One of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for the Sikh faith is Sri Hemkunt Sahib.
The Gurdwara is known for its rich historical importance….The gates of shrine were reopened on Monday after their closure for winters. The first prayers were offered at the shrine on Monday morning followed by Shri Sukhmani Sahib, Shabad Kirtan and Mukhwaak.
Pilgrims from across the country visited the shrine and for all those who don’t know much about this holy place….here are 14 facts about this site:
1. Sri Hemkunt Sahib is mentioned in the life history of Guru Gobind Singh Ji who meditated at Hemkunt Sahib located at an altitude of 16,000 ft in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district for a long time. In spite of this, the place remained unknown and undiscovered for more than 2 centuries.
2. Bhai Santokh Singh Ji was a Sikh poet and historian who used imagination and descriptions in the relics to identify this place. This helped reach the correct spot.
3. It was on the basis of indication in Mahabharata, that the place was well spotted by Pandit Narotam and Bhai Vir Singh Ji. A mutual history belongingness is visible between Sikh and Hindu divinity.
4. The steel heavy plates used to construct the building of the Gurdwara Sahib was supplied without any transport from narrowest of the way possible; travelling a distance of 10410 metre without any machinery or transport. It was all human effort!
5. This is the only Gurdwara in the world to be constructed at an altitude of 15,210 feet.
6. It’s the only Gurdwara in the world to have a pentagonal structure in its design. A very distinct feature considering the prominence of domes in all the Gurdwaras.
7. From Rishikesh to Srinagar to Joshimath and then Gobind Dham, you cross eight pilgrimage destinations. So you have a very enriching experience on your way!!
8. Alaknanda is the famous river associated with the route which provides pleasant refreshment.
9. The Gurdwara remains closed for most of the time in a year and closes 15 days before Dussehra.
10. This sacred “tapa asthana” of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji faces extremes of weather. Hemkunt Sahib gets snow all around the year and the temperatures are akin to Siachen Glacier.
11. One visit is must for every GurSikh in his lifetime and the sanctity of the spot is beyond one’s imagination!
12. Faith in the slogan “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” keeps the atmosphere warm for every pilgrim.
13. The free kitchen service and en route free distribution of dry fruits goes a long way to talk about the selfless service.
14. The low oxygen supply given the altitude of the place forces many devotees to come down by the evening.
15. The Indian Army is a key helper to pave a way in snow and make the path accessible to the innumerable devotees visiting the shrine.
So, are you planning a pilgrimage to Sri Hemkunt Sahib this year?