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Images, above and below: Gurdwara Nanak Math, Kathmandu, Nepal. Guru Nanak visited the site in 1516 and the gurdwara marks the spot where he meditated.

Architecture

Sikh-American on a Mission to Restore Historical Gurdwaras

SMRITI MALAVIYA

 

 

 

A Sikh-American has vowed to restore all the historical gurdwaras in India and Nepal marking visits by Guru Nanak in the 15th and 16th centuries, to their pristine glory.

Born in a Christian family in America, David, now Simran Singh Khalsa having converted to Sikhism, is mobilising funds since long for the restoration of the gurdwaras to their original form.

Sporting a beard and yellow turban, he is of an affable nature which easily wins hearts. “That’s what I have learnt from my revered Guru and Sikh Religion,” says Simran Singh Khalsa who took to Sikhhism amid heavy protest by his family members 40 years ago.

Presently in Allahabad at the Panchayati Akhada Naya Udaseen Nirvan camp in the Kumbh Mela to make a documentary on Naya Udaseen Akhada, Simran Singh feels that many of the historical gurdwaras are losing their past glory, be it in India or Nepal. Guru Nanak lived in Nepal for one year to spread the light of the Sikh Religion there.

“These humble structures, which are related to our revered Guru Nanak, are either being modernized or are lying in a neglected state. My mission is to restore them to their original form so that people may relate to them. There’s no charm in the modernized structures,” he adds.

According to this devout Sikh, inspired by the Sikh Scripture, Guru Granth, many other westerners have also converted to Sikhism. “I got motivated by Bhai sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi, who taught me Kundalini Yoga. We have many ashrams in South America. Out of my five children, two are Sikhs. In fact, one of them is the principal of the Khalsa school in Amritsar,” adds Simran Singh who divides his time between Nepal and California for the restoration work of gurdwaras.

He says he’s very fascinated by the power of sacrifice and the sense of humility and sharing in Sikh religion.

“Four years ago, I started reading Guru Granth Sahib. The teachings were so inspirational that I read this lengthy scripture within 10 days. I read it five times within a span of 50 days. ” explained Simran Singh, who had come to Allahabad for the first time.

 

[Courtesy: Hindustan Times. Edited for sikhchic.com]

January 10, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: H. S, Bedi (Bhopal, MP, India), January 10, 2013, 7:17 AM.

Look forward to reading more about the gurdwaras being restored.

2: Ishver (Klang, Malaysia), January 10, 2013, 11:46 PM.

It would be useful for the future generations and the sangat if you could document the restoration. Perhaps via a blog detailing the work in progress, location, historical ties with the Gurus, etc. Also some pictures showing before and after. Great task you have undertaken, in comparison to what the political and religious "leaders' and what they do or fail to do!

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