Guru Nana Nankana Sahib [Road trip]

guru nanak nankana sahib

Guru Nanak Nankana Sahib is Sikh Guru’s birthplace town in Pakistan. There are several Sikh holy temples and sites around the town that are part of Sikh religious lore.

Here you’d find a Pakistani perspective on Baba Guru Nanak teachings, history, and origins in Nankana Sahib Pakistan. I’d also give you a rundown of how to get to Nankana Sahib as a pilgrim and what to expect there.

There is an account of my road trip to this holiest Sikh site in Pakistan, a very close second is Panja Sahib Gurdwara Hasanabdal and why I thoroughly enjoyed it.

First, let me start with the great man himself.

Baba Guru Nanak history

Baba Guru Nanak was born in Talvindi, now Nankana sahib Pakistan in 1469. He completely understood the concept of humanity that all religions preached, that is virtue, goodness, equality of man and woman, and freedom through the love of one God. 

Prophet Muhammad of Islam and Vedas of Hinduism has tried to teach suffering humans to have faith, brotherhood, and freedom through God’s worship – Guru Nanak said the same.

Where Baba Guru Nanak didn’t agree to the later day twisting of the pure humanity message of either of the religions, he digressed and quoted mystics and saints like Baba Farid of Pakpattan.

Baba Guru Nanak was a wandering mystic (see Tilla Jogian Gurdwara) who, along with his Muslim companion Bhai Mardana toiled to find the truth to end the suffering of humanity, like all loving and spiritual hearts do.

What are the key teachings of Baba Guru Nanak’s Sikhism.

  • There is no reincarnation or prophethood in Sikhism, just enlightened souls that serve humanity.
  • Sikh religion talks of direct access to God.
  • Sikhism has a monotheistic concept of God.
  • Sikh religion is about an active, creative, practical, and virtuous life.

Best Guru Nanak Quotes

  • “Whatever kind of seed is sown in a field, prepared in the correct season, a plant of the same kind, marked with peculiar qualities of the seed, springs up.”
  • “… nor I am of anycast”
  • “Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God”
  • “The production of children, nurture of those born, and the daily life of men, of these matters, a woman is visibly the cause”
  • “…we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings?”
  • “As fragrance abides in the flower, as reflection is within the mirror, so does your Lord abide within you – why search for him without?”
  • “There is but one God, his name is truth, he is the creator and he fears none, he is without hate and never dies”
  • “Impurity of the mind is greed and the impurity of the tongue is falsehood. The impurity of the gaze is to gaze upon the beauty of another man’s wife, and his wealth. The impurity of the ears is to listen to the slander of others. “
  • “Make compassion the cotton, contentment the thread, modesty the knot and truth the twist”

What is Baba Guru Nanak’s religion?

Quoting Guru Nanak Ji himself, “there is no Hindu, nor any Mussalman”. So, he was neither.

He ended his quest with three major teachings;

  • Naam Japo – Recite the one God’s name so that you stay focused; I take this to mean freedom from oppression.
  • Vand Shhako – Share and consume (eat) together, which I take means serving humanity, equality, and Brotherhood
  • Kirat Karo – Earn an honest living without exploiting the weak or fraud, which I gather means virtuous living۔

And it makes complete sense if you want to have a society that is worth living.

Guru Nanak’s birth and death;

Baba Guru Nanak Sahib was born on 15 April 1469 in Rai Bhai ke Talvindi town, renamed Nankana Sahib by the Muslim convert descendant Bhatti family of Rai Sahib.  He passed away on 22 September 1539 in Kirtarpura Sahib town, also in Pakistan now, at the age of 70

Till 1816, Guru Purabmashi or Guru Nanak’s birthday was celebrated in the month of April, but subsequently, it was shifted to full moon day of Kartik month of November, by the year 1868.

Guru Nanak’s Childhood stories

Baba Guru Nanak was the only son of merchant Bedi Hindu parents and legend through his devotees often quote the tale of a cobra shading the divine child from the summer heat.

Guru Nanak’s rise

The legend also says that he was always a very deep thinker in philosophical and humanity related issues and sometimes astonished his teaches with his wisdom, way beyond his age. His early teachers recorded his unprecedented understanding of basic concepts of humanity in religion that not very people do.

Even before being projected into the spotlight by a chance encounter with Babar the Mughal, Baba guru Nanak had a reputation of standing up to deceit, pretenses, pomp and show, and evil.

His incidence with Bahi Lalo of  Saidpur (Eminabad Gujranwala), where he preferred to lodge with a carpenter than a local unscrupulous town chief Malik Bhago is often repeated by his hagiographers.

