Located between Sitarganj and Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib is one of the historical shrines associated with Guru Nanak. On the occasion of 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, lets go on a photo tour of the Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib.
It is said that Guru Nanak Dev visited this place during his third Udasi (Guru’s travels) in 1514 AD. At that time this place was under spiritual control of Siddhas (Yogis, devotees os Guru Gorakhnath). People also say that, just because of this the place was earlier known as Gorkahmata.
Guru Nanak’s way of spiritual awakening among people was entirely different from what was preached by Siddhas, who did not like the growing affinity among locals towards the Sikh Guru. They took it as a challenge, as they started feeling the loss of control on the people. There are many folklores on events of those times.
One of them is related to Dhoona Sahib, located inside the Gurudwara complex. It is said that when Guru Nanak reached here and started meditating under a Pipal tree, the Yogis were quite surprised to seem him here. Bhai Mardana, who used to accompany Guru Nanak at all times, asked Yogis for some fire to keep Guru warm as it was very cold. Arrogant Yogis refused. Than Guru Nanak looked at a pile of firewood lying nearby and the it got lit instantly. And then, weather suddenly turned bad and it started raining. Due to rain, fire lit by Yogis got extinguished, while one lit by Guru kept lit and warm. That place is known as Dhoona Sahib and can be seen inside Gurudwara.
Sixth Guru Har Gobind Sahib is also said to have visited this place upon the call from Baba Almast Sahib. In his remembrance Gurudwara sixth Patshahi was built inside the Gurudwara complex.
There is a story, about how this place got its name Nanakmatta. It is said that when Guru Nanak was here, Yogis tried there best to dissuade hem and turn him away from this place. But that didn’t happen. So, as a last resort, they hatched a conspiracy and told Guru Nanak that they should ask this land itself that to whom does it belong. Yogis dug a big pit in earth and hid a boy inside and covered it. Boy was told that what he has to reply when questions will be asked to land. So, Yogis and Guru assembled and Yogis started asking to the land, that whom does it belong to. Two times Yogis asked it and ’land’ replied- Siddhas. Third time, Guru Nanak asked the same question and the voice inside kept saying- Nanakmatta, Nanakmatta, Nanakmatta! Hence the place became Nanakmatta. That pit is still there inside the main Gurudwara and is revered as Bhora Sahib.
One of the most revered places inside the Gurudwara complex is Pipal Sahib- a many centuries old Pipal tree. It is said that when Guru Nanak came here the Pipal tree was dried. But when Guru started his meditation here, the tree became green and full again. There was said to be a tussle among Yogis and Guru again for the tree, but Yogis were defeated against Guru’s powers.
A century after Guru Nanak’s visit, Bhai Almast Sahib came here. To disturb him, Yogis burnt down the tree. Baba Almast then called then Guru Har Gobind Sahib to visit and take control of this place as well as restore the shrine. It is said that when Guru Har Gobind came here, he sprinkled saffron on the burnt tree and it bloomed again. The huge tree is still there in the Gurudwara compound is place for great reverence among followers.
Another place to see in Nanakmatta town is Baoli Sahib, which is located on the banks of river Ghagghar, close to Nanak Sagar Dam. There is another story behind this Baoli (well) and that too is related to struggle between Yogis and Guru Nanak. Nanak Sagar is a big reservoir and is now also popular for boating and other water activities.
Another place of reverence that emerged out of struggle between Yogis and Guru Nanak was the Doodh Walan Kuan, a well of milk that is said to have come up when Yogis declined to love any milk to Bhai Mardana, when he went to them to ask for some milk. Yogis used to possess big number of cows. Then, Guru is said to have drawn all the milk of all cows of Yogis into this well. Water of this well was then said to taste like milk. Thus the well got this name. Later a Gurudwara was also constructed here.
Half a kilometre from main Gurudwara is Gurudwara Bhandara Sahib, which is associated with another folklore of Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana and their struggle with Yogis. Bhandara means free food for everyone who comes to that place and asks for it.
In the Gurudwara complex. there is another Gurudwara dedicated to Baba Almast Sahib. Thus the Nanakmatta has a lot of places inside the small town for people to see and know more about the spiritual history of the place.
Where to stay: There is a Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam tourist rest house in Nanakmatta. There are many other hotels also nearby Gurudwara. Besides, for devotees, there is a rest house and rooms run by Gurudwara management committee. There is more rush of devotees during the festivals and prakash parvs of the Gurus.
How to reach: Nanakmatta town is on main road connecting Khatima to Sitarganj in the terai region of Uttarakhand. It is 18 kms from Khatima and 12 kms from Sitarganj. Place is well connected by good road with regular bus services.
Have you ever been to Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib? How was the experience? Share with us in the comments section below.
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Beautifully captures the essence of this place. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks a lot Bikram Jeet.