THANESAR (Kurukshetra) (29058`N, 76050`E) is an ancient pilgrim centre of the Hindus. Devotees from all over India have since time immemorial been forgathering here for a dip in the holy lakes, especially on the occasion of solar eclipse. Several of the Sikh Gurus also visited the place to preach to the pilgrims. There are today six historical gurdwaras in Thanesar commemorating their visits. GURDWARA GHHEViN PATSHAHI is dedicated to Guru Hargobind who visited Thanesar at the time of the solar eclipse fair probably in 1638.

This was not his first visit, for he had spent some time here while returning from Nanak Mata. Guru Nanak and Guru Amar Das had been there as well and people had known them as holy men. They were now surprised to see Guru Hargobind, in succession from Guru Nanak, carrying arms and having armed attendants as his companions. But their doubts were dispelled as they heard his discourse full of spiritual insight. The place near the Senayat tank where the Guru had stayed was later marked by a memorial platform over which a gurdwara was raised in 1909.

This too has since been replaced by an imposing white marble building by Sant Baba Jivan Singh and his successors. It has a large hall with a high ceiling and a canopied throne for the Guru Granth Sahib in the centre. Above it is a large lotus dome with an ornamental pinnacle. The whole exterior surface, including the dome, is covered with white marble slabs. In the adjoining compound are the Guru ka Langar and rooms for pilgrims. The headquarters of the Haryana branch of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee are also located on these premises.

GURDWARA DASVIN PATSHAHI, a small shrine in a house in Mohalla Saudagaran occupied by the descendants of Pandit Mani Ram, who had received Guru Gobind Singh`s blessing when he visited Kurukshetra in 1702-03. At the request of Mani Ram the Guru had visited his house. The shrine in the old premises is a small square room. It is privately owned. GURDWARA NAVIN PATSHAHi, north of the old town of Thanesar is dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur who arrived here from Barna in the course of one of his journeys through these parts.

The Manji Sahib set up to commemorate the visit has been replaced by a new building, which has a hall, with the sanctum in the middle of it. GURDWARA RAJ GHAT, a single flat roofed square hall, commemorates the visit of Guru Gobind Singh to Kurukshetra on the occasion of the solar eclipse in 1702. It stands on the northwestern end of the holy tanks and marks the site where the Guru had pitched his tents. GURDWARA SIDDH BAT1 PATSHAHI PAHIL1 is sacred to Guru Nanak who came to Kurukshetra at (he time of the solar eclipse fair.

As the tradition goes, he invited the wrath of the Brahman priests by having meat cooked on the occasion. Cooking of food at the time of eclipse was considered a sacrilege and eating meat was in any case taboo. Guru Nanak said that the eclipses were the natural phenomena and had nothing to do with the food men ate. This discourse took place on the southern bank of the main sacred tanks. The original shrine established on the spot was destroyed during the devastation suffered by Thanesar at the hands of Mughal and Afghan invaders.

It was rebuilt after the Sikhs had occupied this territory in 1764. The present shrine was constructed by Bhai Udai Singh of Kaithal.It is about two kilometres from Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi, the premier Gurdwara of Thansar and headquarters of the local managing committee. It is in the form of a walled haveli built on a high plinth. The sanctum consists of a single square room in the middle where the Guru Granth Sahib is seated.

GURDWARA TiSARI ATE SATVIN PATSHAHI, common to the memory of Guru Amar Das and Guru Har Rai, is about half a kilometre northeast of Thanesar railway station. Guru Amar Das` visit took place on the occasion of the solar eclipse on 14 January 1553, a date which has been abstracted by a contemporary scholar from one of Guru Ram Das` hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Har Rai, when he visited Kurukshetra, stayed here at this spot.

References :

1. Narotam, Tara Singh, Sri Guru Tirath Sangrahi. Kankhal, 1975
2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twarikh Gurduarian. Amritsar, n.d
3. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-35
4. Thakar Singh, Giani, Sri Gurduare Darshan. Amrit-sar, 1923