DHŪPĪĀ, from Skt. dhūpa or incense, means incense-burner, i. e. a temple functionary whose duty it is to burn incense before the deity at appointed hours especially during the āratī ritual, which the priests perform swaying a tray carrying lighted lamps in front of the deity. Though the ritual as such is rejected in Sikhism, the burning of incense and use of flowers and perfumes in gurdwārās as freshener of air are not prohibited. Bigger shrines attracting large gatherings of devotees such as Srī Darbār Sāhib at Amritsar may have dhūpīās on their establishment, but generally the function of incense burning may be performed by any officiant or by any one from the saṅgat. The office of dhūpīā as a member of the former hereditary priesthood has increasingly lost its importance since the days of the Gurdwārā reform.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)