It is to find the divine being, that one takes up a holy pilgrimage, and the Panj Takhts or literally meaning the “the five divine seats or thrones” are an integral part of Sikhism, that take religious, social & political decisions as required by the Sikh community. The five spiritual seats or takhts of the Khalsa are the five gurudwaras that denote special significance, the first & most important one being the Akal Takht near Sri Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) among the other four spread across the country. So here is the tour of the holy pilgrimage of the Panj Takhts.
Shri Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar
The throne of the Immortal or the Timeless One was the first to be established among the five takhts, by Guru Hargobind Sahib in 1606 near the Harmandar Sahib, in the Golden temple complex – the place of the highest spokesman of the Sikh community. Being the supreme seat of power, the social, political & religious decisions of welfare, by the Akal Takht are respected & followed by the Sikhs all over world.
Other historical gurudwaras of Amritsar that one ought to visit are – Gurdwara Sahida Sahib, Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib, Gurdwara Lohgarh Sahib & Gurdwara Chheharta Sahib.
Takht Shri Damdama Sahib, Bhatinda
Takht Shri Damdama Sahib lies in the village of Talwandi Sabo near Bhatinda, Punjab, known for Guru Gobind Singh Ji the most revered Guru & spiritual guide of the Sikhs to have compiled the sacred scripture of the Adi Granth – Shri Guru Granth Sahib also known as the Damdama Sahib Bir in the year 1705. Recognised as the fifth seat of the authority of Sikhs, it is also famous for the Jor Mela & the much enthusiastic celebration of the Baisakhi festival.
Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib
Takht Shri Keshgrah Sahib is known to be the birthplace of the Khalsa founded by Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, located in Anandpur, Punjab on the banks of the Sutlej. The holy place also hosts the Hola Mohalla festival around the month of March, a tradition established by Shri Guru Gobind Singh, for the Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles. The festival includes mock battles, exhibitions, display of weapons, etc. followed by kirtan, music and poetry competitions. The participants perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses and various other feats of bravery.
Takht Shri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded
Situated on the banks of the Godavari, Takht Shri Hazoor Sahib is the place where Guru Gobind Singh lived the last years of his life preaching, & left for heavenly abode. It lies in Nanded, Maharashtra famous for its many gurudwaras, also known as Takht Sachkhand (the seat of the Region of Truth), standing on the same place where the Guru was cremated known as Angitha Sahib, along with a monument in his memory. Built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 1830s, it houses many sacred scriptures – Guru Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth & other relics.
Takht Shri Harmandir Sahib, Patna
Another one of the five Takhts, Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib lies on the banks of the Ganga, in the city of Patna, Bihar, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh where he also spent his childhood before Anandpur, also known to have been a holy place visited by Guru Nanak & Guru Teg Bahadur at different periods of time. Built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, it also houses many historical sacred relics of Shri Guru Gobind Singh.
The Panj Takht Darshan is a spiritual journey to connect with the divine & seeking the peace & calm of the soul, especially for the Sikh community & all those who wish to relish in the teachings of the Sikh Gurus – the five gurudwaras holding great significance. Not just that, they are an integral part in the making of the socio-political & religious decisions by the leadership of the Takhts – responsible for Gurmat decisions, proclamations and corporal policies on secular and spiritual issues of the Sikh society.
The tours are organized by Flights, Trains & local cars, spanning these Panj Takhts & other important Gurudwaras in the surrounding areas, along with provisions & special initiatives like the Deccan Odyssey by the Government of Maharashtra, the Panj Takht special train, the Panj Takht Express launched by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board in collaboration with the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) are among the considerable options to choose from. One can also go for special tourist packages & services provided for by Travel companies or go for the option of customized itineraries & tours, one of them being Shikhar travels, for a privileged, comfortable & hassle-free travel experience to indulge in the divine spirit of the pilgrimage covering these major shrines.