SULTĀNPUR LODHĪ (31º-13'N, 75º-12'E), old town in Kapūrthalā district of the Punjab, where Gurū Nānak put up for several years before setting out on his travels to deliver his message. In this town lived his sister, Bībī Nānakī, and her husband, Jai Rām, an official in the service of Nawāb Daulāt Khān Lodhī, a feudatory chief, who became governor of the Province of Lahore during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. At the instance of Jai Rām, Gurū Nānak took up employment in the Nawāb's provision stores. During that time there grew up a saṅgat, holy fellowship of disciples, which so prospered that Bhāī Gurdās in his Varāṅ (XI.21), called Sultānpur the "treasure of God's adoration." Sultānpur Lodhī has several gurdwārās commemorating events connected with the life of Gurū Nānak.
GURDWĀRĀ BER SĀHIB, the principal shrine at Sultānpur, is situated on the bank of the rivulet Kālī Beīṅ, half a kilometre to the west of the old town. Gurū Nānak performed his morning ablutions in the Beīṅ and then sat under a ber (Zizyphus jujuba) tree to meditate. It was during one such ablution that Gurū Nānak had what is described in the Janam Sākhīs as a direct communion with the Divine. As the Janam Sākhīs narrate the details, Gurū Nānak one morning disappeared into the stream and was not seen for two days. When he reappeared at a spot, 2 km upstream, now known as Sant Ghāṭ, the first words he uttered were, "There is no Hindu, there is no Musalmān." Gurū Nānak was now ready to embark on his long journeys. Gurdwārā Ber Sāhib is built by the side of an old ber tree which is believed to be the one under which Gurū Nānak used to sit in meditation. The present building of Gurdwārā Ber Sāhib was raised by Mahārājā Jagatjīt Siṅgh of Kapūrthalā. The cornerstone was laid by Bhāī Arjan Siṅgh of Bāgaṛīāṅ on 25 February 1937, and the Gurdwārā was on completion dedicated by Mahārājā Yādavinder Siṅgh of Paṭiālā on 26 January 1941. Standing on high plinth and entered through a portico, supported by octagonal columns, and a small entrance gallery is the high-ceilinged, marble-floored hall. At the far end, marked off by a high archway decorated with floral designs in stucco, is the sanctum sanctorum, where the Gurū Granth Sāhib is seated on a white-marble pālakī or canopied throne. Besides the daily services and observance of important Sikh anniversaries, a largely-attended fair takes place in November to mark the birth anniversary of Gurū Nānak.
GURDWĀRĀ HAṬṬ SĀHIB, south of the old fortress-like serāi, marks the spot where Gurū Nānak worked as the custodian of Nawāb Daulāt Khān's provision stores. The building comprises a hall, with a square sanctum in its middle. Above the sanctum is a square room with wide arched coping and a lotus dome topped by a gold-plated finial. Thirteen polished stones of different sizes, believed to be the weights used by Gurū Nānak, are on display in a glass cabinet.
GURDWĀRĀ ANTARYĀTMĀ SĀHIB, a flat-roofed rectangular room marks the site of a mosque to which Nawāb Daulat Khān had invited Gurū Nānak to participate in namāz or Muslim prayer. Divining how the Nawāb and the Kādī were only outwardly going through the ritual with their minds engrossed in mundane thoughts, Gurū Nānak stood aside. When the Nawāb asked him why he did not join the prayer, he told them exactly what he and the Kādī had been thinking of as they prayed. Both, as say the Janam Sākhīs, fell at the Gurū's feet.
Nothing remains of the mosque now except the entrance gate to the compound.
GURDWĀRĀ GURŪ KĀ BĀGH, a flat-roofed hall in the interior of the town marks the premises where Gurū Nānak resided with his wife and children during his stay at Sultānpur. The Gurū Granth Sāhib is seated in the hall on a rectangular platform. A narrow well, now covered, is a relic of the days of yore.
KOṬHAṚĪ SĀHIB, a narrow low-roofed cell in a small house in Mohallā Vaḍḍiāṅ, is where Gurū Nānak was detained while his accounts were being checked following a false complaint lodged by his detractors. In one of the two small rooms close by is seated the Gurū Granth Sāhib.
GURDWĀRĀ SANT GHĀṚ, on the bank of the Beīṅ, is where Gurū Nānak re-emerged on the third day of his disappearance into the river near the site of Gurdwārā Ber Sāhib.
GURDWĀRĀ BEBE NĀNAKĪ JĪ, constructed in 1970's, honours the memory of Bebe Nānakī, elder sister of Gurū Nānak. The actual house, a three-storeyed old building where Bebe Nānakī is believed to have lived with her husband, Jai Rām, is inside the old town in Mohallā Chhīmbiāṅ. But the premises being in private possession, a public monument (cornerstone, laid on 13 November 1970) was raised in the form of a gurdwārā by Bebe Nānakī Istrī Satsaṅg Charitable Trust under the chairmanship of Bībī Balvant Kaur of Birmingham (United Kingdom). The Gurdwārā Bebe Nānakī Jī comprises a central hall, with the Gurū Granth Sāhib seated in a white-marble pālakī at the far end. The Gurū Granth Sāhib is also seated in a small side-room symbolizing Bebe Nānakī's own lodging. Over the sanctum, above the hall roof, is a square domed room with arched copings. Bulbous domes adorn the corners of the hall roof.
GURDWĀRĀ SEHRĀ SĀHIB is dedicated to Gurū Arjan who passed through Sultānpur in 1604 on his way to Ḍallā for the marriage of his son (Gurū) Hargobind. According to tradition, the marriage party stayed overnight at this place and the sehrā, or ceremonial wreath was fastened round the bridegroom's head here. The Gurdwārā, within a brickpaved walled compound, is an octagonal domed room in which the Gurū Granth Sāhib is seated. All these shrines at Sultānpur Lodhī with the exception of Gurdwārā Bebe Nānakī Jī, which is under die management of the Trust, are administered by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Prabandhak Committee through a local committee.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)