Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib also spelled as 'Gurdwara Bangla Sahib' is situated near the famous area of Connaught Place in Central Delhi just at the eastern junction of Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Ashok Road and very close to Sacred Heart Cathedral Church. It is easily approachable by local transport and from Central Secretariat Metro Station. This Gurudwara was initially the Haveli or Palace of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I who was an important Chief of the Mughal Empire and ruler of Amber (Jaipur) under the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb who reigned between the late 17th and early 18th Century AD.
Before the demise of Guru Har Rai who was the seventh Sikh Guru, he announced his younger son, Guru Har Krishan (7th July 1656 to 30th March 1664) who was then, only 7 years old, to be the eighth Sikh Guru but Ram Rai, his elder son, disagreed as he felt that he deserved that position. Disappointed, Ram Rai complained to Emperor Aurangzeb stating that he lost the position as he favoured the Emperor and incited Aurangzeb to issue a formal and authoritative order to summon Guru Har Krishan to the Royal Courts. Guru Har Krishan decided to use this opportunity to clear any misunderstandings that had misguided his followers and the Emperor too and travelled to Delhi to meet Aurangzeb despite the fact that Guru Har Krishan had pledged never to visit the Emperor because it was the wish of his father, Guru Har Rai. In the interim, the Delhi Sikh Community also approached Mirza Raja Jai Singh I, who was known to be an ardent devotee of the Sikh Gurus, seeking assistance from him to escort Guru Har Krishan so as to avoid any harm from Emperor Aurangzeb or the delegates of Ram Rai.
Mirza Raja Jai Singh I personally assured the followers of Guru Har Krishan that their Guru will not be harmed and advised that the Guru need not meet the Emperor personally. In 1664, Guru Har Krishan along with his mother Sulakhi and a few of his devotees arrived at Delhi and were invited to stay at the Palace of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I as his guest of honour and to ensure the safety of Guru Har Krishan. During the Guru's stay in Delhi, many devotees would visit him on a daily basis which clearly showed that he was well respected by his followers and devotees despite his young age.
During the same period in 1664, a smallpox epidemic broke out in Delhi and Guru Har Krishan spent all his time attending to the sick by helping them to heal and feeding them with the fresh water from a small well that was located within the premises of the Palace and during this course, he contracted the disease and fell seriously ill. When he realised that he will not survive, on 30th March 1664, Guru Har Krishan asked for a coconut and five coins. He took them in his hands and waved them in the air for three times uttering 'Baba Bakala' and passed away at a tender age of seven.
Later, Mirza Raja Jai Singh I constructed a small tank now known as 'Sarovar' over the fresh water well which is believed to possess healing powers and considered very holy by all the Sikh devotees. Raja Jai Singh I also gifted his Haveli in Delhi to the Sikh Community to be converted to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in honour of Guru Har Krishan as the eighth Sikh Guru had stayed here and was considered of religious significance.
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib was later constructed in 1783 by a Sikh General named Sardar Baghel Singh who was also responsible for supervising the construction of the Nine Sikh Shrines in Delhi during the same year and under the reign of Emperor Shah Alam II. Even today; this Gurudwara is easily recognised by its flagpole and a magnificent Golden Dome that sparkles under the sun.
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Complex homes a small Temple, Secondary School, Kitchen, Art gallery named 'Baghel Singh Museum', Hospital and a Library apart from the Holy pond. The Gurudwara also welcomes everyone irrespective of their caste or creed or religious backgrounds during 'Langar', which is a common event, practiced by all the Sikh Communities that invite people to eat in the kitchen of the Gurudwara or in the 'Langar Hall'. The food is specially prepared by Sikhs who volunteer to assist.
Tourists can visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib on any day from mornings up till evenings but they need to ensure to cover their heads and remove their footwear before entering into the premises of the Gurudwara. Scarves and a shoe minding room are free services provided within the Gurudwara Complex and anyone is welcomed to help out in keeping all the shoes inside the this room.
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib also organises a special prayer service and ceremony during the birth anniversary of the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan and during the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was the first King of the Sikh Empire popularly known as 'Sher-e-Punjab' or 'Lion of Punjab', which welcomes anyone to attend.