Guru Ka Tal is a historical Sikh pilgrimage site located in the Sikandra district of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. It is dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru, who was a son of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru of the Sikh religion. My visit to Gurdwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib in Gwalior a week earlier had sparked an interest in visiting more Sikh sites, and this location is only a short distance from Akbar’s Tomb.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was born in Amritsar on 1st April 1621, and was originally named Tyaga Mal. He became known as Tegh Bahadur (‘Mighty of the Sword’) after his father Guru Hargobind gave him that name after a battle against the Mughals where he demonstrated great valour. In his youth he was taught the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads as well as being trained in archery and horsemanship. There’s a very long and detailed Wikipedia entry for Guru Tegh Bahadur which is well worth reading if you want to know more about his life.
The present building is relatively new, having been constructed in the 1970s, but the site dates back to 1610 when there used to be a Taal (reservoir) here for collecting and conserving rainwater during Jahangir’s reign.
It is on this spot that Guru Tegh Bahadur offered voluntary arrest to the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. He refused to convert to Islam, and was beheaded in Delhi on 11th November 1675. Today he is remembered for giving up his life for freedom of religion, reminding all religious faiths in India to follow and practice their beliefs without fear of persecution and forced conversions.
My experience here was very similar to that I had at Gurdwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib in Gwalior. It’s an immensely peaceful place, and everyone there was so kind and friendly in helping me navigate the site, this was after all only the second Sikh place I think I have ever visited. In fact, my experiences at both here and in Gwalior has inspired me to possibly head to Amritsar soon, I’ve yet to experience the Punjab and I think it’s about time I rectified that.
If you decide to visit here be sure to cross the road and pay a quick visit to Kafur’s Mosque and the mysterious stone horse.
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