KIRATPUR SAHIB (76Â°35`E, SPll`N), a small town in Sivalak foothills in Rupnagar (Ropar) district of the Punjab, was founded by Baba Gurditta under instructions from his father, Guru Hargobind. According to the BhattVahis, the foundation was laid by Baba Sri Ghand, the aged son of Guru Nanak, on Baisakh Puranmashi 1683 Bk/1 May 1626 by ceremonially planting a twig on a tract of land acquired by the Guru from Raja Tara Chand of Kahlur, a small hill state. Guru Hargobind settled in Kiratpur after the battles of Kartarpur and Phagwara in 1635. It remained the seat of the Sikh Gurus until Guru Tegh Bahadur founded in 1665 the new village of Chakk Nanaki (present Anandpur Sahib), 8 km further north. The town has a number of shrines of historical importance. GURDWARA CHARAN KAVAL PATSHAHI PAHILI. Guru Nanak stayed on this site when he visited this part of the country during one of his extensive travels. Here he held religious discourse with a Muslim divine, Pir Buddhan Shah. The Pir lived on goat`s milk which he also offered to the Guru. As the tradition goes, the Guru drank half of it and returned the other half to Buddhan Shah, telling him to keep it till a Sikh of his came to take it. This, it is believed, was an allusion to Baba Gurditta until whose arrival over a hundred years later Pir Buddhan Shah was still alive (His mazar, i.e. grave, is located on a hilltop, about 200 metres to the east of Dchra Baba Gurdittaji and is also visited by Sikh pilgrims to Kiratpur). Gurdwara Charan Kaval stands on a high base. The heavy stone walls riveting the base and the dented parapet at the top give it the appearance of a fortress. The main building was constructed by Raja Bhup Singh ofRopar during the earlier half of the nineteenth century. GURDWARA SHISH MAHAL is one of a complex of six shrines which together mark the site of the buildings used by the Gurus. Shish Mahal, standing in the midst of this complex, was the house in which the holy family resided after Guru Hargobind had shifted to Kiratpur. Guru Har Rai and Guru Har Krishan were born and brought up here. The old building has since been demolished and replaced by a tall and magnificient edifice. To make it a Shish Mahal (Glass Palace) in the literal sense, panels of decorative reflecting glass have been fixed along the whole interior, white on the ceiling and gold on the walls. GURDWARA TAKHT KOT SAHIB. Like the Akal Takht at Amritsar, this was the seat at Kiratpur where Guru Hargobind held his court. Important functions such as the anointing ceremony for Guru Har Rai (8 March 1644) and for Guru Har Krishan (7 October 1661) were performed here. The Takht Sahib, a square room where the Guru Granth Sahib is seated, is on a high plinth at the northern end of a flatroofed hall. There is a domed pavilion with a gold pinnacle on top of the Takht Sahib. GURDWARA SRI HAR1MANDIR SAHIB PATSHAHI CHHEViN marks the site used by Guru Hargobind for meditation or rest in seclusion. There used to be a garden around the pavilion, called Naulakkha Bagh, with an eightcornered fountain in it. It was perhaps in this Naulakkha Garden that young Har Rai once brushed past a shrub with his longflowing loose gown causing a flower to drop from its stem. He felt very grieved to have thus damaged a beautiful flower. Guru Hargobind, his grandfather, saw him in tears. He consoled him and said: "You should always take care." The simple words stuck in the impressionable mind and when Guru Har Rai became Guru, he converted this garden into a small zoo in which he left off animals captured during the chase. The old Gurdwara building of Sirhindi bricks and limecast still stands. In the centre is a flatroofed room in which the Guru Granth Sahib is seated. GURDWARA DAMDAMA SAHIB is a single room, with a small domed pavilion in the centre of the roof, some 20 metres west of Gurdwara Shish Mahal. This was the site for daily gatherings in the time of Guru Har Rai. GURU KA KHUH is an old narrow well, about one metre in diameter, close to Gurdwara Shish Mahal. Still narrower steps lead down into the well to what was probably at one time its water level, although the water table is now much lower. This was the main source of water supply for the inmates of Shish Mahal during the times of the Gurus and later for the Sodhi families residing there. GURDWARA CHUBACHCHA SAHIB, to the SOUthwest of Damdarna Sahib, is a lowdomed building inside a small compound. Chubachcha, in Punjabi, means a circular rough of masonry work used for watering animals near wells or for feeding them with grain in the stables. Although peace had generally prevailed after Guru Hargobind had settled in Kiratpur, Guru Har Rai, obeying his grandfather`s injunction, had retained a contingent of 2,200 mounted soldiers. The bulk of this force was stationed near village Bunga, about 6 km south of Kiratpur, but a few of the animals intended for riding by the Guru were kept at the place marked by Gurdwara Chubachcha Sahib. Guru Har Rai himself came here at times to feed the horses with his own hands. The Gurdwara, like other shrines at Kiratpur, is under the management of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. GURDWARA MAN)! SAHIB marks the residence of Guru Har Rai`s daughter, Bib! Rup Kaur, and her descendants, and was taken over by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee only in 1975. Bibi Rup Kaur was married on Maghar sudi 3, 1719 Bk/3 December 1662 to Bhai Khcm Karan, son of BhaT Per Mall, of Pasrur (now in Sialkot district in Pakistan), but soon after the marriage the couple came back and settled in Kiratpur itself. It was here that Guru Tcgh Bahadur