Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Nahee Chhodoon Re Baba Ram Naam,
Mujhe Aur Padan se Nahi Kaam

So sang the Raagi inside the magnificent Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara when I visited it in September 2009 . I could understand the story of Prahlad and Hiran Kashyap being conveyed through this Kirtan .We sat in the Gurudwara for half an hour .The Gurudwara was visted by Kashmiri Pandits regularly on their morning visit to the Shrine of godess Sharika . Pandits would bow at the Shrine of Muslim saint Maqdoom Sahib while entering the fort wall of Hari Parbat and finally at the exit Gate known as Kathi Darwaza they would invariably visit Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara . Some would enter inside and bow to Guru Granth Sahib . The early morning devotional singing by Raagis attracted every passer by in this area . .This Devotional Singing is an integral part of the Sikh Maryaada ..

Simar , Simar , Simar sukh Paa-i-aa

(Meditating , Meditating, Meditating in remembrance , I have found the bliss ).
(Page 202 of Guru Granth sahib )

In fact SIMRAN , a Sanskrit word meaning remembrance forms an  essential part of Devotion.  Like the Vedic Simran , The sikh Tradition too approves of Individual SIMRAN in silence or the SIMRAN in gatherings to sing Hymns in praise of AKAL PURUKH . Singing hymns is a Shabd yoga and consists of Simran , Dhyan and Bhajan. This is how the Shabd Kirtan originated . Bhajan Kirtan in Gurudwara is thus an essential part of the sikh Tradition and in fact Guru Arjun Dev ji ( fifth Guru ) who compiled Guru Granth sahib had profound knowledge of Musical Ragaas . All the ten sikh Gurus maintained the tradition of Shabd kirtan . Soul stiring Bhajan Kirtan in Gurudwaras transports you to another world. Sit for some time , understand the words and remain focused and see the relief . Many devotees have  experienced this  especially at Darbar Sahib in Amritsar.

Having visited almost all Gurudwaras of Kashmir be it at Mattan, Tral , Awantipora , Barzulla , Bijbihara or Baramulla ; I have noticed a unique attraction in Chatti Padshahi Gurdwara , even for a non sikh . May be its location which is proximal to the abode of goddess Sharika or to the Ziyarat of saint Maqdoom Sahib. Whatever be the reason but Fact remains that the noble and saintly sixth sikh Guru Hargobind ji has touched the soil of this place to make it a place of attraction for all irrespective of caste or creed .

During the reign of Jehangir , Guru Hargobind ji visited Kashmir ( 1620 A D precisely ) .Guru ji is reported to have met Bhai Ram Dass a sikh convert who was living just outside the fort wall . Mata Bhag Bhari an old Kashmir Pandit saintess lived in Rainawari . Kashmiri Pandits used to worship Mata Bhag Bari as a saintess of high order. She is reported to have walked to the house of Bhai Ram dass from Rainawari to present a Cloak to Guru Ji. Mata Bhag Bhari had worn her eyes out while weaving the white cloak for guru ji. It is further mentioned in sikh scriptures that Guru Ji shot an arrow into the ground and water gushed out . He took the water and sprinkled it on her eyes restoring her eyesight . The present Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara has come up exactly at this spot only. Interaction between Mata Bhag Bhari and Guru Hargobind ji is well preserved and documented in various sikh scriptures .

Initially a small wooden structure was built over here but later during the rule of Sikhs in Kashmir( 1819-1846 ) a Gurudwara and a Dharmshala was constructed by Hari Singh Nalwa the then sikh Governor of Kashmir . Pandit Seva Ram ( who later came to be known as Bhai seva ji )son of Mata Bhag Bhari was appointed as the first attendant of this shrine. As a matter of fact ,kashmiri Pandits have a history of close interaction with sikh Gurus . For example Guru Nanak Dev ji met Pandit Brahm Dass at Mattan . Brahm Dass was a direct ancestor of Pandit Kripa Ram who led the delegation of Pandits to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Pandit Kripa Ram was so much touched with the sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji that he decided to stay with Guru Gobind singh ji and teach him Sanskrit classics and Shastras . Pandit Kirpa Ram too adopted the new Faith later and became a Khalsa never to return to Kashmir .

The present Gurudwara of Chatti Padshahi is built exactly at the place where Guru Hargobind ji camped . The place is outside the Kathi Darwaza or gate to the wall of Akbar’s Fort .One can have a commanding view of the shrine of Maqdoom Sahib or the fort atop the hill nearby from this Gurudwara.. The shrine of Sharika is on the other side of the hill. The gurudwara is just a kilometer away from the Saida kadal bridge on the canal connecting Dal lake with Nageen lake . Nageen lake is just two Kms away from the Gurudwara . The highly revered shrine of Hazrat Bal is also just 2.5 kms from this Gurudwara .Badam Wari ( Almond garden ) where the annual spring fair is held is close by . About 12 sikh families reside in the vicinity of this Gurudwara and some more reside in the Dharmshala complex just opposite the Gurudwara . Some families also reside inside the fort boundary wall near the old Psychiatric hospital. Sikhs living over here had a wonderful Hockey team. I happened to know Manohar Singh ( advocate ) , Kaami singh ( Hockey centre forward ) and karm Singh ( Employed in State Bank of India bank ) from this area .
The Gurudwara over here has now been built with white marble exterior and more constructions inside the complex are progress. Enjoy the views of this historical sikh shrine taken by me in September 2009 with some lines from a poem of Allama iqbal.

Ye Payaam Dhe Gayee hai Mujhe baadh e SubhGaahi
Ki Khudi ke Aarifon ka Hai Maqaam Paadshahi.
Na diyaa Nishaane Manzil Mujhe Aey Hakeem Tuune
Mujhe Kya Gilaa ho Tujh se , Tuu Na Rehnashin Na Raahi

( Allama Iqbal )

The morning breeze has often conveyed a message to me
“Those who believe in Self , Their abodes are Kingdoms alone ”
O Mentor ! never have you identified my goal to me ,
What can be my complaint to thee!
Thou art neither my companion nor a traveller thyself.


  1. Mota sahib , I did not know much about Sikhism but your writtings have created an interest in me to know much about Sikhism. Pl keep enlighting. Regarding Chattipadshai gurdwara the same finds a place deep in our memories as during the parikrama of Hari Parbhat we used to bow our head in reverence before the majestic gurdwara and savor the kadaprasad . Those were the golden days . I had been recently to the place but something was missing.

  2. thanks a lot haku sahib for the comments .

  3. Thanx for posting such beautiful thoughts about the Gurudwara... i m from kashmir and i visit the gurudwara every weekend on Sundays... but today i saw the Gurudwara in a totally different view... that i never thought... Once again thanx 4 showing us such a beautiful side of the Gurudwara.


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