It is said that when Babar ransacked Saidpur and slaughtered local Hindus and Muslim leaders, as per tradition in those times, Baba Guru Nanak was taken, prisoner.

 His ability to inspire his fellow prisoners through his humility, deep love of humanity and conviction, earned him a hearing from Babar himself. In the court, Baba Guru Ji convinced Babar to be more pluralistic in his dealings in India, if he wanted to last long. That’s exactly what Babar did and the freedom of religious practice during the Mughal reign lead to a new religion, Sikhism.

Did Guru Nanak start Sikhism as a new religion?

Baba Guru Nanak never intended to start a new religion, but his diaries of collection of best practices and teachings from Hinduism, Islam, and Sufism inspired his disciple Guru Angad to formalize the religion after his death.

Now the Hindus would love to claim Guru Nanak as theirs, citing that his son continued on the Hindu path, but that would be farthest from what the great Guru wanted to preach.

Just by emphasizing the oneness of God, the goodness of action, and serving humanity, an omnipresent force, combines the sects and faiths of the subcontinent present at that time.

The various sects of Hinduism, other religions are just a cheap way to acquire power and are not what the divinely inspired man wanted to tell us.

Now coming to Guru Nanak’s home in Nankana Sahib.

How far is Nankana Sahib from Islamabad?

So, I had to go to Talvindi town Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, 360 Kms from Islamabad on a 5 hours’ drive to see where the great mystic lived and learned from.

Here is the essential information about Nankana Sahib town;

Nankana Sahib is the birthplace and early childhood home of Baba Guru Nanak. Even today the main room is reserved for devotees to pray and remember their guru’s teachings.

Who else is from Nankana Sahib?

Not to be disrespectful, but quite a spectrum of characters have appeared out of Nankana Sahib, one is Babra Sharif and the other is Brigadier Ijaz, the spy man of Pakistan. This does show that intelligence and temerity is an inborn feature of people there.

How can I get to Nankana Sahib Pakistan?

  • First option is to Fly to Lahore International airport, then drive to Nankana sahib through ring road, take the Multan motorway M-3 and on Nankana Sahib interchange.
  • Second Option: Fly to Islamabad airport and take the M-2 motorway to Faisalabad interchange exit and drive through Shahkot town to Nankana.
  • Third Option: Fly to Faisalabad Airport then drive 66 km, 1.5 hours to Nankana Sahib.

Best way to get to Nankana sahib Pakistan and return too;

The best way to get to Nankana sahib would be to Land at Lahore Airport, book a rental car and drive to Nankana Sahib and stay at their hostel rooms and take the same way out of the country.

Is there a Baba Guru Nanak Durbar in Pakistan?

Not really, but there can be no greater Baba Guru Nanak Durbar than his birthplace, called Baba Guru Nanak Janam Asthan, and the place where he spent his last 18 years, Baba Guru Nanak Kirtarpura Sahib – both in Pakistan.

What is Baba Guru Nanak University of Pakistan?

The proposed Baba Guru Nanak University of Pakistan is located right outside the town center of Nankana Sahib. It is about four Kilometers from Janam Asthan of Baba Guru Nanak. The university’s amenities development world was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019, by spending Rs 1.0 Billion of cash strapped Pakistan kitty. He called it “and education institute is the best way to pay homage to Baba Guru Nanak Sahib”

Nankana Sahib town history

Nankana Sahib town was once Rai Bhai di Talwandi. His great-grand son, Rai Bular Bhatti named it Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara in Nankana Sahib District near Sheikhupura Pakistan

Baba Guru Nanak Ji Janam Asthan

Baba Guru Nanak was born here and spent 16 years of his childhood in this town.

It is called the Baba Guru Nanak Janam Asthan and was initially built by his followers built the Gurdwara in 1600 and was renovated by Ranjit Singh in 1819.

The Akali Sikh puritanical movement protest at Nankana Sahib in 1921 to take back reigns of Sikh teaching from Hindu Udasi Mahant clergy that monopolized Sikh preaching there, led to their massacre. But the Gurdwara was restored to Sikh and all the Gurdwara in Talvandi were being upgraded right up to the decade of 1940.

Then the disgraceful partition massacre of 1947 happened by the followers of great people who would have never let it happen in their lifetime.

Gurdwara in Nankana Sahib

As Gurdwara is normally built where Baba Guru Nanak stayed, preached, or medicated, naturally there are a total of seven Gurdwara in his birthplace.

The first one is the grand Gurdwara Janam Asthan.

The second is Gurdwara Bal Lilla was built by Koray Mall in 1752 and it was here that Baba Guru Nanak played with his childhood buddies.

Third, is Gurdwara Patti Sahib was where the Guru had his schooling.

