NANDED (190 10`N, 77°20`E), one of the important centres of Sikh pilgrimage situated on the left bank of the River Godavari, is a district town in Maharashtra. It is a railway station on the Manmad Kachiguda section of the South Central Railway, and is also connnected by road with other major towns of the region. The Sikhs generally refer to it as Hazur Sahib or Abichal Nagar. Both these names apply, in fact, to the principal shrine, but are extended in common usage to refer to the town itself. 

The town ranks as one of the takhts, i.e. a seat of religious authority and legislation for the Sikhs.
Nanded, which was visited both by Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, claims several Sikh shrines of historical importance. TAKHT SACHKHAND SRI HAZUR ABCHALNAGAR SAHIB. At the time of Emperor Bahadur Shah\’s march towards the south via Rajputana, Guru Gobind Singh accompanied him with his own disciples and followers. Crossing the Tapti in mid June and Ban Gariga on 13 August, the two camps arrived at Nanded towards the end of August 1708.

Bahadur Shah, after a brief halt, crossed the Godavari and proceeded on to Golkonda, but the Guru stayed behind at Nanded. Here he converted a Vaishnavite Bairagi recluse, Madho Das, also known as Lachhrnan Dev, who after initiation into the Khalsa fold, received the name of Banda Singh. To Nanded came from the Punjab two Pathans, on the trail of Guru Gobind Singh. They had been hired by Wazir Khan of Sirhind, who felt threatened by the conciliatory negotiations going on between the Emperor and Guru Gobind Singh. These Pathans, the name of one of them is recorded as Jamshaid Khan, dissembling as interested listeners, started attending the evening divan or service.

Finding the Guru alone in his tent one day, they fell on him inflicting a stab wound. Before the blow could be repeated, the Guru despatched one of the Pathans with his own sabre. His companion fell under the swords of the Sikhs who had meanwhile rushed in. Guru Gobind Singh`s wound healed, but it broke out again as he was stretching a powerful bow. Bestowing the succession on the Granth Sahib and thus ending the line of personal Gurus, Guru Gobind Singh passed away on 7 October 1708. Guru Gobind Singh had desired one of his Sikhs, Santokh Singh, who supervised the community kitchen, to remain in Nanded and continue running the Guru ka Larigar.

A number of other Sikhs also decided to stay back. They built a small shrine in memory of Guru Gobind Singh and installed the Guru Granth Sahib in it. Around 1823, Raja Chandu Lal, Diwan of Hyderabad state, had the management of the shrine made over to the Udasls. He also secured for the shrine an endowment of about 525 acres of land. In 1832, Maharaja Ranjit Singh built on the site a two storeyed gurudwara, with a golden dome. During this time, Sikh artisans and workmen came to Nanded in large numbers, and many of them settled here permanently.

Additionally, the Nizam enlisted a troop of Sikhs in his army. With this influx of Sikh population, the Udasi influence receded. Sikhs assumed the responsibility for religious services in the shrine at Nanded, whereas the administration was taken over by the Nizam\’s government. The control of the main shrine and other gurudwaras at Nanded was transferred to a 17member Gurdwara Board, with a 5member Managing Committee constitued under the Nanded Sikh Gurdwaras Act passed on 20 September 1956 by Hyderabad state legislature.

A chakra (quoit), a broad sword, a steel bow, a steel arrow, a gurz (heavy club with a large spherical knob), a small gilded kirpdn and five gilded swords are on display in the sanctum of Takht Sachkhand as Guru Gobind Singh`s relics. GURDWARA HIRA GHAT SAHIB is on top of the left bank of the River Godavari about 9 km northeast of Nanded town. This is the spot where Guru Gobind Singh first set up camp on arrival at Nanded. As the tradition goes, one day Emperor Bahadur Shah who came to call on him presented him with a hird, or diamond. The Guru cast it into the river. Bahadur Shah felt offended. He thought that being a faqir the Guru did not know the value of the stone.

