Sikh places of worship are generally termed as ‘Gurdwaras’. It stands for a holy place for the Sikhs where they could gather to listen to the hymns recorded in their holy book, the ' Guru Granth Sahib'.

In early days, such places of worship were called ‘Dharamshalas’. It was christened ‘Gurdwara’ by Guru Hargobind, meaning the gateway through which the Guru could be reached. Any place where the Guru Granth Sahib is installed and treated with due respect can be referred to as a Gurdwara, whether it is a room in ones’ house or a separate building. In due course, every Sikh place of worship came to be called a Gurdwara.

Public Gurdwaras carry out three main functions – First one is Kirtan, which is the singing of hymns from the holy book Guru Granth Sahib; the second one is Katha, which includes the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib and explaining its essence. The third is Langar, which features free community kitchen for all visitors, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed or financial status. Apart from these, Gurdwaras also have libraries, run schools to teach children Gurmukhi, i.e. the script for Punjabi language, and Sikh scriptures and are actively involved in charity work across the world. Some historical Gurdwaras also have museums attached to them.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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