Wednesday 31 August 2016

Baru Sahib in Sirmaur, Himachal

Gurudwara Baru Sahib, Sirmaur

On the Solan to Nahan road hidden deep in the Sirmaur valley of Himachal Pradesh lies Baru Sahib. I had heard of it when I had gone to Rajgarh in 2008 but due to time constraint could not go that time. But this time I decided to go and see the place. I had not done any research on it before going and the place was a complete surprise for me.

River Giri close to Baru Sahib

From Rajgarh Baru Sahib is about 30 km and first it is all downhill till you reach the river Giri (a tributary of river Yamuna) and then uphill for a few km.

Baru Sahib, Sirmaur

I thought by the name that Baru Sahib will have a Gurudwara and maybe a township or village but when I reached there I saw that besides the Gurudwara there was no village or town but almost an exclusive educational township managed by the Kalgidhar Trust under which there is an Akal Academy, an IB School and a private University. Basically it is a venture of NRI Sikhs, mainly from Canada. The Trust runs Eternal University here and the Akal University in Damdama Sahib in Punjab. Most students seem to be from Himachal or Punjab. Some NRI students are also present. The main focus of the studies in Baru Sahib is theology but there are the usual professional courses as well. The undergraduate programmes specially are only for the women. There are several hostel blocks and all seemed full. The place had its own vibrancy.

Baru Sahib Gurudwara & the education township

The place is also called land of meditation or Tapobhumi. Baru Sahib valley is also known as 'Valley of Divine Peace' (and probably that is why the name of the University as Eternal). Baru Sahib was ‘discovered’ by Sant Teja Singh, a disciple of Sant Attar Singh, with the help of Bhai Iqbal Singh in 1956. It is said that Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, had also visited the holy site of Baru Sahib.

Darbar Sahib of Baru Sahib is huge

When I entered the Gurudwara I was amazed to see the size of the hall. It is the biggest that I have seen till now but otherwise very simple and not gaudy. The work on the outside is yet to be finished.

Girls singing hymns at Baru Sahib
Another big change was that there were girls who were doing the recitation from the Guru Granth Sahib. In another room I saw several girls taking lessons in the recitation of the sacred texts. There is a huge music drum (nagara) to accompany the prayers. There is a non-stop Langar in the basement which I also partook. The Darbar Sahib building is 6-7 storey high and has various rooms for various activities of the Gurudwara. The place has made special efforts to tap the solar energy and I could see several solar panels on the hills nearby.

Nagara (drum) used during prayers

The way from Rajgarh to Baru Sahin and back was laden with wild flowers and there were plenty of birds to see.

Wild flowers on way to Baru Sahib, Sirmaur

Also read:
Hidden Himachal: Rajgarh
Rajgarh: Pretty as a Peach?
Around Rajgarh in Himachal Pradesh
Wild Flowers of Rajgarh
Wildlife in Rajgarh


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