NŪRSHĀH, was, according to the Janam Sākhī tradition, the queen of sorceresses of Kaurū or Kāmrūp, one of the districts of Assam, then known as the land of magic and witchcraft. Gurū Nānak along with his companion Mārdānā visited this region during his first preaching odyssey. The Purātan Janam Sākhī relates the story of how Bhāī Mardānā was bewitched by an enchantress. Troubled by pangs of hunger, he once begged leave of the Gurū to go into a nearby town to procure some food. "Do go if you have to," said the Gurū. "But beware! This is the country of Kaurū and here women rule." As Mardānā was passing through a street, a woman standing at the door of her house called him inside. No sooner did he step across the threshold than a spell was cast upon him and he was made to bleat like a ram. The Gurū set out in search of him and entered the house where he had been kept in captivity. the sorceress tried her skill on him as did several of her associates. Finally came Nūrshāh, the leader of the magicians, who applied all the arts she had mastered. Finding herself powerless, she, as says the Janam Sākhī threw her scarf round her neck in penitence, and made obeisance before the Gurū, along with her slaves. The Gurū taught them to attach themselves to the Name of God.


  1. Bhallā, Sarūp Dās, Mahimā Prakāsh. Patiala, 1971
  2. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-35
  3. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970
  4. Vīr Siṅgh, Bhāī, ed., Purātan Janam Sākhī. Amritsar, 1982
  5. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909

Gurnek Siṅgh