Bidar is a hill-top city situated on the deccan plateau, in the north-eastern part of the State of Karnataka.
It is the headquarters of the Bidar District which shares its border with Maharashtra and Telangana.
It is a rapidly urbanizing city which comes under Bidar Metropolitan area. The city is well known for its many places of architectural, historical and religious importance.
Being located at the farthest of around 700 km (430 mi) from the State capital Bengaluru, it has been neglected by the state government for a long time.
However, owing to its rich heritage, the city has a prominent place in the Archaeological Map of India. Picturesquely perched on the Deccan plateau, the Bidar fort is more than 500 years old and still standing strong.
There are 3 Historic Sikh Gurdwaras located in and near Bidar.
Gurdwara Nanak Jhira Sahib, situated in Bidar, Karnataka, is located at a short distance off one edge of the plateau on which Bidar is located. There are sweeping views of the plains as you descend down the road to the present Gurdwara.
During his second udasi (missionary tour) of south India between 1510-1514 AD, Guru Nanak after sojourning through Nagpur and Khandwa visited the ancient hindu temple of Omkareshwar on the Narmada and reached Nanded (where 200 years later Guru Gobind Singh spent his last days). From Nanded he proceeded towards Hyderabad and Golconda where he met muslim pir's and then arrived at Bidar to meet Pir Jalaluddin and Yakoob Ali.
According to the Janamsakhis, Guru Nanak was accompanied by his companion Mardana and stayed on the outskirts of Bidar. Nearby were the huts of muslim fakirs, who took keen interest in the sermons and teachings of the great Guru. The news soon spread throughout Bidar and its surrounding areas about the holy saint of the north and large number of people started coming to him to have his darshan and seek his blessings.
There used to be acute shortage of drinking water in Bidar. All efforts of the people to dig wells were of no avail. Even when wells produced water, the water was found to be unfit for drinking. Guru Nanak was greatly moved by the miserable condition of the people, and while uttering Sat Kartar, shifted a stone and removed some rubble from the place with his wooden sandal. To the utter surprise of all, a spring of cool and fresh water that has flowed to this day. This how the place soon came to be known as Nanak Jhira (Jhira means Stream). The crystal clear stream that still flows out of a rock near the Gurdwara is believed to be God's answer to Guru Nanak's prayers.
The Gurdwara is established in a nice valley, surrounded by laterite hills on three sides. The Gurdwara comprises of the Darbar Sahib, Diwan Hall and Langar Hall. In the Sukhasan room, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed. There is a separate room called the Likhari room, where donations are accepted and receipts are issued.
A beautiful Gurdwara was constructed after the independence of India in 1948 by the side of the spring. The water from the spring is collected in a small Amrit Kund (a holy water tank) built opposite to the front stairs of the Gurdwara. It is believed that a holy dip is enough to cleanse the body as well as the soul. There is a free community kitchen (Guru Ka Langar) where free food is given to Sikhs 24 hours night and day. A Sikh museum has been built in the memory of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, depicting the important events of Sikh history through pictures and paintings.
Four to five lakh Sikhs visit this Gurdwara every year. Part of the towns business comes from these crowds who gather at the spot built around water. It stands to reason therefore that special attention is paid to the spring and great care taken of this water resource. The Gurdwara itself has organized the tunnel and the point where the spring emerges very well. A glass panel enables viewing, yet protects the spring from desecration. Visitors and Sikhs carry the "holy" water from the spring in bottles and water-cans.
The spring has been flowing for more than 500 years and has never dried out. Sikhs throng to Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib especially during Guru Nanak Jayanti. Volunteers make elaborate preparations to celebrate the Guru Nanak Jayanti, which is one of the major festivals of the Sikhs. Preparations include cleaning the Gurdwara, guarding the shoes of visitors and helping out in the kitchen. The Gurdwara is especially adorned with flags, banners and lights for this occasion.
The recharge zone of the spring, the surrounding hills are being built upon at an unprecedented rate. Septic tanks and soak pits are sending the waste-water generated into the ground. The surface is being crusted up with roads and buildings preventing the seepage of water into the ground. It is likely that the sacred 'Jhira' will first be contaminated by the bad water and if steps are not taken quickly, may also run dry due to lack of recharge of waters in the hills.
Gurdwara Sri Bhai Sahib Singh is in memory of Bhai Sahib Singh. Bhai Sahib Singh was one of the Panj Pyare (or the Five beloved ones). Bhai Sahib Singh was formerly known as Sahib Chand, and was a part a Nai (barber) family, before he was initiated into the Khalsa at Anandpur at the young age of 16.
There are different versions regarding the Birth Place and Family Members of Sahib Singh. Though all accept the fact that he was born in family of Nai's. Regarding Bhai Sahib Singh's birth place, the most popular and acceptable belief is that he was born in or near Bidar.
Bhai Sahib Singh won a name for himself as marksman and in one of the battles at Anandpur he shot dead the Gujjar chief, Jamatulla. In another action the raja of Hindur, Bhup Chand, was seriously wounded by a shot from his muskets following which the entire hill army fled the field.
Bhai Sahib Singh was one of the five Sikhs who, on the Vaisakhi day of 30th March 1699, offered, upon Guru Gobind Singh's call to lay down their heads. They were greeted by Guru Gobind Singh as the five beloved of him. These five formed the nucleus of the Khalsa. Sahib Chand, after undergoing the rites of the Khalsa, became Sahib Singh, receiving the title of Singh common to all members of the Khalsa. Bhai Sahib Singh fell in the BGattle of Chamkaur in December 1704 with Bhai Himmat Singh and Bhai Mohkam Singh.
Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago is located at Janwada village (pronounced Jinvara) in the State of Karnataka. Janwada village is 11 kilometres northeast from Bidar along NH122. Mai Bhago, the surviving heroine of the Battle of Muktsar, who had left Nanded after the passing of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji ended up settling near the important historic Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib.
Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago marks the site of a house where Mai Bhago spent the rest of her saintly life. Near the house was the fortress of Bala Rao and Rustam Rao, two Maratha chiefs in whose release from captivity Guru Gobind Singh had been instrumental.
This house was maintained as a holy place after Mai Bhago re-joined with God. When Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib was occupied by Sikhs in 1948, they also acquired this house of Mai Bhago from its last caretaker, Gulab Rao, and set up 'Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago'. It was a simple small room with a verandah in front maintained by the Managing Committee of Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Jhira Sahib.
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