Cities & Towns

Baba Bakala

Situated about 45 kilometers east on the Batala road. Baba Bakala is very closely associated with Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur. It lies on the Jalandhar-Batala Road, 40 km from Amritsar. There is a gurudwara in the sacred memory of the Guru. Guru Tegh Bahadur meditated at Bakala for full 20 years. He got constructed special cell for meditation where he used to sit in contemplation for hours. When Guru Hari Krishan had pointed out before his demise in 1664 that the Baba (Guru) would be found at Bakala, the Sikhs came to this place in large numbers to find their Guru. Seeing a vast opportunity to delude the masses and attain riches and glory, a few other claimants to the throne also set up their gaddis at this place, each with his agent (or Masand) to attract the devotees to his own master. Confusion prevailed for a while till a Sikh merchant, Makhan Shah, on putting each to the test, is said to have found the true Guru in Tegh Bahadur Ė a decision in which many other devout Sikhs also participated and hailed. He was installed the Guru on 20 March 1665. However, this decision perturbed Dhir Mal, his nephew, so much that he decided to make a murderous assault on him and rob his property. A Masand of Dhir Mal, Sihan by name, aimed with a gun at the Guru one night and though it wounded him, the shot did not prove fatal. The Guruís movable property was also looted. But, he kept serene and calm at this tragedy. When the Sikhs came to know of it in the morning, in spite of the Guruís protests, they broke open the door of Dhir Mal, took possession of all the looted property, and binding Sihan hand and foot presented him to the Guru. The Sikhs also looted the original copy of the Granth Sahib, a possession which Dhir Mal always utilised for extorting presents from the devout and proclaiming that it was indeed he who being the custodian of the original Granth deserved to be worshipped as Guru.

Sihan pleaded to the Guru most humbly for a pardon. Seeing his distress, the Guru ordered his release and forgave him for his sins. "The Guru must be compassionate, like the mother, in all circumstances", he said. He also asked the Sikhs to return the copy of the Granth Sahib to Dhir Mal. "I will want my Sikhs to inscribe the instructions of the Granth Sahib in their minds and souls and not permit them to believe a particular copy of the Granth or any other symbol or sacred spot as conferring any special privilege on its custodians. For, once religious institutions are exploited as property, the soul of religion will vanish". The Sikhs had no choice but to return the original Granth to Dhir Mal.People gather in thousands on every amavas (moonless night) and an annual fair is held on Raksha Bandhan day (night of full moon in August) when about one hundred thousand people visit the place.