DESTINATION Gurdwara Panja Sahib | By Ch. Faisal Mahmood
HASAN ABDAL : Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal is one of the holiest shrines of Sikh religion. It is situated about 48 kilometers from Rawalpindi and about 40 km from Attock City. The strikingly beautiful temple is made of white marble and its ambience never fails to captivate human minds towards the Creator Supreme. Its architecture is typical of the Sikh style, with guided domes and cupolas. Rising up from the middle of a holy pond, it has residential quarters for priests and pilgrims. It houses a stone on which has the miraculous imprint of Guru Nanak’s hand.
Twice a year, from all over the world the Sikhs Yatries come to this Gurdwara paying homage to Shri Guru Nanak and performing their religious rites. One of their rituals is to take bath in the pond the holy water of which passes inside the Gurdwara. The annual Beskhi Mela is held here every April.
Many thousands of faithful Sikhs from all over the globe visit this shrine. However, twice a year, during special celebrations, an enormous number of Sikh pilgrims attend this Gurdwara from every corner of the world. Special visas are allocated by the Pakistan government to cater for the increased demand.
The word “Panja” in Punjabi means an “outstretched palm” from the word “panj” which means “five”. Guru Nanak along with Bhai Mardana reached Hasan Abdal in Baisakh Samwat 1578 B.K. corresponding to 1521 A.D. in the summer season.
Sometime between the year 1510 and 1520 Guru Nanak is said to have travelled to the Arab lands visiting, among other places, Mecca and Baghdad. Some suggest that he even performed the hajj but there is no conclusive evidence of that. (To give the reader an idea of the time line, it was the time just before Babar’s invasion and the rule of the Mughals in India.) On the way back from his sojourn abroad Guru Nanak passed through Kabul and Peshawar and then, after crossing the Indus, halted at a small hamlet at the foot of a steep hill, short of the Margallas, where Hasan Abdal is located today.