GHUṚĀṆĪ KALĀṄ, an old village in Ludhiāṇā district, was visited by Gurū Hargobind in whose memory two gurdwārās have since been constructed.
GURDWĀRĀ CHOLĀ SĀHIB PĀTSHĀHĪ CHHEVĪṄ is inside the village and marks the residence of Bhāī Sūrtiā, the local masānd, leader of the local Sikh group, at the time of the Gurū's visit. Gurū Hargobind is said to have stayed with him for 45 days. He was pleased by his devotion and bestowed upon him a few articles, the following of which are still preserved in the Gurdwārā as sacred relics:
1. A cholā or loose gown with 52 strings attached to it. This is believed to be the cloak Gurū Hargobind was wearing when, holding on to it, 52 captive princes secured their release from the Gwālīor Fort. The Gurdwārā is named after this relic.
2. A pothī or sacred book. It is a small handwritten volume containing some of the baṇīs from the Gurū Granth Sāhib. The page at which it is kept open for display shows the first ślokā and part of the first aṣṭpadī of the Sukhmanī in golden characters of the Gurmukhī script.
3. A single shoe done in handsomely embroidered velvet cloth.
The area around Ghuṛāṇī later fell under the influence of the followers of Bābā Rām Rāi who lacked proper respect for the Sikh Gurūs. In 1710, a complaint reached Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur, the conqueror of Sirhind, that the priests of Ghurāṇī had not only insulted a Sikh, Bulākī Siṅgh, and broken his rebeck, but also used insolent language about the Gurūs. Bandā Siṅgh occupied the territory, chastised the Rām Rāīā masands of Ghuṛāṇī and appointed Bulākī Siṅgh thānedār, local police chief, of the district.
The present building, standing on a two-metre high plinth, consists of a rectangular hall, enclosing the old Mañjī Sāhib. The room where the sacred relics are kept was added in 1958. The Gurdwārā is affiliated to the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee which manages it through a local committee. All the principal anniversaries on the Sikh calendar are observed in the Gurdwārā, but two special festivals are the birthday of Gurū Hargobind and Holā. Holā in this village marks the day on which Gurū Hargobind arrived here - 25 Phāgun 1688 Bk corresponding to 21 February 1632.
GURDWĀRĀ NIMSAR outside the village to the east of it was a pond to which Gurū Hargobind used to repair early in the morning for ablutions and meditation. An old nim (Margo) tree, believed to have sprouted from one of the tooth-cleansing twigs the Gurū once stuck here, still stands. The pond has now been converted into a properly lined tank and a magnificent gurdwārā has been constructed on its bank. A brick-paved platform surrounds the nim tree. A small room, with a raised platform inside it, signifies the spot where Gurū Hargobind sat for meditation. In this room is also preserved a relic, a portion of the string netting of the bedstead used by the Gurū in the house of Bhāī Sūrtīā, the masand. It is a very fine twine of two strands of muñj fibre which is a rare specimen of the craftsmanship of old days. The main building, a 13-metre square hall, constructed in 1971, stands on a two-metre high plinth. Above the hall over the prakāsh asthān is a domed room with an ornamental gold pinnacle and khaṇḍā as the finial. The Gurdwārā is administered by the same committee as manages Gurdwārā Cholā Sāhib.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)