Guru Har Rai's Visit To Kashmir ~ An Historic Analysis

Guru ji also started a large dispensary. The poor were cured of many ailments by giving medicine to the sick....

     Guru Har Rai Sahib (1630-1661) was a man of good heart, benevolent and devoted disposition, but he had a fine incarnation of strength and tenderness. Guru Hargobind Sahib loved this grandson the most and the name 'Har Rai' was given by Guru Hargobind Sahib himself.

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   (Guru) Har Rai Sahib received his early education from his family and also became proficient in armor training. From time to time, it became part of Dhirmal's nature to conspire with enemies. In those turbulent times (Guru) Har Rai Sahib had proved himself worthy of the leadership of the Sikh community. Guru Har Rai's love for flowers was deep and intense. Once Guru Sahib was walking in his garden in Kartarpur (Jalandhar) when some flowers fell down with his open robe. The falling of beautiful flowers became unbearable for Guru Sahib. Guru ji also started a large dispensary. The poor were cured of many ailments by giving medicine to the sick. Guru Sahib thus made special arrangements for the public welfare works for healing. Guru Sahib himself used to grow many herbs in his garden and bring valuable and rare medicines from far away and keep them in his pharmacy. Once prince Dara Shikoh was cured in a few days and afterwards became a disciple of Gurughar.

     Har Rai Sahib's missionary journey to the western Punjab was from 1659 to 1660 CE. Guru Sahib stayed in Jalalpur Jattan village from July to October 1659. Guru Sahib used to decorate the Diwan daily and mature the sangat with Gurbani. Guru Sahib stayed with Bhai Sabla Masand in Jalalpur Jattan. Guru Sahib and the Sikhs were served wholeheartedly by Bhai Sabla (Masand), his wife Bibi Soma and son Bakhtmal. Guru Sahib stayed in this village during the rainy season. From Jalalpur Jattan village, Bhai Padma Chauhan took Guru ji to his village Daburji (Sialkot district). For some days Guru Sahib continued preaching in this village. From here Bhai Kirtia took Guru Sahib to his home in Galotian Khurd (Tehsil Daska, District Sialkot). From December to February 1660, during winter season, Guru ji remained with Bhai Kirtiya. Living in Galatian, Guru Sahib continued to propagate the ideology of Guru Nanak Sahib and converted many to Sikhism. From March 28 to April 1660, Guru Sahib stayed in the city of Sialkot. Here Guru Sahib's devotee Bhai Nand Lal Puri (grandfather Veer Haqiqat Rai Shaheed) and his wife, two children Bhai Bhag Mall and Bagh Mall served wholeheartedly. Guru Sahib, while giving the gift of Sikhism to Nand Lal Puri, had said not to wear a hat and not to use tobacco.

   In mid-April 1660, Bhai Makhan Shah Vanjara (Lobana) also came to Sialkot with his tanda. He requested Guru Sahib to visit the Sikh Sangats of Srinagar (Kashmir). Guru Sahib granted his request and set off for Srinagar with his tanda along with Sikhs like Bhai Makhu Chand etc. Guru Har Rai's visit to Kashmir is also mentioned in Bhatt Wahi Talaunda, Pargana Jind.

ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ ਜੀ ਮਹਿਲ ਸਤਮਾਂ ਬੇਟਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਗੁਰਦਿਤਾ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਸੰਮਤ ਸਤਰਾਂ ਸੈ ਸਤਾਰਾਂ, ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾ ਪਖੇ ਜੇਠ ਮਾਸ ਕੀ ਪੰਚਮੀ ਕੇ ਦਿਹੁੰ ਸ੍ਰੀਨਗਰ ਆਏ। ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ਼ ਮੇਂ, ਗੈਲੇ ਮੱਖਨ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਆਇਆ ਬੇਟਾ ਦਾਸੇ ਕਾ, ਪੋਤਾ ਬਿੰਨੇ ਕਾ, ਨਾਤੇ ਬਹੋੜੂ ਕੇ, ਬੰਸ ਸਾਊਨ ਕੀ, ਪੋਲੀਆ ਗੋਤਰ ਬਨਜਾਰਾ....।

ਗੈਲ ਮਖੂਚੰਦ ਆਇਆ, ਚੇਲਾ ਅਲਮਸਤ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਪੋਤਾ ਗੁਰਦਿਤਾ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਪੜਪੋਤਾ ਚਲਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਚੰਦ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਨਾਦੀ ਬੰਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀ ਕੀ, ਹੋਰ ਸਿੱਖ ਫਕੀਰ ਆਏ, ਮੱਖਨ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਕੇ ਟਾਂਡੇ ਮੇਂ ਚਾਰ ਮਾਸ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ ਰਹੇ।”.Guru ji arrived Srinagar via Khadniyar, Baramulla. 

