanchar Ceremony of Khalsa Initiation. Photo © [Ravitej Singh Khalsa / Eugene, Oregon / USA]

Amrit Sanchar the Sikh baptism and initiation ceremony takes place ina secluded part of the gurdwara. New initiates join the worshipers in the gurdwara where services are held:

All About Amrit Sanchar Sikh Baptism and Initiation Rites

The Sikh Initiation Ceremony of Amrit Sanchar Illustrated More »

Tiny worshippers listen to
Tiny worshipers listen to "A son Is Born" being sung. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The gurdwara is a place for friends and family to congregate and participate in observing ceremonies involving important life events:

Janam Naam Sanskar (Sikh Baby Naming Ceremony)

Before You Select a Sikh Baby Name

Antam Sanskar (Sikh Funeral Ceremony)

Sikh Funeral Hymns, Prayers, and Verses

Should Open Air Cremation be an Option in America? More »

Langar Line-up
Langar Line-up. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Langar is a divine dining experience of both physical and spiritual nourishment. Langar means kitchen, but the word is used also for the actual food prepared and eaten, as well as the dining hall itself. Worshipers participate in serving members of the congregation who gather to dine.

Read more:

The Sikh Dining Tradition of Langar

All About Langar and the Guru's Free Kitchen

Illustrated Gallery of the Gurdwara Langar Kitchen

The Sikh Dining Tradition

The Guru's Free Kitchen

Food and Recipes More »

Gurdwara Ceremonies and Events Yuba City Annual Sikh Parade
Gurdwara Ceremonies and Events Yuba City Annual Sikh Parade. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The Sikh gurdwara is a gathering place for annual festivities and holidays involving commemorative ceremonies which include parade events:

Sikh Holidays Festivals and Commemorative Celebrations

Hola Mohalla, Sikh Martial Arts Parade and Gatka Exhibition

Guru Gadee, the Inauguration Holiday

History of the Holiday Bandi Chhor and Diwali

Yuba City Annual Sikh Parade

Modern Nankana and Guru Nanak’s Birth Celebrations Illustrated More »

Learning Kirtan at Gurmat Camp
Learning Kirtan at Gurmat Camp. Photo © [Kulpreet singh]

Gurmat learning camp gives instruction about the basics of Sikhism. Classes take place in the gurdwara hall or adjacent rooms on weekends and holidays when worship services are not in progress. Students learn:

About Sikh history (itihaas).

About the code of conduct (rehit maryada).

The Sikh scripture alphabet (Gurmukhi).

To read Sikh prayerbooks (nitnem).

To read Sikh scripture aloud (Gurbani).

To sing and play hymns (kirtan).

To meditate (naam simran).

Sword dancing martial art (gatka).

Yoga stretches. More »

Historic Gurdwaras

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Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "All About the Gurdwara the Worship Place of Sikhs." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/gurdwara-the-worship-place-of-sikhs-2993096. Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2017, March 2). All About the Gurdwara the Worship Place of Sikhs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gurdwara-the-worship-place-of-sikhs-2993096 Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "All About the Gurdwara the Worship Place of Sikhs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gurdwara-the-worship-place-of-sikhs-2993096 (accessed October 23, 2017).