GWĀLĪOR (26º-10'N, 78º-8'E), formerly the capital of a princely state, is now a district town in Madhya Pradesh. It is a railway junction on the Central Railway, 120 km south of Āgrā, and an important road junction along the Āgrā-Bombay national highway. Gurdwārā Dātā Bandī Chhoṛ Pātshāhī VI, dedicated to Gurū Hargobind, is situated inside the historic rock-fort of Gwālīor, about 3 km from the railway station. Gurū Hargobind was detained in this fort for some time under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahāṅgīr. Historians have differed widely as regards the exact period of the Gurū's detention, but it appears he remained confined to the fort for a few months sometime between 1617 and 1619. Sikh tradition is, however, unanimous in asserting that, when the Emperor ordered the release of Gurū Hargobind, he refused to come out alone. There were in the fort fifty-two other captives, chiefs and princes, seized from different parts of the country. Gurū Hargobind insisted that they should be set free, too. The Emperor ordered that as many prisoners as could hold on to the Gurū's robe could come out with him. It is said that Gurū Hargobind had a special cloak made with 52 strings attached to it. All the fifty-two captives each caught a string and came out of the fort with the Gurū. From that day, Gurū Hargobind came to be known as Dātā Bandī-Chhoṛ, the Munificent Deliverer.' A shrine bearing this name was established to mark the place where Gurū Hargobind had lived in captivity.
The shrine was looked after by Muslim faqīrs till after 1947 when the site was acquired by the Sikhs and a Gurdwārā was built. The original shrine is also maintained in the form of a rectangular marbled platform, on a base 7-metre square and one-metre high. It is shaded by a handsomely carved marble canopy and is guarded by two marble lions in sitting posture in the front.
The construction of the new building started on Poh sudī 7, 2024 Bk/6 January 1968, under the supervision of Sant Jhaṇḍā Siṅgh and Uttam Siṅgh Maunī of Khaḍūr Sāhib. The central building of stone and concrete has six-storeys, including the basement, with a central dome on top and smaller domed pavilions at the corners. The main assembly hall, supported on massive square pillars in the middle, is fairly large, with a raised platform for the Gurū Granth Sāhib. In a separate compound is the Gurū kā Laṅgar, with a kitchen, a refectory.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)