The Guru invited the Emperor to look into the water. The latter did so and was astonished to see heaps of diamonds lying at the bottom of the river. Cleansed of his pride, he bowed at the Guru`s feet. On that site stands Gurdwara Hira Ghat. GURDWARA MATA SAHIB, also on the riverbank, is half a kilometre southeast of Gurdwara Hira Ghat. It marks the place where tents were pitched for Mata Sahib Devan, Guru Gobind Singh\’s wife, who had accompanied him during his journey to the South. While the Guru stayed at Hira Ghat, the langar which was supervised by Mata Sahib Devan was established here. Subsequently the langar was looked after by Baba Nidhan Singh.

The langar continues to this day and is run by the Nihangs under the overall control of Gurdwara Board Takht Sachkhand. The building in which is installed the Guru Granth Sahib was constructed in 1976-77. Other buildings are older. Among them is the angithd, memorial on the cremation spot, in memory of Baba Mit Singh Nihang who died here on 2 Kattak 2001 Bk/17 October 1944. GURDWARA SHIKAR GHAT SAHIB is situated on top of a hillock, about 300 metres from the left bank of the River Godavari. Guru Gobind Singh used this site as a starting point for his hunting {shikar} excursions.

A legend has grown up that the Guru emancipated here the soul of one Bhai Mula who had been under an anathema since the time of Guru Nanak that he would continue in the cycle of birth and death until released by the Tenth Nanak. This was accomplished when Guru Gobind Singh killed a hare at the place marked by Gurdwara Shikar Ghat. The old shrine on this spot was rebuilt in 1971 by Sant Baba Jivan Singh and Baba Dalip Singh who also constructed the approach road as well as the bridge over the River Godavari.

The building, a simple, but elegant, monument, is at one end of a huge walled compound which also encloses a bathing tank. The square shaped gurudwara is mounted over by a lotus dome with decorative domed pavilions at the corners and small solid domelets on all four sides. The whole exterior, including the domes, is lined with white marble slabs. The hall, where the Guru Granth Sahib is seated on a canopied throne of white marble, has a marble floor, with walls panelled with marble slabs and a ceiling of pure white glazed tiles. The shrine is managed by the Gurdwara Board Takht Sachkhand.

GURDWARA NAGINA GHAT SAHIB is on the left bank of Godavari to the southwest of Takht Sachkhand. The legend connected with this shrine bears close similarity to that of Gurdwara Hira Ghat. Here, it is said. Guru Gobind Singh flung into the river a jewel presented by a Vanjara Sikh, proud of his rich offering. As the Guru asked him to look into the water the merchant saw, to his amazement, heaps of glittering jewels, far superior in excellence to the one he had offered. The present building of the gurudwara was constructed by Gulab Singh Sethi of New Delhi. It was completed on 13 April 1968.

The main hall has a canopied throne of white marble where the Guru Granth Sahib is installed. The shrine is administered by the Gurdwara Board Takht Sachkhand. GURDWARA BABA BANDA BAHADUR GHAT SAHIB marks the site of the hermitry of Madho Das Bairagi, renamed Banda Singh after he had received the Khalsa rites. Guru Gobind Singh reached the place on 3 September 1708. Madho Das was not then present. He sat on the Bairagi`s cot and asked the Sikhs to kill some of his goats for food. Madho Das was furious at this profanation of his monastery and burnt with the desire to chastise the strange visitor for his temerity. But no sooner had he set his eyes on the Guru than all his anger was gone; so was his sorcerous will of which he was greatly proud.

He fell at the Guru`s feet and submitted: “Myself I give unto you; I am your bandd (slave).” Banda Singh was admitted to the vows and insignia of the Khalsa and sent on 5 October 1708 to the Punjab by Guru Gobind Singh, accompanied by a few chosen Sikhs. The Gurdwara Banda Ghat, as it is commonly known, is a single flat roofed room with a seat for the Guru Granth Sahib. It is controlled by the Gurdwara Board Takht Sachkhand. GURDWARA MAL TEKRi SAHIB is to the northeast of Takht Sachkhand. The place derives its name from an old mound known previously as Chakri Mal or Mal Tilla.