    Arriving in Srinagar, Guru Har Rai Sahib was warmly welcomed by the Sikh community and especially by Bhai Dasa (Father of Makhan Shah), Bhai Aruram (Father of Bhai Kirpa Ram), Bhai Madho Das Sodhi, Bhai Sevadas and Bhai Ramgarhia etc. Guru Har Rai Sahib visited the areas around Srinagar and then Mattan Sahib where Guru Nanak Sahib first took his blessed steps. Guru Sahib stayed in Kashmir for a full four months. It may be recalled that Guru Sahib reached Kashmir on April 20, 1660. Guru Sahib stayed with a low caste Brahmin near Hari Parbat where Gursikhs like Bhai Seva Das, Bhai Madho Sodhi, Bhai Ramgarhia  preached Sikhism extensively in Kashmir.  The Chai Guru Har Rai Gurdwara was later built near Hari Parbat where Guru Sahib stayed. This place was earlier called 'Satguru Devi Angan, Haq Bazar'. Further details of this shrine and lands associated with Gurdwara are found in the Persian manuscript Dastur al-Amla (mistakenly called Tarikh Kalan) which was traced by the author at Punjab Archives Patiala. 

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     During the Sikh rule, the granthi of this Gurdwara was S. Diwan Singh. This historical site had a jagir of 248 kanals of land both irrigated and unirrigated. It was here that a well was keenly associated with Guru Har Rai, due to which the Gurdwara was called 'Chai Guru Har Rai Sahib'. Due to the negligence of Kashmiri Sikhs, this Gurdwara has disappeared during dogra rule. When S. Hari Singh Nalwa, became the Governor of Kashmir, he went to offer Ardas in this Gurdwara of Devi Angan. Then he fixed a jagir of land and Rs. 360/- with this Gurdwara. He appointed S. Hari Singh resident of Haq bazar Devi Angan as the muntazim of this place. The old testimonials were preserved with Munshi Sant Singh law, on which 24 Asu, 1878 Bikrami date was written. The Bir of Guru Granth Sahib is one of a kind written with Kashmiri ink with beautiful calligraphy that dates back to around 200 years old. Jathedar Lachhman Singh brought this bir, being very old, handover to the museum of central Khalsa Orphanage, chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar where it is still kept with proper care and treatment.

  In those circumstances, two merchants Bhawani Rai and Ghumani Rai came from Hoshiarpur (Punjab) and settled in Srinagar. Later on, S. Narian Singh and S. Attar Singh through court orders got their share (8 Kanals and 10 marlas) and chai (well) of Guru Har Rai gone as a share to S. Attar Singh. Main Gurdwara went to Karim Chand as share. In 1947, Karim Chand Sold the land of Gurdwara to one Abdul Guffar and went to Punjab.  After 1931 C.E., British Govt. sent Glancy Mission to investigate among other things, the Religious Jagirs etc. of the Sikhs under the Governorship of Attar Singh, a committee submitted its report as under:

GURDWARA SRI GURU HAR RAI JI HARI PARBAT:

1.Remarks of the Tehsildar:

        No record is available,

2. Remarks of the Governor: It is evident from the old testimonials as produced by the Sikhs that they got Rs. 360/-(At this time equal to Rs. 224/-) as free of cost, the revenue of Muzza Kawodrang Tehsil Kulgam, which should be given to them today also. In Spite of it, a Patshahi bagh of Gurdwara was also associated which is still under the department of Agriculture's captivity (Near Lal Mandi where an agriculture garden is located). “

        During Sikh reign, the jagirs granted to Kashmiri Sikhs were confiscated by the Dogra rulers. In this way the Jagirs associated with Gurdwara were also confiscated. Sikhs were drawn out from the Sringar city and Sikhs sheltered themselves in forests and far-flung villages. In this way a number of Granthis (priests) of Gurdwaras also went away leaving Gurdwaras behind. This Gurdwara was demolished during Dogra rule, due to maintenance and negligence of the Sikh community. This place was also used as a residential space by Bhai Ramgarhia, Bhai Madho Sodhi who were sent by Guru Amardas and Guru Arjan Dev respectively for the parchar in the mountainous regions of Kashmir.

   Guru Sahib was still in Srinagar when news came that Bhai Dasa, the father of Makhan Shah Vanjara, had passed away. Guru Sahib went to his village Mota Tanda for consolidation. Guru Sahib stayed here for a few days and then left for Akhnoor. Guru Har Rai Sahib moved to Akhnoor in the third week of August 1660. After trekking up the hilly and forest areas, Guru Sahib reached the city of Jammu.

    In Jammu, Bhai Kanha Masand along with Sikh community received Guru Sahib with great devotion and spirit. From Jammu, Guru Sahib reached Pathankot via Ramgarh, Khirri and Samba. Here Guru Sahib encamped on a high mound, Where the grief of a poor mother's son was removed. Guru Sahib stayed in Pathankot for two days and continued to bless people with Gurbani. From here Guru Sahib walked towards Kiratpur Sahib.

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