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Takht Sahib - seats of Sikh's authority

Takht Sri Hari Mandir Sahib

Takht Sri Hari Mandir Sahib

Patna is situated at a distance of about 500 km. from Calcutta on the main line of Eastern Railway, connecting Calcutta with Varanasi and delhi. It is also on the air route between Delhi and Calcutta and is connected with Kathmandu by air. The city has been recently renamed Patna Sahib, keeping in view its sancity.

During one of his missionary tours, Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed at Patna. Guru Nanak had earlier visited this place. Guru Tegh Bahadhur was accompanied by his mother Nanki and wife Gujari.

In early 1666, when Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived in Allahabad, house hold and the members of his darbar. It was here that the spirit and light of Guru Gobind Singh had descended and manifested itself by will of God in his mother's womb. Mata Gujari had conceived this great son of God, Gobind. Thereafter, leaving his family at Patna, Guru Tegh Bahadur proceed towards Bengal and Assam.

Guru Gobind Singh was born on Paus Sudi 7 Samvat 1723, corresponding to December 22, 1666. There stands at the sacred place where the Guru was born, magnificent shrine. It is called Takt Sri Hari Mandir Sahib. It is situated in one of the old quarters of Patna, earlier called Kucha Faqrrukh Khan, now known as Hari Mandir gali. It is regarded as one of the Takhts, the seat of Sikh authority.

The site where the present Hari Mandir stands was originally called the Haveli of Salis Rai Johri, who was a great devotee of Guru Nanak. He was so much influenced by the teachings of Guru Nanak that he converted a palatial house into a dharmshala.

When Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed at Patna, a magnificent house was built above the dharmshala of Salis Rai and the Guru's family was sifted to the newly built building. The earliest reference to this dharamshala s found in a letter written from Monghyr by Guru Tegh Bahadur to hs followers at Patna where in the Guru had instructed his devotees to keep his family in a spacious building till the building of Hari Mandir was completed. Mullah Ahmad Bukhari, the author of Mirat-ul Ahwal Jahan Nama, who stayed at Patna for some time at the close of 18th century, has made a reference to Hari Mandir. He says : "Over the birth place of Guru Gobind, the Sikhs have raised a public edifice, made it also known as sangat and strength, and call it Hari Mandir. It is also known as sangat and is held of pilgrimage." Thus, it seems that the first magnificent building of Hari Mandir was constructed some time in the 18th century.

The original building of Hari Mandir has undergone many changes. In the begining of 19th century, a devastng fire broke out and the old edifice was considerabl7y damaged. Maharaja Ranjit Singh started the work of reconstructing Hari Mandir in 1839 but did not survive to see the new structure.

In 1934, when entire Bihar was rocked by an earthquake some portion of Hari Mandir fell down. Constuction of the present building was taken up on November 19, 1954 and was completed in about three years. Liberal contributions were made by devotees from all parts of the world. There is a spacious congregation hall; adjoining it is the sacred spot where Guru Gobind Singh was born and is preseved inside the room made of marble. Near the main entrance of the shrine is a marble-lined well. Guru Gobind Singh used to play near the well during his childhood.

Considering the significance and importance of Hari Mandir, its management was taken over by the East India Company through the Board of Revenue, Bengal. However, the management was transferred to Mahant Ganda Singh on march 11, 1865 under the Religious Endowment Act XX of 1863. By virtue of section IV of this Act the suerintendenceof Hari Mandir was transferred from the Board of Revenue to the District Judge, Patna, from time to time.

A committee of 15 members, later reduced to 14, was appointed to help the Mahant. On February 13, 1936, the committee of 14 members was replaced by a supervising committee of 5 members which was to work for 3 years. The Sarbrah was removed on December 14, 1954. The supervising committee was reconstituted and District Judge formed a committee of 15 members. Now the committee is known as Prabandak Committee.

To Hari Mandir is attached Guru-ka-langar, free kitchen, where everyone irrespective of caste, creed, religion or status, is served food. A free homoeopathic dispensary is alswo run by the management for the poor and needy. Two schools - a Higher Secondary School for Boys and a High School for girls - are being run by the management committee. A college, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Degree College, is also run by the commttee.

Some relics are also preserved in Hari Mandir which are revered by the devotees visiting the shrine. They are: Sri Guru Granth Sahib, called Bare-Sahib, signed by Guru Gobind Singh ; Chhabi Sahib, the only painting of Guru Gobind Singh ; Pangura Sahib, small cradle with 4 stands and covered with golden plates in which Guru Gobind Singh used to sleep during his childhood ; Saif, sword of Guru Gobind Singh ; four iron arrows, an earthen round goli ; a small iron chakri ; one small iron khanda ; a small iron Baghnabh khanjir : a wooden comb ; two iron iron chakkars ; a pair of ivory sandals of Guru Gobind Singh ; and a pair of sandalwood sandals of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Also preserved in the shrine is a book containing Hukumnamas of Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh.

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