About Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship (gurdwaras) in Delhi, India.
History of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Originally, the spot had a bungalow on it known as Jaisinghpura Palace. Built by Raja Jai Singh, a 17th century ruler, the eighth Sikh guru, Guru Har Krishan stayed there whilst visiting Delhi in 1664, giving aid and fresh water from the well at the house to people who were suffering in a smallpox and cholera epidemic. As such, the waters are reputed to have healing powers. Guru Har Krishan himself then fell ill, and died in the same year.
The Sikh General Sadar Baghel Singh first built a small shrine on the site in 1783: at the same time, he constructed a small tank over the well to protect the sacred water: even today, Sikhs across the world collect it and take it home to benefit from its healing powers.
Today, it’s a huge white marble complex, topped with golden onion domes, making it one of the most recognisable buildings in Delhi. The complex itself is made up of the main building, as well as a kitchen, school, art gallery and the famous pool, known as the Sarovar. The architecture channels Islamic-style symmetry as well as the somewhat more chaotic nature of Hindu buildings, and remains a permanent hive of community amongst Sikhs.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib today
Before entering, you will be required to cover your head – there’s a supply of cloths for visitors but carrying your own headscarf will be a lot less hassle – as well as remove your shoes and wash your feet before entering. All are welcome at the temple, but bear in mind local dress codes and the fact that this is a place of religious significance: dress modestly, covering arms and legs as much as possible.
The gurudwara operates with a langar, a community kitchen where all are welcome to come for vegetarian food, irrespective of caste, colour or creed: the Gurudwara is one of the biggest Sikh houses of worship in Delhi and seeing the langar in operation is impressive and fascinating in equal measures: you might even be asked if you would like to partake.
Visitors are free to explore, although pictures cannot be taken inside the temple itself. The gurudwara has a sense of relative serenity, and people watching here can be an interesting experience: tourists are often few and far between so enjoy seeing families go about their daily lives.
There is a small museum near the entrance which has a good explanation of various Sikh practices and the history of Sikhism: it’s worth paying it a visit to learn more about one of India’s main religions.
Getting to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
The Gurudwara is close to Connaught Place, and easily walkable from LIC Shivaji Stadium Station (Orange line) and Patel Chowk Station (Yellow line) on the metro. Otherwise, as with everywhere in Delhi, you should be able to get here easily via tuk tuk or taxi.
With a history dating back to the 10th century, and the 3rd largest city in the world today, Delhi remains a popular starting or finishing point for travellers exploring Northern India. Beyond the chaos and the smog, Delhi is crammed with rich and varied historic sites which help tell the story of this remarkable city.