Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites (which means the Central Government controls them).
There are 5 Historic Sikh Gurdwaras in Agra.
Gurdwara Sri Damdama Sahib Agra is situated within walking distance of Gurdwara Sri Guru Ka Taal Sahib. At this site, Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji had his tent set up and rested.
Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji had been invited to Delhi by Emperor Jahangir. Jahangir made Guru Sahib very welcome and asked Guru Sahib to come hunting with him. A ferocious man-eating lion that couldn't be killed was causing problems in the nearby jungle. Guru Hargobind accompanied Jahangir, however the two of them were seperated from the main group of attendants leaving them alone. The lion attacked Jahangir and Guru Hargobind rescued the emperor by killing the lion with a single hit. Jahangir was pleased with braveness and courage of Guru Hargobind.
Jahangir had some official work in Agra and requested Guru Sahib to accompany him. Guru Sahib and Jahangir reached this site and camped. When Sangat of Agra heard news of the Guru's arrival they came in large numbers to meet Guru Sahib. There was one devout Sikh, who was a grass cutter. He bought a fresh mass of grass for Guru Sahib's horses and mistakenly entered Jahangir's tent. The grass cutter offered a coin and grass before him and started praying for true name and salvation. Jahangir felt happy watching love of Sikh for his Guru, he disclosed his identity and said that he could only provide materialistic things ie. gold, jewels etc and that Guru Sahib's tent was next to his.
Jahangir offered the grass cutter anything he wanted in return for his offerings. The Sikh picked his coin and grass and said that these offerings were for the Guru only and that he had no need for material possessions. The Sikh went into Guru Sahib's tent and was so overjoyed at seeing him that he wept. The Sikh bowed before Guru Sahib's feet and asked for the true name and salvation. Guru Sahib was pleased and accepted his offerings, prayers and blessed him.
Gurdwara Sri Dukh Niwaran Sahib Agra is situated in the old part Agra. It is situated in the Nayabaans, Loha Mandi part of Agra and can only be reached on foot through narrow alleys. Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji came here and sat under a Peelu tree (this is the place where Nishan Sahib is situated in the Gurdwara Sahib).
There was Bagh (Garden) here at that time. Guru Nanak stayed here for 3 days. Guru Nanak also cured the son of an old lady who had come to Guru Sahib for help. Guru Nanak preached the benefits of Naam Simran (to pray on God's name) to the congregation under a Peelu tree (hindi), or Vann tree in Punjabi, or Salvadora oleoides (botanical name). A fair is organized on every Hola Mohalla, in the memory of Peelu Vale Baba, ie. Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji.
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Gurdwara Mai Than Sahib is situated in Mai Than Mohallla in Agra. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji visited this place before his arrest in Agra. A devout Sikh lady invited Guru Tegh Bahadur to her house where he stayed for a day or two. Her name was Mai Jassi.
Mai Jassi, an old lady who was a devout Sikh, had a length of linen prepared from yarn spun with her own hands and had longed for an opportunity to present it to Guru Tegh Bahadur in her own home. Guru Tegh Bahadur visited Mai Jassi's house in the heart of Agra and was pleased to receive the offering. As the water of Agra was not fit to drink Guru Tegh Bahadur started the foundation of a well here which the Sangat completed.
Mai Jassi expressed her fear that as she didn't have any heirs, she wouldn't be remembered after she re-joined with God. Guru Tegh Bahadur explained that those who have heirs, their name may be carried forward for a few generations but those who have earned devotion and are connected to God, their name lasts forever. As a parting boon, Guru Tegh Bahadur pronounced that Mai Jassi's name would live forever. The site of house has become a Gurdwara and is known as Gurdwara Mai Than Sahib, by this name the area is known as Mai Than Mohallla.
The Gurdwara has a spacious square divan hall, with the Guru Granth Sahib seated in the centre on a canopied throne of white marble. In a room above the entrance gate, a museum has been established with pictures depicting scenes from Sikh history, especially martyrdoms. The Gurdwara, registered as the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, is managed by Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Central Board, Agra.
Prior to Guru Tegh Bahadur's visit, it is said the Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji and Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji visited. Bhai Gurdas Ji stayed at Mata Jassi's home for 2 and half years and preached Sikhism from here and also wrote his 'Kabit Savaiye' in Agra.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Ka Taal Sahib is the site where Sri Guru Tegh Bahudar Ji offered his voluntary arrest to Aurangazeb, the barbaric mughal emperor. Guru Ka Taal is near Sikandra in Agra. The Bhora Sahib was where the Guru Tegh Bahadur kept for 9 days.
This historic structure dates back to the 17th century. Earlier it was a Taal (reservoir) in the area near Sikandra. It was built in 1610 AD to collect and conserve rainwater in Agra during Jahangir's reign. The water of the reservoir was used for irrigation purposes during the dry season.
Sri Guru Tegh Bahudar Ji (along with Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Sati Das Ji, Bhai Dyala Ji, Bhai Gurditta Ji, Bhai Udo Ji, and Bhai Jaita Ji) started his journey from Anandpur Sahib, stopping at Saifabad (Patiala), Cheeka, Jind, Rohtak, Janipur, Guru Sahib reached here at Agra.
Guru Tegh Bahudar first stopped at where Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib is situated, on the left of Gurdwara Sri Guru Ka Taal Sahib, within the same complex. A poor man named Hasan Ali was grazing goats his there. At the time Aurangzeb offered a reward of Rs 500 for information leading to the arrest of Sri Guru Tegh Bahudar Ji. As Guru Tegh Bahudar was going to submit himself voluntarily he allowed Hasan Ali to benefit from the reward money.
Guru Tegh Bahudar was arrested and kept at the Bhora Sahib for 9 days before being taken to Delhi under strict security. Aurangzeb was a vicous religous persecutor who wanted India to become an islamic state. As Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up for religious freedom and refused conversion he was made a sacrifice and beheaded by a proxy islamic court in Delhi. The mughal empire collapsed soon afterwards.
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