Fatehgarh Sahib is a city and the headquarters of Fatehgarh Sahib district, one of the twenty districts in the north west Indian state of Punjab. The city is an historically important settlement north of the city of Patiala and is of special significance to Sikhs.
The word "Fatehgarh", means "Town of Victory", and is so called because in 1710, Sikhs under the leadership of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur conquered the area and destroyed the mughal fort built during Balban's rule.
The town is surrounded by four memorial gates, each in memory of four important figures from Sikh history associated with Sirhind. These are: Diwan Todar Mal, Nawab Sher Muhammed Khan from Malerkotla, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and Baba Moti Ram Mehra. Each of these individuals belonged to a different caste or religion, showing the harmony and brotherhood among people of those times.
Fatehgarh Sahib is home to several historic Gurdwaras.
On the 24th December 1705, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji along with Jagat Mata Gujri Ji (mother of Guru Gobind Singh Ji) were arrested by Kotwal Jaani Khan of Morinda at Kheri, the native village of Gangu Ram, also called Ganga Ram Kaul (ancestor of Nehru and Indira Gandhi).
Gangu was a servant of Guru Gobind Singh who was allured by the money and jewellery which Mata Gujri Ji carried and, thus, informed the Kotwal of Morinda about their presence in his house. Jaani Khan brought them as prisoners to Sirhind.
Gurdwara Sri Rath Sahib Fatehgarh marks the location where the Sahibzadey and Mata Gujri were made to stop while Wazir Khan was notified that the young sons and mother of Guru Gobind Singh had been captured.
Wazir Khan imprisoned the Sahibzadey and Mata Gujri in the Thanda Burj (cold Fort). The fort was known as Thanda Burj as it was considered a cool place during the summer. However, it was a harsh punishment for Guru's sons and his mother to be kept here in the extreme cold during winter.
The young Sahibzadey were kept here while awaiting interrogation by Wazir Khan and his court. It was at this place that Mata Gujri re-joined with God after hearing about martyrdom of her grandsons.
Gurdwara Sri Baba Moti Ram Mehra, situated 500 Meters from Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib, was where Baba Moti Ram was martyred by Wazir Khan. Gurdwara Sri Baba Moti Ram Mehra has the actual cups used to serve milk to Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji.
Baba Moti Ram Mehra was a servant in the hindu kitchen of the Faujdar. He used to serve food to the hindu prisoners. Jagat Mata Gujri Ji refused to accept the food of the mughal kitchen as well as that which came from Diwan Sucha Nand's house. Baba Moti Ram Mehra was a great follower of Sikh Gurus. He used to serve the Sikhs on their way to Anandpur Sahib and back to their homes. The Sikhs took rest at his mud house, where the mother of Baba Moti Ram Mehra and Bibi Bholi Ji, wife of Mehra Ji, prepared food for these Sikhs.
When Jagat Mata Gujri Ji refused to accept the food, Baba Moti Ram Mehra could not bear the Sahibzadas sleeping hungry. He came home and told his family that he would serve milk and fresh water to these great prisoners. His mother and wife were scared and tried to persuade him not to take such a step. Bibi Bholi, his wife, told him that the Wazir Khan had made an announcement in the town that whoever tried to help and serve any type of food to the sons of the tenth Guru, he along with his family would be crushed alive in a Kohlu, (the oil squeezer).
This information could not change the resolve of Baba ji. His mother told him that there were so many followers of the Guru in the town; they could have dared to serve the Sahibzadas. Baba Moti Ram Mehra humbly, but with determination, told his mother that those followers feared the ruler. 'Aren't you scared, my son?' asked the mother. Baba Mehra ji humbly replied, 'Dear mother our Guru is fighting against injustice of the Mughals. I will serve the great mother and the Sahibzadas. I don't fear the punishment of the Faujdar. The history will not forgive us if we do not serve the great prisoners.'
Sensing his determination, his wife gave him her silver jewellery and some coins and requested him,' Please bribe the gate man of the Burj and request him to keep this act a secret.' Baba ji praised his wife for participation in the great cause. Baba Moti Ram served milk and water to the Sahibzadas and Mata Gujri Ji for three nights.
After some time, Pumma, the brother of Gangu, told the Faujdar that his servant (cook) had served the prisoners with milk and water. The Nawab ordered the arrest of Baba Moti Ram Mehra and his mother, wife and a little son. He did not conceal his act and boldly told the Nawab that it was his pious duty to serve the imprisoned children and their grandmother. Hence Baba Moti Ram Mehra, along with his family, was sentenced to death by being squeezed in a Kohlu (oil press).
Baba Moti Ram Mehra's sacrifice was first sermonized by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Today, Baba Moti Ram Mehra is deeply respected by Sikhs. Another less known fact is that Bhai Himmat Singh (one of the original Panj Pyaras) was Bhai Mehra Ji's uncle.
Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were brought before Wazir Khan, who had just returned from the battle of Chamkaur. Wazir Khan tried to lure them to embrace Islam with promises of riches and honours, but they spurned the offer. He threatened them with death as an alternative to their accepting Islam, but they remained firm.
