Virasat-e-Khalsa is a tribute to great Sikh Gurus’ and it is a
spectacle lesson worth watching learning. Located right next to the historic Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur, Virasat-e-Khalsa chronicles the history of Sikhism based on the scriptures written by the tenth Guru, Sri Gobind Singh.
Virasat e Khalsa is a museum chronicling Sikh history and the building showcasing the history is as glorious as stories it tells. The museum was designed by Moshe Safdie, a renowned Israeli architect. In his own words, “a building cannot be experienced as independent of the land in which it is rooted“.
And nobody could have chosen a better place than Anandpur Sahib to pay tribute to Sikh Gurus’. The museum building is inspired from the historic Harmandir Sahib and the rich heritage of Anandpur Sahib. Guru Gobind formally established the Khalsa Panth (the brotherhood of the pure, beyond the bondage of caste divisions) here at Anandpur. Moreover, the divine doctrine of Miri and Piri (temporal authority and spiritual authority) was enunciated.
Vast water bodies, clean corridors and well manicured lawns set the stage for the galore that awaits inside. The museum begins with a peep into the lifestyle of Punjabis. Punjab simply translates into Punj Aab, Punj means five and Aab means water, thus meaning the land of five waters (rivers) namely Chenab, Jhelum, Satluj, Beas, Ravi.
This theme of the land of five rivers has been beautifully depicted in the huge wall murals as you step into the museum. Streams of water run down and in between them hundreds and thousands of pictures have been collaged adding up to one world- Punjab. Brightly painted trucks, food, domestic scenes, dances, religious places, milkmen, havelis, fields… Anything that you associate with Punjab you are bound to find it there.
A major portion of the museum is dedicated to Sikh gurus, their lives and teachings. Starting from Guru Nanak to Guru Granth Sahib. How each Guru came into being, their major teachings and what they did for the humanity.
It’s beautifully depicted by paintings and video clips how Sikhism started from a purely spiritual sect to be moulded by unavoidable circumstances into a spiritually oriented warrior clan with one motto- Sarbat da Bhala. It’s a wonderful medium to know about our past and the leaders who stood against atrocities of foreign invaders and led their people, spiritually and when nothing worked then took up the sword and fought till last blood.
All in all its a must visit place whether you are a Punjabi or not, whether you are spiritually oriented or not. The museum has got to offer something for each one. Those who are not familiar with Punjabi history and culture, it’s a good way to familiarise yourselves with it. The staff is helpful and audio tours in English, Hindi, and Punjabi are available.
Our journey to Keshgarh Sahib started from Chandigarh and we couldn’t have chosen a worse day. 22nd January turned out to be the coldest day of January 2015. Every time a speeding truck would pass by, I could hear my heart pounding against my chest. Cyclists are the new niggers of the highway world. Nobody acknowledges their existence and those who do, they only want a photograph clicked and ask stupid questions.
It took us six hours to reach Anandpur Sahib. Barring a few incidences, it turned out to be a decent ride. Although we almost gave up at Kiratpur Sahib, which is just 9km from Anandpur, but our coach Saurabh Sharma motivated us to march ahead.
We stayed at the Gurdwara sarai and that cost us a mere hundred rupees. The next morning was equally cold and the two of us decided to go back in a bus while Saurabh chose to go back the same way. He completed his return journey in just four hours.
85 kilometers in a matter of four hours on a hero hawk. This deserves to be some sort of a record.
The Legend of Guru Gobind Singh
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Sanatan Hindu society will always be indebted to Guru Gobind Singh. Under the persecuting regime of Aurangzeb, when Iftikhar Khan’s atrocities forced the Kashmiri Pandits to seek help from 9th Guru Teg Bahadur, 9 year old Gobind Rai naturally happened to ask his father, “why the latter was worried?”
The father responded by saying that the earth needs sacrifice of some braveheart, to which Govind said that who would be braver and worthier than his father. Those profound words of Gobind led Guru Teg Bahadur to appear in the court of Aurangzeb where he refused to convert to Islam, and was beheaded. The Sisganj Sahib Gurudwara stands tall today to tell the tale of that brutal beheading and the supreme sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur, which was inspired by those words of his son, who would later go on to become Guru Gobind Singh, and establish the Khalsa Panth for securing the Sanatan Dharma.
Panj-Pyaare and Panj-Kakaar still remain the symbols of reverence for the greater Sikh-Hindu society and the hearts of the pious and the patriot are still filled with gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice of Guru Gobind’s sons, Sahabzada Zoravar and Fateh Singh, who were buried in the wall by Islamic commander.
And the words of Guru Gobind Singh himself continue to reverberate and energize and inspire our souls – Deh Shiva Var Mohe Eehe Shubh Karman Se Kabhi Na Taroon (Bless me, O Lord Shiva, that I may never deflect from good deeds)
Guru Gobind Singh is fondly remembered as ‘Sarbans Daani‘, the one who sacrificed his all for the sake of humanity; including his mother, father, and four sons.
I have not words enough to express my gratitude for the great Guru Gobind Singh.