The Lesser Known Gurudwaras around Amritsar
Gurudwara Bir Baba Buddha Sahib
A small boy grazing cattle outside the village happened to notice Guru Nanak. The boy’s name was Bura. He offered a bowl of milk to Guru Nanak and prayed to him to absolve him from the cycle of life and death. Guru Nanak was amused on hearing these wise words from a young boy. From that day Bura – the young child possessing the wisdom of an old man was famously known as Baba Buddha. He was considered a primal figure of early Sikhism who lived long enough to anoint five succeeding gurus. There are references of Bir Baba Buddha Sahib in Golden Temple, Amritsar as well. The tree where he used to sit and supervise the works to excavate the Amritsar sacred tank, still stands in the precincts of Harmandir Sahib.
I was intrigued to see the sweets given in the shrine was onions and chapatis (flat bread). This practice has its origins in an interesting story. When the wife of the fifth Guru (Guru Arjan Dev) desired a son, she was asked to seek blessings of Baba Buddha. She took a lot of delicacies prepared by her attendees and marched to visit the saint with great pomp. Baba refused to accept the food. Later, she prepared a simple meal with chapati and onions and took it to Baba. He accepted the food by crushing the onions with his fist and blessed her by telling that she will give birth to a son who will crush the tyrant’s head. Guru Arjan and his wife were later blessed with a son who went on to become the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Singh. With this anecdote, I sat there in the gurudwara – breaking bread, crushing onions and listening to the soothing kirtans.
Gurudwara Tarn Taran Sahib
When I remember Gurudwara Tarn Taran Sahib, the first memory to surface is its extraordinarily large pond. In many ways, it resembles the architecture of Harmandir Sahib except that this has marble exteriors and is built on the side of the pond. It would have been much more remarkable if it was built in the center of the pond like the Golden Temple! The water of the pond is believed to possess medicinal properties capable of curing leprosy.
The gurudwara was established by the fifth Guru Arjan Dev in the city of Tarn Taran, a few kilometers away from Amritsar. In fact, the city got its name when Guru Arjan Dev named the shrine Tarn Taran. The shrine is partly covered in gold that was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He also built 17 massive gate entrances in Tarn Taran city for the elephants to walk in easily. When his grandson visited the city, he built a minaret at the end of the Sarovar (pond). Only one minaret was built and the rest could not be completed due to his death. The literal meaning of Taran is a boat. The name signifies the boat that takes an individual across the ocean of existence. A big fair is held at this Gurudwara on New Moon.
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