Fourth is Gurdwara Kiara Sahib is where the Guru Nanak miracle of agricultural crops straightening out on their own took place. Earlier on the owner of the land had complained to the Guru’s father that his cattle had destroyed his crops. This temple was built in the 1930s.

The fifth is Gurdwara  Mal ji  Sahib 

Sixth is Gurdwara panjvein chatti patshahi built-in 1620 because the 6yh guru Har Gobind had visited the place. It is also aid the 5th Guru Arjan Dev also visited the place.

Seventh is Gurdwara Tamboo Sahib where Guru Ji hid from his infuriated father.

All these Sikh religious sites a within a mile of each other.

Where is Nankana Sahib Located in Pakistan?

Nankana Sahib town in Pakistan is located 75 km South-West of Lahore and 40 Kms South-West of Sheikhupura.  The Google Maps location pin of Nankana Sahib is placed here for your reference.

Is Nankana Sahib a District?

Nankana Sahib, once a part of the Sheikhupura district but since 2005 is a separate district now.

Nankana Sahib to Lahore route map

The total distance from Nankana Sahib town to Lahore ring road is 77 Kms on a dual carriage Lahore-Multan motorway.

Nankana Sahib to Wagah Atari Border map;

The total distance of Nankana Sahib from Wagah Atari Border of India is just 98 km and it will take you 1.5hrs to get there on a perfect dual carriage motorway road.

My Road travel to Baba Guru Nanak Birth place Nankana Sahib Pakistan

I took off early on a Saturday morning on a 5 hours journey on the M-2 motorway towards Nankana Sahib. I got off the exit ramp at Khanqah Dogran and drove to Salar Bhattian, took a sharp left, and then on to Farooqabad.

From Farooqabad I took a sharp right and drove all the way to Nankana Sahib.

The road was in very good condition, except maybe the last 15 minutes.

There is plenty to eat and drink on the way, so no need to take stuff with you.

I went straight to the end of the old town Nankana sahib that has been recently renovated. The roads are metaled now and the sewerage is working.

At the center of Nankana town is the Asthan Janam of Guru Nanak.

I got a great parking space near the Gurdwara and walked into the main compound.

Security there is very tight since some hired goons tried to bring Pakistan a bad name by indulging in stone-pelting there.

Looking at the peaceful atmosphere there, it’s very hard to believe anyone except a psycho would want to disturb someone else’s religious site.

Immediately entering the Gurdwara, I felt an environment that is different from any other religious site in Pakistan – I was welcomed.

Young, educated Sikh migrants from KhyberPakhtoonKhwa were centered on this complex, helping out in its daily functioning for visitors.

Right in front was a lush green lawn; on the right were offices and hostels for visitors. In the center of the hostels was the old administrative building of the Gurdwara complex, built in the arched designs that were typical of Mughal times.

On the left was the purification pond with fishes meandering about peacefully.

Straight ahead was the pure white Guru Nanak Janam Asthan Gurdwara with its several pointed minarets pointing skywards as if a testament to the oneness of God.

I dipped my bare feet in a shallow ablution pool at the doorsteps of the Gurdwara, wore a bandana like religious headcloth, and walked into the marble floor main courtyard.

The main courtyard has the old home of Guru Nanak preserved and there is the worship place beside it.

Sacred water well is still functional for devotees.

Several Sikh devotees were reciting their hymns and they didn’t let us come into the glass inner sanctum, but I had seen enough.

There is also a tree and monument to the sacrifices of the Akali Sikh who had wrestled control back from the oppressive Hindu Mahant Udasi clergy.

I went to the Langar to have some free food, but couldn’t get myself to eat a more deserved person’s meal.

The Sikh there were very humble and accommodating – I wonder why they left in the first place. Politics left to criminally minded rulers only divides and kills people.

I paid some tips to the helpers there and drove to see the other seven Gurdwara in the town.

Each one of them is being renovated and enhanced, to pay homage to the ultimate humanitarian Guru Nanak.

I then went to Golden Restaurant, which I am told is the one with the best food in Nankana Sahib and had Makhni mutton with tandoor waali roti – and got indigestion later that day.

The town is encircled with fencing and concertina wire like it is a military barrack.

I hope people in Pakistan realize that security comes from equality and justice, not building walls higher.

While driving back, I read about the great man and realized not everyone wants power, prestige, money, women, and fame. Sometimes, people are God sent just to lessen the pain and suffering of this meaningless existence – Guru Nanak Ji was just that kind of person.

I also realized, the Sikh Guru was more Pakistani than Indian.

If you have any point to make, please do comment below and share my account on your social media.

Thanks for reading.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *