BARATH, a village 8 km southwest of Pathankot (32° 15`N, 75° 32`E) in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab, has a historical shrine, Gurdwara Tap Asthan Baba Sri Chand Ji, popularly called Gurdwara Barath Sahib. Baba Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak, chose for himself the life of a recluse. After GuruNanak`s passing away, he left Kartarpur and spending sometime at the village of Pakkhoke, established a hermitage at Barath which became the centre of the Udasi sect he had founded. Gurus held him in high esteem for his spiritual eminence.

Guru Arjan and, after him, Guru Hargobind travelled to Barath especially to meet him. According to local tradition, Guru Arjan sought Baba Sri Chand`s blessing for the completion of the tank at Tarn Taran. During Guru Hargobind`s visit, Baba Sri Chand nominated Baba Gurditta, the Guru`s eldest son, his successor as head of the Udasi sect. The shrine at Barath was maintained by Udasi priests until the Gurdwara reform movement of 1920`s when it passed into the control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Construction of the present complex commenced in 1968.

It comprises the old domed room, with a tall brass pinnacle, on top of a mound, since renovated and extended by a circumambulatory verandah, a vast fenced compound on an elevated surface, and a row of rooms for pilgrims and the Guru ka Langar. An octagonal pillar of mosaic concrete, in front of a square flatroofed room, is dedicated to the Fifth Guru. It is known as Thamm Sahib Sri Guru Arjan DevJi. The old Baoli Sahib, since converted into a small circular tank, is in a separate compound about 50 metres away from the main shrine.

A small pond and a few trees, to the southeast of the Gurdwara, represent the old garden where Guru Hargobind is believed to have encamped at the time of his visit to Barath. The Gurdwara owns 60 acres of arable land and is administered by a manager appointed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and assisted by a local committee. The Tap Asthan, where the Guru Granth Sahib is now seated, is visited by a large number of devotees, especially on amavasya, the last day of the dark half of the lunar month, when religious divans and community meals take place. The most important function of the year is a twoday fair held in mid-April to celebrate Baisakhi.

References :

1. Tara Singh, Sri Gur Tirath Sangrahi. Amritsar, n.d.
2. Thakar Singh, Giani, Sn Gurduare Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
3. Randhir Singh, Bhai, Udasi Sikkhan di Vithia. Amritsar, 1959