The 10 Gurus of Sikh History

Timeline Includes 10 Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib

The era of the 10 gurus of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that stresses doing good throughout life, spans nearly 250 years, from the birth of Nanak Dev in 1469, through the life of Guru Gobind Singh. At the time of his the death in 1708, Guru Gobind Singh bequeathed his title of guru to the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth. Sikhs regard the 10 gurus of Sikhism as the embodiment of one guiding light that passed from each guru to his successor. That guiding light now resides with the scripture Siri Guru Granth Sahib. There are about 20 million Sikhs in the world, and nearly all live in the Punjab province of India, where the religion was founded.

Guru Gobind Singh (with bird) encounters Guru Nanak Dev.
Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

 Guru Nanak Dev, first of the 10 gurus, founded the Sikh faith and introduced the concept of one God. He was the son of Kalyan Das ji (Mehta Kalu ji) and Mata Tripta ji and the brother of Bibi Nanaki.
He was married to Sulakhani ji and had two sons, Siri Chand and Lakhmi Das.

He was born in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, on  Oct. 20, 1469. He was formally made guru in 1499 at about age 30. He died in Kartarpur, Pakistan, on Sept. 7, 1539, at the age of 69. More »

Guru Angad Dev, second of the 10 gurus, compiled the writings of Nanak Dev and introduced the Gurmukhi script. He was the son of  Pheru Mall ji and Mata Daya Kaur (Sabhrai) ji. He was married to Mata Khivi ji and had two sons, Dasu and Datu, and two daughters, Amro and Anokhi.

The second guru was born in Harike, India, on March 31, 1504, became guru on Sept. 7, 1539, and died in Khadur, India, on March 29, 1552, two days from 48 years old. More »

Guru Amar Das, third of the 10 gurus, disavowed caste with the institution of langar, pangat, and sangat.

He was born in Basarke, India, on May 5, 1479, to Tej Bhan ji and Mata Lakhmi ji. He married Mansa Devi and had two sons, Mohan and Mohri, and two daughters, Dani and Bhani.

He became the third guru at Khadur, India, on  March 26, 1552, and died at  Goindwal, India, on Sept. 1, 1574, at the age of 95. More »

Guru Raam Das, fourth of the 10 gurus, began the excavation of the Sarovar in Amritsar, India.

He was born in Chuna Mandi (Lahore, Pakistan), on Sept. 24, 1524, to Hari Das ji Sodhi and Mata Daya Kaur ji. He married Bibi Bhani ji and they had three sons, Prithi Chand, Maha Dev and Arjun Dev.

He became the fourth guru at Goindwal, India, on Sept. 1, 1574, and died at  Goindwal on Sept. 1, 1581, at the age of 46.  More »

Guru Arjun (Arjan) Dev, the fifth of the 10 gurus, erected the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, India, and compiled and contributed to Adi Granth in 1604.

He was born in Goindwal, India, on April 14. 1563, to Guru Raam das and Ji Mata Bhani ji. He wed Raam Devi, who was issueless, and Ganga ji, and they had one son, Har Govind.

He was made the fifth guru at Goindwal on Sept. 1, 1581, and died in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 30, 1606, at the age of 43. More »

Guru Har Govind (Hargobind), sixth of the 10 gurus, built the Akal Takhat. He raised an army and wore ​two swords that symbolized secular and spiritual authority. The Mughal Emperor Jahangir imprisoned the guru, who negotiated a release for whoever could hold onto his robe.

The sixth guru was born in Guru ki Wadali, India, on June 19, 1595, and was the son of Guru Arjun and Mata Ganga. He married Damodri ji, Nankee ji and Maha Devi ji. He was the father of five sons, Gur Ditta, Ani Rai, Suraj Mal, Atal Rai, Teg Mall (Teg Bahadur), and one daughter, Bibi Veero.

He was pronounced the sixth guru at Amritsar, India, on May 25, 1606, and died at Kiratpur, India, on March 3, 1644, at the age of 48. More »

Guru Har Rai, seventh of the 10 gurus, propagated the Sikh faith, maintained a cavalry of 20,000 as his personal guard and established both a hospital and zoo.

He was born in Kiratupur, India, on Jan. 16, 1630, and was the son of Baba Gurditta ji and Mata Nihal Kaur. He married Sulakhni ji and was the father of two sons, Ram Rai and Har Krishan, and one daughter, Sarup Kaur.

He was named the seventh guru at Kiratpur, March 3, 1644, and died at Kiratpur, Oct. 6, 1661, at the age of 31. More »

Guru Har Krishan, eighth of the 10 gurus, became guru at the age of 5. He was born in Kiratpur, India, on July 7, 1656, and was the son of Guru Har Rai and Mata Kishan (aka Sulakhni).

He became guru on Oct. 6, 1661, and died of smallpox at Delhi, India on March 30, 1664, at age 7. He had the shortest tenure of all gurus.

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    Guru Teg Bahadar (Tegh Bahadur)

    Guru Teg Bahadar, ninth of the 10 gurus, was reluctant to leave meditation and come forward as guru. He ultimately sacrificed his life to protect Hindu Pandits from forced conversion to Islam.

    He was born in Amritsar, India, on April 1, 1621, the son of Guru Har Govind and Mata Nankee ji. He married Gujri ji, and they had one son, Gobind Singh.

    He became guru at Baba Bakala, India, on Aug. 11, 1664, and died at Delhi, India, on Nov. 11, 1675, at the age of 54.

    Guru Gobind Singh, 10th of the 10 gurus, created the order of Khalsa. He sacrificed his father, mother, sons and his own life to protect Sikhs from forced conversion to Islam. He completed the Granth, bestowing upon it the title of everlasting guru.

    He was born in Bihar, India, on Dec. 22, 1666, and was the son of Guru Teg Bahadar and Mata Gujri ji. He married Jito ji (Ajit Kaur), Sundri, and Mata Sahib Kaur and had four sons,  Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh.

    He became the 10th guru at  Anandpur, India, on Nov. 11, 1675, and died at Nanded, India, on Oct. 7, 1708, at the age of 41. More »

    Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scripture, is the last and everlasting Guru of the Sikhs. He was inaugurated as guru at Nanded, India, on Oct. 7, 1708. More »