A death sentence was eventually awarded. Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan of Malerkotla protested that it would be improper to harm the innocent children. Wazir Khan, however, ordered them to be bricked up alive in a wall, if they still refused conversion. They were kept in the Cold Tower in that severe winter for another two days. Under the orders of Wazir Khan, the Sahibzadas began to be walled in with bricks while standing on the ground. However, as the masonry reached above chest height, the wall collapsed. The next day the Sahibzadas were once again offered the choice of conversion or death.
They chose the latter and fearlessly faced the executioner's sword. The cruelty of their murder and their fearlessness of death which they preferred to giving up their faith finds a touching narration in "Ganj-e-Shaheedan" an urdu poem by a muslim poet, Allahyar Khan Jogi, who used to recite it from Sikh platforms during the second and third decades of the twentieth century.
The historic wall where the young sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked-up alive does not remain but the actual location has been preserved in this Gurdwara, which is underneath Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. Gurdwara Sri Bhora Sahib Fatehgarh also has the kirpan hilts of the young Sahibzadey displayed in small cases.
Gurdwara Sri Bibangarh Sahib is situated just behind Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. In 1704, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji were martyred mercilessly. After their martydom Bhai Moti Ram Mehra Ji narrated the whole incident to Mata Gujri Ji. After listening, Mata Gujri Ji prayed before god and left her body.
The mughals child killers disposed of the dead bodies in the dense forest behind Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib, on bank of River Hansla. The forest contained many wild animals. It is said that a lion guarded the holy bodies until Todar Mal and others reclaimed them for proper cremation. The Gurdwara marks the location of where those pious bodies were kept for the night.
Gurdwara Sri Jyoti Saroop Sahib lies about 1.6 km (1 mile) from Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. On 27th December 1705, the Sahibzadas were slain after the attempt at bricking them alive in the foundation of the wall failed. Mata Gujri Ji also breathed her last.
At this place, the mortal remains of Mata Gujri (the mother of Guru Gobind Singh), Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh (Guru Gobind Singh's young sons) were cremated. Wazir Khan, the Faujidar or Governor of Sirhind, refused to allow the cremation of the bodies unless the land for the cremation was purchased by laying gold coins on it.
Todar Mal purchased this piece of land by offering the gold coins as demanded and thereby etched his name in the annals of Sikh history and earned the title "Diwan". Diwan Todar Mall of Sirhind performed the cremation. He told Baba Mehra Ji to arrange a cart of chandan wood (sandalwood), which Baba Mehra brought from the forests of Atta Ali.
Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib marks the site of where the two young sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked alive, tortured and beheaded. The actual site is located in the Bhora Sahib which is underneath Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib.
Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib, with affiliated Gurdwaras, is administered directly by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. In addition to the daily programme of morning and evening services and kirtan, largely attended assemblies are held on the first of each Bikrami month. The most notable event of the year is a fair, popularly known as Sabha, held on 11th, 12th and 13th of Poh, which falls during the last week of December, to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji along with Jagat Mata Gujri Ji.
At Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Ganj Sahib, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji cremated 6000 Sikhs who had won martyrdom in the battle of Sirhind. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was sent by Guru Gobind Singh Ji to fight against the atrocities of muslims from Nanded.
Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Ganj Sahib is situated within the Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib complex. The Gurdwara is a small memorial for those who gave so much. Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Ganj Sahib is the first of three Sis Ganj Gurdwaras in Fatehgarh.
Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Ganj Sahib Fatehgarh is situated just 600 meters from Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. It commemorates the martyrdom of those Sikhs who were killed by the tyrannical mughals after the time of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
The mughal muslims put a bounty for every Sikh dead or alive. The price paid for the head of a Sikh was set at 80 rupees. It is believed that forty cartloads of heads of martyred Sikhs, were cremated here. Gurdwara Sri Sis Ganj Shaheedan Sahib is the second of three Sis Ganj Gurdwaras in Fatehgarh.
Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Bunga Sahib (also known as Gurdwara Baba Sukha Singh Ji Shaheed) is situated just 750 meters from Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. The Gurdwara is in sacred memory of Jathedar Sukha Singh and many other Sikhs who became Shaheed in the Battle against Zain Khan in 1764 AD. This was the final Battle for Sirhind and it resulted in victory for the Sikhs and domination in the region until the subsquent rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Zain Khan, the Subedar of Sirhand, took part in the Wadda Ghallughara (Major Sikh Genocide) on 5th February 1762 at a place named Kup Rahira, located approximately 12 km north of Malerkotla. Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Bunga Sahib is the third of three Sis Ganj Gurdwaras in Fatehgarh.
Gurdwara Sri Thara Sahib Fatehgarh is located at the place where Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji visited while returning to Amritsar from Gwalior. In Gwalior Guru Hargobind had 52 Raja's released along with himself. It is said that Guru Hargobind Ji had laid the foundation of the small bridge (Pullia) which is adjacent of this Gurdwara. Gurdwara Sri Thara Sahib is a small Gurdwara with a simple platform inside a low brick wall enclosure.
We would highly recommend visits to Fatehgarh Sahib and to these historic locations.
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