Early in the year, just before the pandemic, I traveled to North India. I visited Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The Northern winters are harsh but by mid-feb, they get relatively mild and the weather is quite pleasant to explore places.
While in Punjab I couldn’t miss the Golden temple in Amritsar. Golden temple happens to be the Sanctum sanctorum of the Sikhs. I visited one more Gurudwara in Patiala. Having spent ample time at both the places , I started reflecting on the significance of such Gurudwaras and how they starkly stand out when compared to other holy establishments. Sikhism is relatively a new monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region around the end of the 15th century. Sikhs comprise only 2% of India’s population.
Big Gurudwaras happen to beat heart of civilizations. They are easily accessible. They have an uniform structures and plans. Some Gurudwaras in Punjab are really grand but most Gurudwaras across the world are usually well planned large establishments. They house a man built lake, ample sitting area , luggage storage counters, free food facility, clean washrooms and bathrooms, footwear storage. Sikhs offer free seva(help) in form of donations like clothes etc.
The concept revolves around building a community and offering basic services that everyone needs. There is lot of standardization and process orientation. Most of the services are voluntary services or Seva done my Sikh men and women.
I am longing to visit the Gurudwaras again and spend some peaceful time.