Historic Gurdwaras of Patna

Commemorative Shrines of Patna

Patna, formerly known as Patliputra, is the capital of the state of Bihar, in the region of Eastern India. It is home to five historic gurdwaras built on ancient sites significant to Sikhism which commemorate important events involving the gurus of Sikh history. The shrines are dedicated to the memory of:
  • First guru, Nanak Dev.
  • Ninth guru, Teg Bahadur.
  • Tenth guru, Gobind Singh, Teg Bahdur's son and successor, who began life as Gobind Rai.
Annual gurpurab festivities are held in Patna to celebrate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh.
Takhat Harmandir Sahib in Patna
Takhat Harmandir Sahib in Patna. Photo © [Devesh Bhatta - Courtesty GNU Free Documentation License]

The most prominent of Patnas' shrines, Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib, is one of five seats of authority in Sikhism. It stands where:

  • A jeweler, Salas Rai, made his home available in the 1500's to the converts of Sikhism, known as Chhoti Sangat.
  • Raja Fateh Chand Maim, the ruler of Patna, built a house at the site for Guru Teg Bahadur's family, to use as a base while the Guru toured Eastern India preaching. The Guru's wife, Gujri, gave birth to a son, Gobind Rai, at this spot December 22, 1666 A.D. The guru's family was in residence until 1670. The spot was used as a meeting place for worship there after.
  • In the 1800's Maharaja Ranjit Singh built a new gurdwara.
  • In 1934 an earthquake damaged the buildings which were renovated in the mid 1900's.
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Gurdwara Pahila Bari aka Gurdwara Ghai Ghat

Guruwara Ghai Ghat Grind Stone Chakki
Guruwara Ghai Ghat Grind Stone Chakki. Photo © [Courtesy Baru Sahib]

Gurdwara Pahila Bari commemorates the worship site of early followers of Sikhism. While on his travels during the early 1500's, Guru Nanak stayed with a confectioner named Jaita, who opened his home to people who congregated to hear the Guru's message. The gathering became known as Gae Ghat Sangat. In the 1980's a new building was constructed. The gurdwara houses two relics:

  • A rebeck supposed to have belonged to Mardana, Guru Nanaks' traveling companion.
  • A grinding stone thought to have been used by Mata Gujri, Guru Gobind Singh's mother, during her stay in Patna.

Gurdwara Bal Lila Maini Sangat

Chole (Spicy Chickpea Stew)
Chole (Spicy Chickpea Stew). Photo © [S Khalsa]

This shrine stands at the former home of Raja Fateh Chand Maini and is close to the Takhat. The Raja and his wife, Rani Maini, had no children. The Rani treated young Gobind Rai as her own son, holding him in her lap and making his favorite food. The Rani prepared chole (spicy chickpea curry) and poori (crispy flatbread) for Gobind Rai and his playmates. When Gobind Rai left Patna, the Rani had a gurdwara built in her home where she served chole and poori to worshipers in his memory. The tradition continued. Even today, chole and poori is still offered to all who visit the gurdwara. The date of an ancient carving on the door to the shrine corresponds to the Nanakshahi date of August 28, 1668 A.D. The modern day gurdwara has been renovated.

Gurdwara Sri Gobind Singh Ghat

Gurdwara Kangan Ghat Sahib
Gurdwara Kangan Ghat Sahib. Photo © [Hpt Lucky Courtesy SikhiWiki]

This gurdwara is situated on the banks of the Ganges River less than a quarter mile from the takhat. Ghat translates to mean a place on the river bank where water is drawn, or which is used for bathing, or as a boat landing. The gurdwara commemorates a favorite spot where Gobind Rai and his friends played along the river bank. The small gurdwara has only one room. The river no longer flows near the gurdwara as it has long since changed its course. The gurdwara is also known as Kangan Ghat commemorating an incident when Gobind Rai threw a gold bangle into the river.

Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh

Gurdwara Ka Bhag
Gurdwara Ka Bhag. Photo © [Hpt Lucky Courtesy SikhiWiki]

This gurdwara is about a mile and a half from the takhat and commemorates the arrival of Guru Teg Bahadur to Patna where he was received in the gardens of nobles Nawab Rahim Baksh and Karim Baksh. After four years of touring Eastern India, the Guru returned to Patna to join his family. He was received in the same gardens about 1670 A.D. There is an ancient well on the site which still gives water. The stump of an Imli tree from the original garden has been preserved. Articles used by Gobind Rai, which are kept in the gurdwara as relics include:

  • A cot.
  • A sandalwood khanga.
  • A khanda.
  • Four arrows.
  • A child sized sword.
  • A child sized kartar (weapon).
  • Ancient alphabet on Parchment.
  • Ivory sandals (kharanwan) belonging to Guru Teg Bahadur and Gobind Rai.
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Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Historic Gurdwaras of Patna." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/historic-gurdwaras-of-patna-2993193. Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2016, August 22). Historic Gurdwaras of Patna. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/historic-gurdwaras-of-patna-2993193 Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Historic Gurdwaras of Patna." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/historic-gurdwaras-of-patna-2993193 (accessed November 25, 2017).