According to local tradition. Guru Nanak, while journeying in the South, visited the spot and discoursed here with a Muslim faqir, Lakkar Shah, who lived on this mound. Guru Gobind Singh is believed to have unearthed an old treasure hidden in the mound and distributed part of it to his soldiers at Gurdwara Sarigat Sahib burying the remainder again here. The Sikhs established on the site a Manji Sahib. The present gurudwara, built after a judicial decision upholding the Sikhs` claim to the land given on 7 December 1929, consists of a single flat roofed room with an all around verandah, inside a fenced compound. In the centre of the room is installed the Guru Granth Sahib, attended by a grantht provided by Takht Sachkhand. Not far from the gurudwara is the grave of Faqir Lakkar Shah.

GURDWARA SANGAT SAHIB, probably named after a Sikh sangat which existed at Nanded prior to the visit of Guru Gobind Singh, is near the riverbank towards the eastern end of the old town. It is said that the treasure unearthed at Mal Tekri was brought here and distributed by the Guru, not in counted number of coins but in shieldfuls. The gurudwara is an old flat roofed room with a low dome. Some old weapons are displayed on a platform in the centre of the room. They include a shield believed to be the one with which the treasure was distributed.

The Guru Granth Sahib is installed in the narrow space between the central platform and the wall. BUNGA MAT BHAGO Ji marks the site of Mat Bhago`s residence. It is a large room within the compound of Gurdwara Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib, to the east of the central shrine. Besides the Guru Granth Sahib, some old weapons, including large sized muskets and a mortar, and a palanquin are on display in the room. ANGITHA BHAI DAYA SINGH ATE DHARAM SINGH. Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh were two of the Panj Piare. They survived the action at Chamkaur and came out of the fortress with Guru Gobind Singh. From Dina, they were sent to deliver the Guru`s letter, Zafamdmah, to Emperor Aurangzib.

They rejoined the Guru as he was travelling to the South and reached Nanded where they later died.The angithd, or place of cremation, is marked by a small room within the compound of Takht Sachkhand, behind Buriga Mai Bhago. Some old weapons are displayed on a platform in the centre of the room.
GURDWARA LANGAR SAHIB or Gurdwara Baba Nidhan Singh, not an old historical shrine, has gained prominence as a major gurudwara in recent years. It was established by Sant Baba Nidhan Singh during the 1920\’s primarily to provide food and shelter for pilgrims coming to Nanded from distant parts. He collected donations mainly from the Sikh units of the Indian army.

The original building, a square shaped room, now forms part of a hall in which the Guru Granth Sahib is installed. The new complex comprises a large hall, flanked by two floors of rooms for pilgrims, and the Guru ka Langar. The gurudwara, not under the Gurdwara Board, is managed by successors of Baba Nidhan Singh. The recital of gurbdm and kirtan takes place morning and evening, and Guru ka Langar is open roundtheclock. GURDWARA NANAK SAR is a new gurudwara located in the land owned by Gurdwara Langar Sahib, about 10 km from Nanded, across the River Godavari.

Legend, which has grown in recent years, connects the site with Guru Nanak`s visit on his way from Nanded to Bidar.The gurudwara is a newly built rectangular room/in which the Guru Granth Sahib is installed, served by a granthi provided by Gurdwara Langar Sahib. Close to the gurudwara, a bathing tank has been constructed in a depression where existed a well before the present gurudwara was built. Some local, i.e. Dakkhni, Sikhs have constructed another gurudwara, named Gurdwara Nanakpuri about 100 metres from Nanak Sar. As to the sanctity of the spot, both invoke the story of Guru Nanak`s visit.

GURDWARA RATANGARH SAHIB is another new gurdwdra built alongside of a farmhouse, on a site belonging to Gurdwara Langar Sahib. The legend connected with it mentions that Guru Gobind Singh met here a person, Seth Uttam Sreshtha, three days after he had been cremated at the site of Takht Sachkhand. The gurdwdra is a flat roofed hall with a porch, constructed on a high plinth. The Guru Granth Sahib is installed in the hall. The Gurdwara Langar Sahib provides an attendant, who also looks after the farm.


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