KAṚĀ, situated in Allāhābād district of Uttar Pradesh, on the right bank of the River Gaṅgā, was once a flourishing town and a provincial capital under the Muslim Sultanate and under the Mughals though now it is no more than a large village. Sikh chronicles usually refer to it as Kaṛā-Mānakpur, but Mānakpur is a separate village 5 km away on the opposite bank of the Gaṅgā.
Gurū Tegh Bahādur in the course of his journey to the eastern parts in 1665-66 halted at Kaṛā on his way from Kānpur to Allāhābād. At Kaṛā, he met Sant Malūk Dās, a famous Vaiṣṇava saint. Malūk Dās had heard about Gurū Nānak and the spiritual line issuing from him. He was surprised to see his Ninth successor accompanied by armed disciples who hunted animals. But on beholding Gurū Tegh Bahādur, his doubts disappeared as clouds disperse before high winds. He, according to Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, said to himself, "Though the Gurū is clad as a prince, his mind is fixed in divine knowledge. He is the ocean of qualities. How can an ignorant one like me praise him? Sinner I have been from birth. His sanctity I did not fathom." Malūk Dās fell at the Gurū's feet and took him to his hut where he served him with humility.
There is no Sikh shrine at Kaṛā at present, but a pamphlet published by the followers of Sant Malūk Dās testifies that a Sikh saṅgat and a Sikh gurdwārā once flourished here, and that once in a year a gathering took place here of members of all communities when kaṛāh prasād was freely distributed.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)