THĀNESAR (Kurukshetra) (29º-58'N, 76º-50'E) is an ancient pilgrim centre of the Hindus. Devotees from all over India have since time immemorial been for gathering here for a dip in the holy lakes, especially on the occasion of solar eclipse. Several of the Sikh Gurūs also visited the place to preach to the pilgrims. There are today six historical gurdwārās in Thānesar commemorating their visits.
GURDWĀRĀ CHHEVĪṄ PĀTSHĀHĪ is dedicated to Gurū Hargobind who visited Thānesar at the time of the solar eclipse fair probably in 1638. This was not his first visit, for he had spent some time here while returning from Nānak Matā. Gurū Nānak and Gurū Amar Dās had been there as well and people had known them as holy men. They were now surprised to see Gurū Hargobind, in succession from Gurū Nānak, carrying arms and having armed attendants as his companions. But their doubts were dispelled as they heard his discourse full of spiritual insight.
The place near the Senāyat tank where the Gurū had stayed was later marked by a memorial platform over which a gurdwārā was raised in 1909. This too has since been replaced by an imposing white-marble building by Sant Bābā Jīvan Siṅgh and his successors. It has a large hall with a high ceiling and a canopied throne for the Gurū Granth Sāhib in the centre. Above it is a large lotus dome with an ornamental pinnacle. The whole exterior surface, inducting the dome, is covered with white-marble slabs. In the adjoining compound are the Gurū kā Laṅgar and rooms for pilgrims. The headquarters of the Haryāṇā branch of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee are also located on these premises.
GURDWĀRĀ DASVĪṄ PĀTSHĀHĪ, a small shrine in a house in Mohallā Saudāgarāṅ occupied by the descendants of Paṇḍit Manī Rām, who had received Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's blessing when he visited Kurukshetra in 1702-03. At the request of Manī Rām the Gurū had visited his house. The shrine in the old premises is a small square room. It is privately owned.
GURŪDWARA NĀVĪṄ PĀTSHĀHĪ, north of the old town of Thānesar is dedicated to Gurū Tegh Bahādur who arrived here from Bārnā in the course of one of his journeys through these parts. The Mañjī Sāhib set up to commemorate the visit has been replaced by a new building, which has a hall, with the sanctum in the middle of it.
GURDWĀRĀ RĀJ GHĀṬ, a single flat-roofed square hall, commemorates the visit of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh to Kurukshetra on the occasion of the solar eclipse in 1702. It stands on the northwestern and of the holy tanks and marks the site where the Gurū had pitched his tents.
GURDWĀRĀ SIDDH BAṬĪ PĀTSHĀHĪ PAHILĪ is sacred to Gurū Nānak who came to Kurukshetra at the tune of the solar eclipse fair. As the tradition goes, he invited the wrath of the Brāhmaṇ priests by having meat cooked on the occasion. Cooking of food at the time of eclipse was considered a sacrilege and eating meat was in any case taboo.
Gurū Nānak said that the eclipses were the natural phenomena and had nothing to do with the food men ate. This discourse took place on the southern bank of the main sacred tanks. The original shrine established on the spot was destroyed during the devastation suffered by Thānesar at the hands of Mughal and Afghān invaders. It was rebuilt after the Sikhs had occupied this territory in 1764. The present shrine was constructed by Bhāī Udai Siṅgh of Kaithal. It is about two kilometres from Gurdwārā Chhevīṅ Pātshāhī, the premier Gurdwārā of Thānesar and headquarters of the local managing committee. It is in the form of a walled havelī built on a high plinth. The sanctum consists of a single square room in the middle where the Gurū Granth Sāhib is seated.
GURDWĀRĀ TĪSARĪ ATE SATVĪṄ PĀTSHĀHĪ, common to the memory of Gurū Amar Dās and Gurū Har Rāi, is about half a kilometre northeast of Thānesar railway station. Gurū Amar Dās' visit took place on the occasion of the solar eclipse on 14 January 1553, a date which has been abstracted by a contemporary scholar from one of Gurū Rām Dās' hymns in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Gurū Har Rāi, when he visited Kurukshetra, stayed here at this spot.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)