Welcome to Gurudwara (the name given to the Sikh’s place of worship). The term Gurudwara literally means “the door” or “the gate way to the Guru”. It is a place where the Guru Granth Sahib (our “holy Scripture”) is present. It is open to every one regardless of age, sex, caste, or creed and is the centre for congregational worship of Sikhism. It also plays a socio-economic role in the Sikh community; attached to every Gurudwara is a free kitchen where the Langar is prepared and served.
This section is prepared for the benefit of the first time visitor to the Gurudwara. We hope this explanation of etiquette and protocol outlined below is helpful to you.
This pattern of worship consists of:
- Kirtan, the singing of the hymns on instruments (generally Harmonium and Tabla).
- Katha /GurbaniVichar, the reading of the Holy Hymns followed by explanation or a sermon or talk appropriate for the occasion.
- Ardaas, the congregational prayer at the end.
The following etiquette should be observed in the Gurudwara:
Before entering the hall
- Take off your shoes
- Wash your hands
- Cover your head
- Think of the Guru
Upon entering the hall (where the Guru Granth Sabih is present)
- Fold both your hands and walk slowly.
- Bow humbly and touch your forehead to the ground out of respect for the
Guru Granth Sahib.
- As you bow, place your offering respectfully before the Guru, it may be money, a flower, or a word of thanks. Any sincere expression of gratitude is equally acceptable to the Guru.
- After bowing and offering, sit in the “Sangat” (the congregation) quietly without disturbing others.
- Usually men sit on one side and women on the other side.
- Sit comfortably and peacefully, the cross legged position is commonly used, but do not point your feet in the direction of the
Guru Granth Sahib.
- Do not talk or chew gum.
The usual sequence of events (service) in the Gurudwara is:
- Kirtan : The singing of the Holy Hymns - Gurbani.
- Katha /GurbaniVichar: The reading of the Holy Hymns followed by explanation or a sermon or talk appropriate for the occasion.
- Recitation portions of a scripture the “Anand Sahib”.
- "The Ardaas"
To join in the Ardaas.
- Stand straight with folded hands and think of the Guru.
- Sing together“Too Thakur Tum Peh Ardaas”
- After the Ardaas, continue standing, and sing, “Aage--aa bha-ee Akal kee, Tabhee Chala-io Panth”.
- The Ardaas concludes with the Jaikara. “Boley So Neehal.......Sat sri Akal”.
- The sit quietly. The person sitting behind the Guru Granth Sahih will read theHukam, the Guru’s message or “Order” to the
- Upon completion of the Hukam, Karah Parsad is distributed to the Sangat. (This is a sweet pudding made of flour, sugar and clarified butter that is offered as ceremonial food.)
- Finally Langar (food from the Guru’s kitchen) may be served.