Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Piao Sahib, also known as Gurdwara Nanak Piao, is a historic Sikh Gurdwara located in north Delhi in India.
This Gurdwara Sahib, dedicated to Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, was built at the garden where Guru Nanak camped when he visited Delhi in 1505 during the reign of Sultan Sikander Shah Lodhi.
The Gurdwara is located on Rana Pratap Road (also known as Grand Trunk Road or GT Road). Even in those times, owing to the heavy traffic on the GT Road, a large number of travellers passed through this place.
Guru Nanak would offer food and water to the hungry and thirsty, hence the name of the Gurdwara. The word 'Piao' means to 'offer liquid to drink' and refers to the offering of water to those that are thirsty.
To provide fresh cool water to the thirsty travellers Guru Nanak built a deep well and set up a permanent piao. Guru Nanak took great pleasure in serving the fresh cool water to passers-by with his own hands.
Guru Nanak delivered sermons and sang his Gurbani (kirtan) accompanied by Bhai Mardana. Soon a number of people started visiting him regularly. The garden where he was staying soon became very popular. Many would bring gifts for Guru Nanak which Guru Ji distributed among the poor. Guru Nanak made the site a missionary centre.
Many travellers passing through would stay there. Langar (food) was regularly given to those who stayed. During the day, Guru Nanak himself would serve water from the well. During Guru Nanak's stay in Delhi, Guru Nanak met some people that were mourning the death of their elephant.
Guru Nanak asked them what the cause of their suffering was. The people said that they were sad because their elephant had died. Guru Nanak told them that they were mistaken. The animal was not dead but merely sleeping. On hearing this, they went near the animal and found that it slowly came back to life. They all fell at Guru Nanak's feet.
The news travelled fast and even Emperor Sikander Shah Lodhi came to know about this holy man who had won the admiration of all the hindu and muslim divines of Delhi. When one of the Emperor's favourite royal elephants died, he sent for Guru Nanak and asked Guru Ji to revive his elephant too. But the Guru Nanak refused to oblige him.
Guru Nanak merely smiled and humbly said he was nobody. Life and death was in God's hands. God was the true creator and destroyer. It was not given to ordinary human beings like him to interfere with God's will. Guru Nanak further observed that whatever happens is according to God's will and one should accept and rejoice in God's doings. It left the Emperor upset and enraged. Consequently the Guru was immediately imprisoned.
In the prison his deep compassion for the suffering of prisoners had a great moral and spiritual influence on the prison officials. They informed the Emperor that Guru Nanak was not a worshiper of idols (as hindus are) and that as a Saint he was greatly respected by all the people including hindus and muslims.
A strange thing happened while Guru Nanak was imprisoned, a great earthquake shook Delhi on 3rd July 1505. According to a chronicler, 'the mountains were overturned and lofty edifices were dashed to the ground'. The living thought the day of judgement had come and that the Yaum al-Qiyĝmah, as the Muslim's call the Day of Resurrection, had come.
Prone to superstition, many thought this was because the new Faqir Nanak, who had been imprisoned by the Emperor, had cursed the King and the Empire. This or some other equally strong influence like the intervention of the Chisti Sufi saints changed the mind of the Emperor and he ordered the release of the Guru Nanak. At Guru Nanak's request many other prisoners were released as well.
During Guru Nanak's stay in Delhi, he came across some people that were mourning the death of their elephant. Guru Nanak asked them what the cause of their suffering was. The people said that they were sad because their elephant had died. Guru Nanak told them that they were mistaken.
The owner of the garden donated the land and it became a public Gurdwara in the name of Guru Nanak. Even today, the well used by the Guru is preserved and you can still see the well from which Guru Nanak served water at the Gurdwara. Consequently, over time Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Piao Sahib attained a status of a revered historic Sikh Gurdwara.
Guru Nanak was an apostle of peace and brotherhood. Guru Nanak's sermons created an uplifting and healthy impact on the people who bowed before him as respect for his spiritual guidance. The garden surrounding the Gurdwara is visited by people from all over the world.
The joti jot (rejoining with God) anniversary of Guru Nanak is observed at Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Piao Sahib. Many Sikhs come and offer prayers on the day. As with most Historic Sikh Gurdwaras in India, Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Piao Sahib has grown exponentially in size and popularity in the last 50 years. It is certainly not the same as it was 10 years ago.
Many Sikhs visit the Gurdwara in the morning and evening. The Gurdwara has an impressive mughal-style gate. The main sanctum is on a 4 foot high platform and has wide parkarama. The interiors of the main hall are very well done and part of the ceiling is in Sheesh Mahal style. Behind the gurdwara is a sarovar with beautiful arched veranda on the periphery.
The historic well and amrit (nectar-like water) is served by the sewadars (volunteers). The well is covered with a white dome with pillars decorated in a bright fashion. There is a small garden which is in continuance of the garden that existed at that time. There is a separate set of rooms for holding individual Akhand paths.
On the right side of the main gate are staff quarters which, for the sake of sanctity and beauty of the place, could have been located elsewhere in the premises. There is still lot of area lying vacant. Proper planning of that could greatly enhance the beauty and ambience of the gurdwara.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors