Guru Nanak Dev ji, the founder of Sikhism, visited Haridwar during 1504 A.D.
12 November 2019 is Kartik Purnima, the full Moon night (Purnima) of the lunar month named ‘Kartik’. Guru Nanak was born such full Moon night, 550 years ago.
On 12 November 2019, India Posts released a set of 5 beautiful stamps to mark the joyous event.
Postage stamps have been released earlier on other 9 Sikh Gurus as well.
So, on 12 November 2019, 515 years after he visited Haridwar, and 550 years after he was born, it was a good opportunity to try being in his footsteps.
Kartik Purnima, since millennia, is a major occassion to have ritual-bathing in Ganga at Haridwar. In fact, ritual bathing happens the whole month, ending with the Kartik Purnima day.
For days, one could see a lot of people bathing in Ganga early at 5.00 am, even near AZIMVTH Ashram.
There is a famous incident which happened here when Guru Nanak came to Har-ki-paidi half-a-millennium-and-half-a-century ago. Everyone was performing a ritual of offering the sacred Ganga water facing Sun. He started doing so facing another direction. He wanted to preach that God is everywhere.
(As an aside – Similarly, there is an anecdote of the Kaaba at Mecca moving in the direction of Guru Nanak’s feet.)
Through a prior recce, it was determined that the possible spot where Guru Nanak ji was likely to have bathed at Har-ki-paidi could be located between the Kushavrata Ghat and the office of scouts & guides.
‘Babri Bhawan’ appeared to be a likely candidate. But the pandas, the priests owning it denied it.
A short distance away, there is ‘Tehri House’, an old fortress kind of building that was built by the Raja of Tehri.
The building indeed has a small one room Gurudwara, a Sikh temple. The room is just near a tree under which a Naga (naked ascetic) sadhu is known to be living for a long time. A painting (shown below) is placed above the shrine. It shows a scene of that incident.
From Har-ki-paidi, Guru Nanak went towards Kankhal couple of kilometers away from Har-ki-paidi.
Due to the teeming crowds of the seekers, it took a lot of time to reach by walking to Sati Ghat at Kankhal. At that time, the present day Gurudwara was not there. One of Guru Nanak’s early followers built it few years later. Guru Amardas ji, the third of the ten Sikh Gurus visited here and the Gurudwara was established.
Amardas ji, unlike other Gurus lived a long life — 95 years. Three other Gurus had a combined life lesser than 15 years of his.
The two structures at Sati Ghat contain many murals which are hundreds of years old.
Some of these murals may be lost.
The long day ended with chilled air blowing from Ganga. Winter evenings and nights are quite cold in Haridwar.
This was the second expedition to attempt being a worthy student of the first Guru of Sikhism. The first conscious attempt was the expedition that was made 484 years after Guru Nanak had visited Hasan Abdal in present day Pakistan. Panja Sahib contains a palm-print of Guru Nanak ji.
Many of the leading Yoga teachers of the Kundalini Yoga are Sikhs.
Following videos show some aspects of the day.
Guruparab / Prakash Utsav brings blessings and opportunities for all.
Kartik Purnima Haridwar 2019 1 – last rites
Kartik Purnima Haridwar 2019 2 – ritual bathing
Kartik Purnima Haridwar 2019 3 – ritual bathing
Kartik Purnima Haridwar 2019 4 – Tehri House
Kartik Purnima Haridwar 2019 5 Guru Amardas ji Kankhal
(This article will be expanded soon. It is part of the series of articles on places of historical spiritual interest in Haridwar.)