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Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib

Location - Narowal, Punjab, Pakistan

Associated with - Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji

Sikh Artifacts - None

Sarovar - None

Sarai - None

Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan 5 km's from the Indo-Pakistan border. The nearest town on the Indian side of the border is Dera Baba Nanak [1.5 km's from the border] in the district of Gurdaspur.

The original home established by Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji in his old age was washed away by floods of the river Ravi. The present Gurdwara was established by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Recently, there has been lobbying to open the corridor for Sikhs from India to visit the shrine without any hindrance or visa. It lies only 5 km's from the border.

When Guru Nanak returned to God both hindus and muslims claimed Guru Nanak as their own. The hindus and muslims disagreed on how to perform the last rites.

The hindus, as per their tradition, wanted to carry out a cremation, while the muslims wanted to carry out a burial.

A samadh (hindu tradition) lies in the Gurdwara and a grave (according to muslim traditions) lies on the premises as a reminder of this discord.

The Gurdwara is located next to a small village named Kothay Pind (village) on the west bank of the Ravi River in Punjab, Pakistan.


The Governor of the area, Duni Chand met Guru Nanak at Pakhoke and donated 100 acres of land to Guru Sahib. On the Guru's acceptance of the land he decided to settle there and a small building was constructed.

There is a reference in the historical books that Guru formally laid the foundation of Kartarpur on 13 Magh 1572 Bikrami (1515 AD). Apart from Duni Chand, Guru's Sikh Doda was also helpful.

Guru Nanak wore the clothes typical of a farmer and began to cultivate the land around his new settlement. Soon his family; father, mother, wife and sons arrived at Kartarpur.

Guru Nanak lived in Kartarpur in the life of a householder for 18 years. Sikh history is replete with pleasant stories connected with Guru Nanak's pious deeds at Kartarpur where he started the tradition called Guru ka Langer. Soon, with his Sikhs moving to join the community, a sarai (accomodation) was built along with a congregation room where the sangat gathered daily to listen to kirtan the Gurbani music and the Guru's discourses.

The Guru ka Langar was the place where the Guru's belief in the equality of every man and woman was first manifested in India, which had long been a segregated society based on the idea of varna, more commonly known outside of India as caste. People dined together irrespective of their former caste, creed or even their wealth. The food was grown, prepared and served by the sangat with members of Sangat taking turns as volunteers.


It was in this city that Guru Nanak appointed Bhai Lehna as his spiritual successor after others had failed some of the Guru's 'tests'. Some seeking the Guruship were not even aware that the seemingly odd things or tasks that the Guru had asked of them was his way of testing their humility and selfless dedication to their fellow Sikhs. Guru Nanak's own sons had thought that certain duties were below them.

Guru Nanak gave Bhai Lehna the name Angad as he named him his succesor on 7th September 1539. Bhai Lehna, who had never felt any work or task 'beneath him', was called Angad by Guru Nanak so that Sikhs would understand that Guru Nanak considered Bhai Lehna to be a part of his own body. 'Ang' means a part or piece of something, with 'Angad' meaning literally born of or a piece of (Guru Nanak's body). Guru Nanak also handed over a pothi (book) of hymns to Guru Angad.

Earthly Remains

On 10th Asu Sudi 1596 Bikrami (Monday 22nd September 1539 AD) Guru Nanak rejoined with God at Kartarpur. Since Guru Nanak's Sikhs had been raised as hindus or muslims (each of which had different methods of dealing with one's earthly remains), an arguement arose over whether the Guru's body should be cremated or buried. Ultimately it was decided that overnight, flowers would be placed by each group on Guru Nanak's body. Whoever's flowers were found to be withered the next morning would loose the claim. The next morning when the sheet was removed the Guru's body was missing and both sets of flowers were found as fresh as when they were placed. The two communities then decided to divide the cloth sheet one burying it and the other consigning it to a fire. Therefore both a grave and a smadh exist at Kartarpur.

Guru Nanak undertook four major udasis (tours) trekking through many countries. Many sources tell us that except for his first journey they were all begun at Kartarpur. Kartarpur was the first headquarters of the Sikhs and their Gurus.


Another story relates that Karori Mal the Governor of Kalanaur cultivated jealousy against the Guru as many hindu yogis and muslims were converting to Sikhism. He set out to arrest the Guru but when he was mounting his horse he fell on the ground, his turban rolling down to the feet of people around. On his second attempt; tradition has it that he became blind and ultimately fell at the feet of the Guru and apologised for his past ill will. The Guru blessed him and he became a devoted Sikh of the Guru and donated the 100 acres of land (about 14 Km from Kalanaur) on the bank of river Ravi where Guru founded Kartarpur.

Some historians have named Karori Mal as Duni Chand who was grand son of Jawahar Mal. There is a street in Lahore named Jawahar Mal. Bakshi Bhagat Ram a minister in Maharaja Ranjit Singh's court was a decendant of Duni Chand / Karori Mal. There are instances in the old history books [Janam Sakhis] relating how the Guru started the institution of Langar the free kitchen for all.

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