ḌHĀKĀ (23º-43'N, 90º-24'E), an old city now capital of Bangladesh, situated on the north bank of Būṛhī Gaṅgā river, has shrines sacred to Gurū Nānak and Gurū Tegh Bahādur. Three such gurdwārās commemorating the visits of the Gurūs to the city existed until the partition of the country in 1947, but only two of them are now extant.

        GURDWĀRĀ NĀNAKSHĀHĪ, situated in Ramnā locality behind the Public Library adjoining the Dhākā University campus, marks the spot where Gurū Nānak is believed to have preached at the time of his visit in 1507-08. A Sikh saṅgat grew up in the locality, then known as Shujā'atpur or Sujātpur. Bhāī Gurdās as well as Bhāī Manī Siṅgh has recorded one Bhāī Mohan of Ḍhākā having visited the Punjab in the time of Gurū Hargobind to seek his blessing. Sikh missionary centres were established by Gurū Hargobind in the eastern parts under the guidance of Bhāī Almast, one of the principal apostles of Bābā Gurdittā, Bābā Srī Chand's successor as head of the Udāsī sect. Bhāī Natthā was Almast's representative in eastern Bengal and Assam. Masands were also appointed by the Gurūs to guide and manage the saṅgats. Bulākī Dās was the masand at the time of Gurū Tegh Bahādur's visit in the late 1660's. Bhāī Natthā, who lived up to the time of Gurū Tegh Bahādur, is said to have constructed the Gurdwārā building, with a square sanctum, which still exists. It was repaired by Mahant Prem Dās in 1833. The decorative art work on the interior wall was still intact when a Sikh commission visited it in January 1972 after Bangladesh emerged as a soverign State. A tank and a well, also said to have been dug by Bhāī Natthā, however, no longer exist. In fact, a major portion of the land once belonging to the Gurdwārā has been lost to appropriation by Ḍhākā University and by some individuals.

        GURDWĀRĀ SAṄGAT ṬOLĀ, a double-storeyed building situated along 14 Sorees Dās Lane in the Baṅglā Bāzār and lending its name to the entire locality, is dedicated to Gurū Tegh Bahādur who stayed here in the house of a Sikh, Bhāī Bulākī Dās, in 1667-68. As says Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, Bulākī Dās's old mother, who had long waited for a sight of the Gurū, felt very pleased to have her wish fulfilled as he came and accepted from her hands garments of homespun cotton she had stitched for him. The house in which Gurū Tegh Bahādur had put up was converted into a dharamsālā or gurdwārā. It was known to possess one of the oldest handwritten copies of the Gurū Granth Sāhib and a few hukamnāmās of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. The Sikh commission that visited Ḍhākā in January 1972 attested to a copy of the Gurū Granth Sāhib autographed by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, a portrait believed to be that of Gurū Tegh Bahādur and two hukamnāmās being still there.

        GURŪ NĀNAK'S WELL (SIKHER MANDIR) or Sikhs' Temple in what was called Rayor Bāzār to the north of old Ḍhākā city, was another shrine commemorating the visit of Gurū Nānak. The well and the two-roomed gurdwārā with a vaulted roof was frequented by devotees of all faiths in the belief that the water of this well cured many diseases. But in 1960-61 the Pakistan government took over the entire area, levelled it up and sold it as habitation sites to develop what is now known as Dhān Maṇḍī Colony.

         Another old shrine was the Suthrāshāhī Saṅgat in the Urdu Bāzār which for several decades before 1947 had been administered by the mahants of Gurdwārā Nānakshāhī. The site is untraceable now.


  1. Tārā Siṅgh, Srī Gur Tīrath Saṅgrahi. Amritsar, n. d.
  2. Ṭhākar Siṅgh, Giānī, Srī Gurduāre Darshan. Amritsar, 1923

Bhāg Siṅgh