BATALA (31° 49`N, 75° 12`E), an old town in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab, is sacred to Guru Nanak, who was married here, according to local tradition, on Bhadon sudf7, 1544 Bk/24 September 1487, to Sulakkhani, daughter of Mul Chand, of the village of Pakkhoke, on the River Ravi, but resident at Batala as caretaker of the lands and property owned by an affluent landlord, Ajitta Randhava. Two historical shrines in Batala commemorate the event. A third one is dedicated to Guru Hargobind`s eldest son, Baba Gurditta, who was also married at Batala. GURDWARA DEHRA SAHIB, also known as Viah Asthan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, marks the house where Bhai Mul Chand lived and where the nuptials were performed.

It is situated along a narrow lane called Gali Dehra Sahib between Tibba Bazar and Bara Bazar. In his later days, Mul Chand shifted back to his native village, Pakkhoke Randhave, and his house in Batala became a holy shrine for the Sikhs. Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth mentions that Guru Hargobind, at the time of the wedding of his son, Baba Gurditta, visited this house. It continued to be in private possession until taken over by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1921-22. A civil suit filed by the original occupants ended in the early forties by an agreement, out of court, under which the plaintiff, Mahant Harbans Singh, surrendered his right of ownership on receipt of appropriate compensation for the property attached to the Gurdwara.

The building, constructed by Maharaja Sher Singh (1807-43), is a 5metre square domed room with a verandah on three sides, and ancillary accommodation around a marblepaved courtyard. This Gurdwara is managed by a local committee under the auspices of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It owns about 40 acres of agricultural land and some urban property. The major event of the year is the fair held in AugustSeptember to mark Guru Nanak`s wedding day. A procession taken out from this Gurdwara returns to it after visiting all other prominent gurdwaras of Batala.

GURDWARA KANDH SAHIB derives its name from kachchi kandh, i.e. mud wall, which, according to local tradition, stood on this site at the time of Guru Nanak`s marriage. It is said that as the wedding party arrived and stopped a little distance short of Bhai Mul Chand`s house, waiting for formal reception by the host. Guru Nanak sat down close to the wall. An old lady living near by, pointing to the dilapidated state of the wall, told him to move away from the spot lest the crumbling wall should fall on him. Guru Nanak assured her that there was no cause for alarm. for the wall would stay intact for a long time.

The wall so consecrated by the Guru became an object of veneration for the devotees who also constructed a memorial platform near it. A symbolic mud wall, neatly plastered, 3 x 5 x 1.5 feet approximately, encased in glass, next to the Guru Granth Sahib at the ground floor, now represents the original wall. The shrine was maintained in a private house by a line of resident priests until it was acquired during the 1950`s by the Seva Committee Gurdwara Kandh Sahib. The foundation of the present building was laid on 17 December 1956.

Standing in a marblepaved compound about 2 metres above the street level, it consists of a 10 metre square hall, with a square sanctum in the middle. The room at the second floor level is used for continuous readings of the Guru Granth Sahib. Above it and over the sanctum is a room with a dome covered with white glazed tiles and decorated with a tall goldplated pinnacle and umbrellashaped finial. Arched copings decorate the top room and decorative pinnacled domes surround the central dome, while square domed kiosks at the corners adorn the top.

The verandah to the left, as one enters, has wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Guru Nanak. Guru ka Langar is across the street, opposite the main entrance. The Gurdwara is administered by the Seva Committee Gurdwara Kandh Sahib. Largelyattended congregations take place on every fullmoon day. All major anniversaries on the Sikh calendar are observed, but the most important function of the year is the fair held to mark the marriage anniversary of Guru Nanak on the seventh day of the light half of the lunar month of Bhadon (AugustSeptember) .

GURDWARA SATKARTARIAN marks the site where the wedding party of Baba Gurditta is believed to have halted. The shrine is affiliated to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and is managed by the local committee of Gurdwara Dehra Sahib. The Gurdwara is a highceilinged hall, with a twostoreyed sanctum in the middle and a gallery at first floor level. Above the sanctum are two storeys of square pavilions topped by a dome. The Guru Granth Sahib is temporarily seated in an old small room near by.

References :

1. Thakar Singh, Giani, Sri Gurduare Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
2. Tara Singh, Sri Gur Tirath Sangrahi. Amritsar, n.d.
3. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
4. Vir Singh, Bhai, ed., PuratanJanam Sakhi. Amritsar, 1982