Gurudwara Baba Shri Atal Sahib Ji, Amritsar, Punjab

Famous for the Harmandir Sahib and the Akal Takht, Amritsar hosts a number of other Sikh Gurudwaras as well like Baba Atal Sahib Ji. Learn more about this Sikh temple, and how to reach Atal Sahib Ji Gurudwara in Amritsar, Punjab.

It is a awful yet true thing that the hosts of the Sikh pilgrims visiting the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar or Harmandir Sahib, as well as the Akal Takht Sahib in the same complex everyday in numbers, often do not know nor realise that yet another beautiful piece of the Sikh architecture lies only a few paces away. About 40 metres high, it is the tallest building in the entire Amritsar city. Yes, it is the Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib in Amritsar which is just a few minutes' walk away from the celebrated Harmandir Sahib temple complex. It is not only an architectural marvel of the Sikh school, but at the same time, is rendered as the one of the holiest and most poignant Sikh places of Worship in Punjab, and even outside it. The history of Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai commemorates the untimely death of the young son of the Sixth Sikh Guru, Shri Guru Har Gobind Ji, and it is actually a cenotaph built on the remains of Atal Rai. The nine storeys of the Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib Ji are intended to commemorate the nine years of the brisk life of Baba Atal Rai, cut short by his untimely death in 1628.

History of Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib, Amritsar

The history of Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib is associated to a mythical feat performed by Atal Rai, the son of Guru Har Gobind Ji. According to the popular beliefs, even at the early age of nine, Atal Rai restored one of his friends, Mohan, to Photo of Gurudwara Baba Shri Atal Sahib Ji, Amritsar, Punjab life after his sudden death. Nevertheless, while everyone was wondering at this miraculous feat performed by the nine year old boy, his father, Guru Hargobind, harshly rebuked him for this public exhibition of spiritual power and for breaking the natural doctrines. Having realised the mistake, Atal Rai regretted to his father for performing the miracle, and wanted to sacrifice his own life in return as he reversed the natural order by restoring his friend to life. The boy sat for meditation, and soon passed away. On the bank of Kaulsar, a pyre was built for his funeral, and later a cenotaph was built at that place.

Atal Rai is perhaps one of the few example in the entire history of Sikhism who was honoured by the title of Baba, literally the aged wise man, despite the fact that he died only at the age of nine. This was due to the superhuman miraculous powers he exhibited to restore his friend Mohan, a son of a widow, to life. The nine storeys of the present cenotaph are intended to commemorate the nine years he lived. The scholars of Sikh history have always debated over the actual date of the erection of the present cenotaph known as the Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib. Nevertheless, unanimously they at least agree that the present building was built towards the end of the eighteenth century, though renovations and repairs were always there. The gilded dome on the top is a common feature of the Sikh architecture, and resembles its counterparts in the Harmandir Sahib and the Durgiana Temple.

Features of Baba Atal Sahib Gurudwara in Amritsar

While the present octagonal building of the Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib is itself a supreme exhibition of architecture, almost no less than the feats performed by the miracle boy, the details of its architectural excellence are better to be discussed by the specialists. What the common man wonders at is the rare collection of historical Sikh paintings inside the shrine. One series of them unfolds the stages of the holy life of Baba Guru Nanak Ji. The last painting of this series is a wonderful one which depicts Guru Nanak Dev Ji appointing the next Sikh Guru, Angad Dev Ji, as his successor. Other series of paintings including the lives of Sikh martyrs are also there.

Yet another socio-religious aspect oh this Gurudwara is the needy and the destitute are offered free food in the shrine throughout the day. The devotees who come here to visit the shrine to pay their homage to Baba Atal bring cooked foods to offer the the poor waiting near the shrine. That is why the popular saying goes Baba Atal pakiyan pakaiyan ghal, literally Baba Atal offers cooked foods.

How to reach Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib

Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib is a well known place in the city of Amritsar, so you can get a taxi from any corner of the city to this place. It is also very close to the Golden Temple complex, and just about two hundred metres from Sarai Guru Ram Das. If you are wondering how to reach Amritsar and where to stay there, please visit our Amritsar district information page.

Image from Wikipedia Commons, released to public domain under GNU Free Documentation License, 1.2. Resized.

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