KOTLA NIHANG KHAN, about two and a half kilometres south of Ropar (30″58`N, 76°31`E), owes its prominence to Gurdwara Bhattha Sahib. The village is named after (lie local chief, Niharig Khan, a godfearing Afghan contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh first visited Kotia Niharig Khan while on his way back from Paonta to Anandpur. The site of the present Gurdwara Bhattha Sahib used to be a lime kiln which was the property of Niharig Khan.

It is said that the kiln was still smouldering when the Guru arrived here on Magghar w/r/iAmavas, 1745 Bk/12 November 1688 and, inadvertantly or otherwise, rode on to it. As soon as the hooves of his horse touched the kiln, it cooled. Niharig Khan fell at the Guru`s feet and became forever his devoted follower. He escorted him to his //rwfiand put him up for the night with reverence and attention. The Guru again passed through Kotia Nihang Khan while returning from the solar eclipse in 1702-1703.The third visit was on 6 December 1705 when Guru Gobind Singh, after crossing the Sarsa cut across straight towards Kotia Niharig Khan, detaching 100 of his warriors under BhaT Bachittar Singh to cover his flank.

He safely reached Kotia where, relaxing in Niharig Khan`s house, lie wailed for Bachittar Singh. The latter engaged the pursuing host, but most of his men perished in the action. He himself was seriously wounded and brought in that condition to Niharig Khan`s house by Sahib/adaAjit Singh and Bhai Madan Singh. Guru Gobind Singh charged Niharig Khan with looking after Bachittar Singh, and proceeded with the remaining fortyodd Sikhs towards Ghamkaur.Informed that Niharig Kh an was sheltering Sikhs, the Mughal troops searched his house. Bachittar Singh lay halfdead in a small room attended by Niharig Khan`s daughter.

Niharig Khan showed no sign of perturbation, and succeeded in keeping away the search party from that room saying that inside his daughter was nursing her sick husband. The danger was averted, but the life of Bhat Bachittar Singh could not be saved. He succumbed to his injuries and breathed his last on 8 December 1705. Niharig Khan had the cremation performed secretly the following night.Guru Gobind Singh had, before his departure, bestowed upon Niharig Khan a sword, a dagger and a shield.These relics were preserved in the family, but no shrine was raised to the Guru`s memory until Gurdwara Bhattha Sahib was constructed by Sam BabaJivan Singh (1833-1938) of Buddha Bhora on the site of the kiln.

The construction was commenced in 1910 and completed in 1923. When the Pa than family left India, following llie partition of 1947, they presented the sword and the dagger at the Gurdwara, but the shield was taken possession of by tlie family who occupied their house.The sword, which has a beautiful golden hilt and sheath, carries the inscription in Perisan letters: “Shahinshah Shah Mir Muhammad Mamur.” Gurdwara buildings upon a 3acre walled campus include several halls and suncs of rooms. The central threcstoreyed domed shrine, marking the spot where tlie Guru`s horse had stood on tlie kiln, is usually kept closed.

The Guru Granth Sahib is seated in two of the halls. There arc two blocks of rooms, named Guru Nanak Nivas and Dashmcsh Nivas, respectively, for pilgrims. The Gurdwara is administered by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee through a local committee. Besides the daily morning and evening services, special gatherings take place on Sunday mornings and on the first of every Bikrami month. An annual fair is held from 1618 December. The Guru ka Larigar is open round the clock. Inside the village, the Nihangs have established a small shrine in memory of Bhai Bhachittar Singh.

References :

1. Gian Singh, Giani, Twtinkh Gurdudrinn. Ainrilsai, n.d.
2. Tara Singh, Sri Guru `Hralli Sniigmhi. Kanklial, 1975