Sikhism was formed over 500 years ago, and today has over 20 million followers. It was founded by Guru Nanak in what is now the Punjab state in North India. After him followed nine more Gurus’, believed to have possessed the same spirit as Nanak.

Guru Nanak was born in 1469 to a simple Hindu family. He spent his adolescence as a cattle herder, and would spend hours in meditation and religious discussions. Later in his life, Nanak was bathing by the river Bain, he fell in and was presumed drowned. Three days later he reappeared and said that God had come to him, and enlightened him. He then undertook long journeys to convey what he had learnt from God.

Sikhs believe that there is only one God, this God is formless and genderless and everybody has direct access to God and is equal before God. Sikhs hold no value in religious rituals or superstitions; believing such things to be empty. A good life is lived as part of a community, caring for others and being true to oneself. Like some other Indian religions, Sikhs believe in karma and rebirth.

Golden temple with Sikh guard

The followers of Sikhism have three duties that they must carry out. Number one is Nam Japna, which means keeping God in your mind at all times. Number two is the Kint Karna, which means living honestly, and avoiding things such as crime, gambling, drinking alcohol, smoking and begging. Lastly, Vand Chhakna, which means to give to charity and care for others. Sikhs also have five vices they must try to avoid: lust, greed, anger, pride and attachment to material items. If they can overcome these temptations then they are on the truth path to liberation.

The main place of worship is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. The Guru Granth Sahib is kept here. Each night there is a ceremony where the holy book is moved from the main shrine to the sanctum. Over 100,000 worshippers visit this Gurdwara daily. It is a beautiful site to see, a bejeweled golden temple in the middle of a man-made lake, surrounded by white marble walls. They also have a huge kitchen here, run by volunteers feeding up to 40,000 people a day, for free!

Sikhism is a fascinating religion, if you’d like to learn more about it or visit the majestic Golden Temple then come and join us on one of our unique and eye-opening tours! Some of our current tours that experience a visit to the Golden Temple are Northern Exposure and Living the Ayurvedic Way North.

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