PĀOṆṬĀ SĀHIB (30º-25'N, 77º-35'E), a town on the right bank of the River Yamunā in Sirmūr district of Himāchal Pradesh, was founded by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh in November 1685. The land was an offering from Rājā Medinī Prakāsh of Nāhan. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh stayed here for about three years. This was a period filled with literary creation. In the calm of Pāoṇṭā, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh composed poetry of spiritual as well as of martial tenor, and the fifty-two poets and writers he kept in his employ produced a vast treasure of literature by their compositions and by the translations they had made from ancient Indian classics. It was during his stay at Pāoṇṭā that the battle of Bhaṅgāṇi took place. At Pāoṇṭā was born Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's eldest son, Ajīt Siṅgh.

         Before leaving Pāoṇṭā for Anandpur in 1688, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh entrusted the care of the fortified havelī and the sanctum within it to one Bhāī Bishan Siṅgh.The shrine,Gurdwārā Pāoṇṭā Sāhib, was reconstructed in 1823 by Bābā Kapūr Siṅgh with funds provided by Sāhib Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā. In course of time, the shrine, with about 120 acres of land attached to it, came into the hands of hereditary Mahants, who treated it as their personal property. In 1964 a band of Nihaṅgs forced their entry into the shrine and started a continuing recital of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. The mahants sought the intervention of the Himāchal Pradesh Government. After a protracted dispute the management of the Gurdwārā was entrusted, in 1970, to an eleven-member committee including ten life members and the president of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee, as ex-officio chairman.

         The present building complex spreads over an area of over 3 acres. The main Gurdwārā Srī Pāoṇṭā Sāhib in the centre consists of a square domed room within a vast rectangular hall. The inner room contains old weapons among which a double-edged sword, a scimitar and a matchlock are believed to have been the Gurū's personal weapons once. Other shrines include Talab Asthān where pay used to be disbursed; Kavī Darbār Asthān where literary works were recited and discussed; and Dastār Asthān where after the battle of Bhaṅgāṇī robes of honour were given to the warriors. Some relics were bestowed also on Pīr Buddhū Shāh of Saḍhaurā for his devoted service and sacrifice during the battle. Another shrine is a memorial to Rishī Kālpī whom the Gurū had brought from his hermitage in the Himalayas,, to stay awhile at Pāoṇṭā. From the backyard, Gobiṅd Ghāṭ leads down to the waters of the Yamunā. Administrative offices are under the portal on either flank of which is a row of rooms for pilgrims on the inner side and a line of shops facing outwards. Gurū kā Laṅgar is in the western part of the compound.

         Besides the daily programme of gurbāṇī recital and kīrtan, larger assemblies take place on full moon days. An annual fair is held on Holā Mahallā.


  1. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurduāriāṅ. Amritsar, n.d.
  2. Narotam, Tārā Siṅgh, Srī Guru Tīrath Saṅgrahi. Kankhal, 1975
  3. Ṭhākar Siṅgh, Srī Gurduāre Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
  4. Sahi, J.S., Sikh Shrines in India and Abroad. Faridabad, 1978
  5. Mehar Singh, Sikh Shrines in India. Delhi, 1975

Jagjīt Siṅgh