Patna, ancient Patliputra, now capital of Bihar State is reverently called Patna Sahib by the Sikhs because of its consecration by Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh. The latter was born here during Guru Tegh Bahadur’s tour of eastern Bihar, Bengal and Assam from 1666 to 1670. Patna Sahib is situated on the right bank of the River Ganges.
Gurdwară Pahilă Bari (lit, the first and larger), commonly known as Gurdwäră Găe Ghăt, is dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev, who during his visit to Patna stayed here with Bhăi Jaita, a pious man, confectioner by trade, who became the Guru’s follower and later converted his house into a dharmsala. The congregation that gathered here came to be called Ban Sangat or Găe Ghat Sangat. Later, Sălas Râi, a wealthy jeweller, became a convert and took the Guru to his own place where, too, a small community of Sikh believers was formed into what was known as Chhoti Sangat. A new building comprising a spacious square hall with the sanctum in the middle was constructed during the 1980s. Two relics are preserved here a rebeck claimed to be once Bhai Mardana’s and a stone called Mata Gujari’s grindstone.
Takht Sri Harimandir Sahib, the principal shrine at Patna Sahib and one of the five Takhts or the highest seats of religious authority for the Sikhs, marks the site of the Chhoti Sangat. Guru Tegh Bahadur had first alighted at Ban Sangat at Gae Ghat from where he was brought in procession to this place which had once been the commodious mansion of Salas Rai, the jeweller, and where Raja Fateh Chand Maim now built a new house to accommodate the holy family. Guru Tegh Bahadur himself, leaving his family here in the care of his brother-in-law Kirpal Chand and the local sangat, proceeded on further to the east. Guru Gobind Singh was born here on the seventh day of the light half of the month of Poh in 1723 Bikrami corresponding to 22nd December 1666.
He spent his early childhood here until his departure for the Punjab in 1670. The house continued to be maintained as a holy place of worship. Its building was replaced by Maharaja Ranjit Singh during 1837-39 with a square flat-roofed hail surrounded by a covered passage for circumambulation. Rulers of Patiala, Jind and Faridkot jointly added several rooms and a gateway to the compound in 1887. An earthquake in 1934 seriously damaged the older building of the Takht Sahib. The present five-storey building was constructed during 1954-57 through kar-seva under the supervision of Sant Nischal Singh and Sant Kartar Singh. The sanctum sanctorum representing the room where Guru Gobind Singh was born has a circumambulatory passage around it. Adjacent is the spacious high-ceilinged congregation hail. The arch of the door of the inner sanctum opening on the congregation hail is covered with glided copper plates embossed with floral design matching the marble sculpture on the interior walls. Of the three canopied seats facing the hail, the central one has Guru Granth Sahib seated on it with a large-size portrait of Guru Gobind Singh behind it in place of an officiant. Guru Granth Sahib is placed on the seat on its right and the Dasam Granth on the one on the left, both attended by granthis holding whisks over them. The compound of the Takht Sahib also has several blocks of rooms for staff and visitors as well as for Guru kă Langar.
Gurdwără Băl Lila Maini Sangat, in a narrow lane dose to Takht the house where Răjă Fateh Chand Maini lived. His childless rani had developed special fondness for the young Gobind Das, who, too often, came to sit in the Rani’s lap giving her immense delight and spiritual solace. She fed the Sahibzada and his playmates, at his demand, with salted and boiled gram. Even now boiled and salted gram is served as Prasad in this Gurdwara, which, unlike the other shrines is served by nirmala Sikhs. A wood carving on the old front door is corresponding to 28th August 1668, but the hall housing the sanctum and other blocks of rooms in the inner compound have been reconstructed during recent decades.
Gurdwară Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ghăt is where the child Gobind Das used to play with his playmates on the bank of the Ganges. Ghat means a place on the bank, usually paved, for bathing , drawing water or for landing or harbouring boats. This ghăt, about one furlong from Takht Harminder Sahib is marked by a gateway over which this gurdwara is situated in a single room. The river however receded since away to the north.
Gurdwără Guru ka Bagh is about three kilometres east of Takht Harimandir Sahib where Guru Tegh Bahadur first alighted in a garden belonging To Nawabs Rahim Baksh and Karim Baksh, nobles of Patna, and where sangat of Patna came to receive him back from his four year long odyssey. Its present building was constructed during the 1970s and 1980s. An old well still in use and dried stump of the imli tree under which Sangat met Guru Tegh Bahadur, still Exists. The following relics of the Tenth Guru are kept at the Takht Sri Harmindar Sahib
Nishan IV Written by Barinder Singh Malhans. Copyright Nishaan 1/2001