Sikhism Coursework - Describe and explain the main features of a Gurdwara.

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Gurpal Gahir 11M

Sikhism Coursework

a) Describe and explain the main features of a Gurdwara

The Gurdwara is the Sikh place of worship. Gurdwara means 'the Guru's door' thus it is God's house. The Gurdwara is a place where all people are welcome as it is God’s house.

The Gurdwara is also a community centre and many events take place there; such as Punjabi lessons for young people. Outside the Gurdwara building, there is a flag called the Nishan Sahib. It is orange with the Sikh symbol on it (the khanda). The Nishan Sahib is replaced each year during the festival of Baisakhi. The main title of the Nishan Sahib is to show that the building it surrounds is a Sikh place of worship.  

The most important thing in the Gurdwara is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji  (the Sikh Holy book). This holy book is treated with the respect of a living Guru, as Sikhs believe it has the Guru's spirit within it. It is placed on a platform to show respect. This is where a human Guru would stand so that more people could see and hear him. It is also fanned with a Chauri, made of feathers or yak's hair, as this is what would have happened in India to the Guru. It shows respect and that the Guru Granth Sahib is given the same treatment as a human Guru.

The Guru Granth Sahib is kept in the Diwan Hall by day. Diwan Hall means 'Royal Court'. The Diwan Hall is the prayer hall and is in two parts - one for the men and one for the women and children. This is a social custom, as Sikhism teaches equality and therefore men and women shouldn't be separate. Everybody sits on the floor, to show the Sikh belief in equality.

There is a box for offerings. People can give either food, money or flowers. The flowers go round the Takht, the food goes to the Langar and the money goes toward the upkeep of the Gurdwara. This makes the Gurdwara belong to the people and gets them involved with it.

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Before going to the Gurdwara, most Sikhs shower or bath but there are sinks in the washing area so people can wash their hands. This shows respect and also cleanliness, another important part of Sikhism. Shoes are also removed prior to entering the Diwan Hall. This is for two reasons, most importantly to show respect for the Guru Granth Sahib and also to keep the carpets clean.

All Gurdwaras have a cooking and eating area. The Langar is a very important part of Sikhism. It is an honour to prepare the meal as it demonstrates Sewa (service to others), a ...

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