Gurdwara Bari Sangat is the most notable historic gurdwara in Kolkata (West Bengal). The Gurdwara was visited by Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji and Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji during their travels.
On his return journey from Dhaka to Punjab, Guru Nanak went to Calcutta. He stayed at a place called Ban Sangat where a Gurdwara has been built in his memory. During his stay here he met the ruler, Raja Bahadur Singh. The Raja was greatly impressed by the teachings of the great Guru. He raised a Gurdwara in memory of the Guru.
Guru Nanak visited this place on 2nd January 1510. During the time of his visit the entire area had an epidemic and the people were suffering. They were cured by the divine healing powers of Guru Nanak and he established Guru ki Sangat at this holy place and recited the Gurbani Shabad 'Chanchal chit na pave pare aavat jaat naa lagey baara.' (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1189). Guru Ji stayed here for 12 days.
After Guru Nanak, it is said that Guru Tegh Bahadur during his journey of Bengal and Assam also stayed here. Thus the Gurdwara was doubly blessed by the visit of two Gurus.
Guru Tegh Bahadur visited this place in April 1668 and recited Gurbani Shabad 'Har ki gat nah koi jaane' (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 537) and instructed the established Guru ki Sangat to continue religious programmes and hold diwans (congregations) on a regular basis and 24 hrs Guru ka langar.
The site formed part of the estate of Raja Hazuri Chand, who built and maintained it. After his death his daughters Shyam Kaur and Lila Kaur continued to look after it. Later, however, the management fell into incompetent hands. A management committee was formed in 1259 Fasali (A.D. 1852). It improved the condition of the Gurdwara, but mismanagement again set in in the beginning of the 20th century.
Between 1910 and 1922 the Gurdwara building and property were mortgaged four times, everytime for a higher amount. A new 16 member's management committee was formed in April 1920. In December 1920 it was decided to hand over the Gurdwara to the newly formed Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at Amritsar.
Sardar Sundar Singh Majithia and Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid served on the local managing committee during 1923-25, but the finances of the Gurdwara showed no sign of improvement and the SGPC refused to take over the Gurdwara.
Meanwhile the mortgagee went to court which decided, on 11th December 1929, that unless the dues were cleared within six months, the Gurdwara would be auctioned. This was, however, avoided as a result of mutual understanding between the parties. The debt was ultimately cleared by April 1937 and since then the Gurdwara has been functioning well.
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