came from Bakala on Bhadori sudi 10, 1721 Bk/21 August 1664 to condole with Bibi Rup Kaur upon the death of her brother, Guru Har Krishan. The building is a doublestoreyed complex of small rooms. The Guru Granth Sahib is placed in one of the rooms on the First floor. The shrine is especially important for its sacred relics. These include a handwritten pothi, a handfan, an embroidered handkerchief, and an anchorite`s cap. The cap is said to have been originally given by Baba Sri Chand to his spiritual successor, Baba Gurditta, and the pothi contains passages from the Guru Granth Sahib as well as some didactic stories. Both these were presented to Bibi Rup Kaur, along with her dowry, by her grandmother, Mata Bassi. The handfan and handkerchief belonged to Bibi Rup Kaur. GURDWARA BIBANGARH SAHIB. Biban, in Punjabi, means a decorated hearse. The severed head of Guru Tcgh Bahadur, executed in Delhi on 11 November 1675, was brought to Kiratpur by BhaTJaita (later Jivan Singh) on 16 November 1675. Guru Gobind Sihgh came from Chakk Nanaki (Anandpur) to Kiratpur to receive it. Gurdwara Bibangarh Sahib marks the spot where the sacred head was received and placed on a biban to be carried for cremation to Anandpur in a procession chanting the sacred hymns. BAOLI SAHIB or GURU KT BAOLI is a large squareshaped well covered with a domed pavilion, with steep steps descending down to water level. The well was got sunk by Baba Gurditta when Kiratpur was founded, the digging having been ceremonially begun by Baba Sri Chand. GURDWARA DEHRA BABA GURDITTAJL atop a narrow plateau, marks the spot where Baba Gurdilta, eldest son of Guru Hargobind, laid down his life. It was Baba Gurditta who had established Kiratpur in compliance of his father`s wish. Sikh tradition credits Baba Gurditta with miraculous powers. It is said that once during a chase he accidentally killed a cow and then, out of remorse, revived the animal. When this news reached Guru Hargobind, he summoned him and admonished him for trying to interfere with the Divine order. Baba Gurditta, now overtaken by an even deeper remorse for causing annoyance to his fatherGuru by working a miracle, quietly left his father`s presence, came to this place near the grave of Pir Buddhan Shah and quit his earthly frame. The griefstricken family and the Sikhs came wailing. Guru Hargobind advised everyone to be calm and accept God`s will. He cremated the body on this spot. The incident took place on Chet sudi 10, 1695 Bk/15 March 1638. The present building of the Gurdwara and the steps leading to it were constructed by Raja Bhup Singh of Ropar. The outer compound is enclosed by high walls and is entered through a doublestoreyed gateway facing north. There arc domed turrets at the corners and decorative pavilions with elongated domes at midpoints of the walls. The sanctum, where the Guru Granth Sahib is seated, stands in the centre on a twometre high pedestal. It has wide arched doors and a low dome under an old mm tree. It is believed that this tree sprouted out of a stick Baba Gurditta had stuck into the ground near where he lay down for his eternal rest. GURDWARA TiR SAHIB is sacred to Guru Hargobind. As one ascends the stairs towards Gurdwara Dehra Baba Gurdittaji, there is a hillock on the right at the end of a spur, commanding the panoramic plain stretching towards the River Sutlej. Sitting on the hilltop, Guru Hargobind used to hold competitions in archery. There is a local tradition that once, towards the end of his days, the Guru shot an arrow from here which landed near the Sutlej bank. That was the place where he breathed his last. The spot is now marked by Gurdwara Patalpuri. Gurdwara Tir Sahib was until recently only a small Manji Sahib. But the hills of Kiratpur being of soft clay rock are highly susceptible to erosion, and the old building in danger of collapse was demolished. A new structure has since been raised on a stoneriveted base. GURDWARA PATALPURI SAHIB, on the left bank of the River Sutlej, marks the site where Guru Hargobind passed away. It is recorded that, when Guru Hargobind saw his end near, he had a hut constructed on this site which was called Patalpuri. Designating Guru Har Rai as his successor, he retired to this hut spending his time in meditation until he breathed his last on 3 March 1644. Here the body was cremated with due honours. Guru Har Rai, who passed away on 6 October 1661, was also cremated here. Although Guru Har Krishan died in Delhi on 30 March 1664, his ashes were, according to the Bhatt Vahis, brought to Patalpuri and immersed in the Sutlej on Bhadon sudi 11, 1721 Bk/22 August 1664. (It has now become customary for Sikhs to immerse the ashes of their dead in the River Sutlej at this point.) Separate shrines for the three Gurus were constructed. There were also several monuments in honour of the Gurus` relations and descendants. They have all been demolished and replaced by a new Gurdwara in a vast hall on a high plinth. Towards the river end of the hall is the prakash asthan for the Guru Granth Sahib. Another two storeys rise above the sanctum, with a dome on top. SANT NIVAS UDASI ASHRAM near Baoli Sahib commemorates the visit of Baba Sri Chand, founder of the UdasI sect. Here he is said to have given a cap and cord, emblems of the headship of the sect, to Baba Gurditta. According to the notice displayed at the Ashram, this visit took place on Har sudi Puranmashi, 1685 Bk/7 July 1628, but according to the Bliatt Vahis he visited Kiratpur on Baisakh sudi Puranmashi, 1683 Bk/1 May 1626, when he planted a sapling symbolizing the founding of Kiratpur and cut the ground for the baoli.