BAṬĀLĀ (31º-49'N, 75º-12'E), an old town in Gurdāspur district of the Punjab, is sacred to Gurū Nānak, who was married here, according to local tradition, on Bhādoṅ sudī 7, 1544 Bk/24 September 1487, to Sulakkhaṇī, daughter of Mūl Chand, of the village of Pakkhoke, on the River Rāvī, but resident at Baṭālā as caretaker of the lands and property owned by an affluent landlord, Ajittā Randhāvā. Two historical shrines in Baṭālā commemorate the event. A third one is dedicated to Gurū Hargobind's eldest son, Bābā Gurdittā, who was also married at Baṭālā.
GURDWĀRĀ ḌEHRA SĀHIB, also known as Viāh Asthān Srī Gurū Nānak Dev Jī, marks the house where Bhāī Mūl Chand lived and where the nuptials were performed. It is situated along a narrow lane called Galī Ḍehrā Sāhib between Ṭibbā Bāzār and Baṛā Bāzār. In his later days, Mūl Chand shifted back to his native village, Pakkhoke Randhāve, and his house in Baṭālā became a holy shrine for the Sikhs. Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth mentions that Gurū Hargobind, at the time of the wedding of his son, Bābā Gurdittā, visited this house. It continued to be in private possession until taken over by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee in 1921-22. A civil suit filed by the original occupants ended in the early forties by an agreement, out of court, under which the plaintiff, Mahant Harbaṅs Siṅgh, surrendered his right of ownership on receipt of appropriate compensation for the property attached to the Gurdwārā.
The building, constructed by Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh (1807-43), is a 5-metre square domed room with a verandah on three sides, and ancillary accommodation around a marble-paved courtyard. This Gurdwārā is managed by a local committee under the auspices of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee. It owns about 40 acres of agricultural land and some urban property. The major event of the year is the fair held in August-September to mark Gurū Nānak's wedding day. A procession taken out from this Gurdwārā returns to it after visiting all other prominent gurdwārās of Baṭālā.
GURDWĀRĀ KANDH SĀHIB derives its name from kachchī kandh, i. e. mud wall, which, according to local tradition, stood on this site at the time of Gurū Nānak's marriage. It is said that as the wedding party arrived and stopped a little distance short of Bhāī Mūl Chand's house, waiting for formal reception by the host, Gurū Nānak sat down close to the wall. An old lady living near by, pointing to the dilapidated state of the wall, told him to move away from the spot lest the crumbling wall should fall on him. Gurū Nānak assured her that there was no cause for alarm, for the wall would stay intact for a long time. The wall so consecrated by the Gurū became an object of veneration for the devotees who also constructed a memorial platform near it. A symbolic mud wall, neatly plastered, 3 x 5 x 1. 5 feet approximately, encased in glass, next to the Gurū Granth Sāhib at the ground floor, now represents the original wall. The shrine was maintained in a private house by a line of resident priests until it was acquired during the 1950's by the Sevā Committee Gurdwārā Kandh Sāhib. The foundation of the present building was laid on 17 December 1956. Standing in a marble-paved compound about 2 metres above the street level, it consists of a 10 metre square hall, with a square sanctum in the middle. The room at the second floor level is used for continuous readings of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Above it and over the sanctum is a room with a dome covered with white glazed tiles and decorated with a tall gold-plated pinnacle and umbrella-shaped finial. Arched copings decorate the top room and decorative pinnacled domes surround the central dome, while square domed kiosks at the corners adorn the top. The verandah to the left, as one enters, has wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Gurū Nānak. Gurū kā Laṅgar is across the street, opposite the main entrance.
The Gurdwārā is administered by the Sevā Committee Gurdwārā Kandh Sāhib. Largely-attended congregations take place on every full-moon day. All major anniversaries on the Sikh calendar are observed, but the most important function of the year is the fair held to mark the marriage anniversary of Gurū Nānak on the seventh day of the light half of the lunar month of Bhādoṅ (August-September).
GURDWĀRĀ SATKĀRTĀRĪĀṄ marks the site where the wedding party of Bābā Gurdittā is believed to have halted. The shrine is affiliated to the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee and is managed by the local committee of Gurdwārā Ḍehrā Sāhib. The Gurdwārā is a high-ceilinged hall, with a two storeyed sanctum in the middle and a gallery at first floor level. Above the sanctum are two storeys of square pavilions topped by a dome. The Gurū Granth Sāhib is temporarily seated in an old small room near by.
John C. B. Webster