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Sikh Period: 1762-1849 A.D

By National Fund For Cultural Heritage

The Sikhs established their Empire in the Punjab after the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707. With the death of Aurangzeb the country saw a series of rapid governmental changes that stressed it in to the depths of anarchy. Taking advantage of this certain Charat Singh, who was the head of one of the Sikh Clans, established his stronghold in Gujranwala in 1763. Charat Singh died in 1774 and was succeeded by his son, Mahan Singh, who in turn fathered the most brilliant leader in the history of the Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh. History of the Punjab has yet to see as strong a Leader / Ruler as Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was this short statured man, addicted to strong drink, blind in one eye who united the Punjab under one flag. His rule stretched from the banks of the Jamuna to the Khyber and from Kashmir to Multan. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the most powerful of all the Sikh Rulers and ruled for over complete 40 years. After his death in 1840 the Sikh Empire was divided into small principalities looked after by several Sikh Jagirdars. This week situation provided a good opportunity to the British of East India Company to put an end to the Sikh strong hold in the Punjab in 1849.

Sikhs are the followers of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib. He was the son of Mehta Kalu Chand and Tripta Devi, both of them Khatris by caste. He was born at Nankana Sahib in 1464. Sikhism was born as a direct reaction against rigid, cruel and inhuman practices of Brahamanism and its rigid caste system. But another important factor which influenced the mind of the people who contributed to the growth of Sikhism, was the impact of Islam which had spread from Arabia to Iraq, Turkistan, Persia and Afghanistan and came in to contact with Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrians.

The Sikh religion is in fact a product of the Sufi and Bhakti school of thought. Guru Nanak was greatly influenced by Kabir and Shaikh Ibrahim Farid (1450 - 1535) a descendent of the famous Sufi saint Shaikh Fariduddin Shakarganj of Pak Pattan whose works were incorporated in the Garanth Sahib. Guru Nanak studied books of Hindu and Muslims religions and it was only after deep study of both the religions that he evolved his own school of thought. The basic principles of the Sikhism are much closer to Islam than to Hinduism. A study of the life, events of the Gurus and the large numbers of the monuments sacred to them will, however, reveal how deeply all the Sikh Gurus in general and Guru Nanak, Ajen Dev and Har Gobind Singh in particular are associated with Pakistan.

Sikh Gurus:

Guru Nanak Sahib (1464-1539 A.D), Guru Angad (1504-1522 A.D) , Guru Amar Das (1509-1574 A.D), Guru Ram Das (1534-1581 A.D), Guru Arjun Dev (1563-1606 A.D), Guru Har Gobind (1595-1645 A.D), Guru Har Rai (1631-1661 A.D), Guru Har Krishan (1656-1664 A.D), Guru Tegh Bahadur (1622-1675 A.D) , Guru Gobind Singh (1665-1708 A.D),

Sikh Shrines:

The Gurdwaras are more than a place of worship. They serve as Schools, meeting place and a rest house for the travelers in addition to enshrining the Garanth Sahib. The Gurdwaras are, as such, integral part of the Sikh religious and social life. Since the Sikh Rule lasted for almost a century in the Sub-continent there are hundreds of Gurdwaras all over Pakistan, some of which are very famous such as Nankana Sahib and Punja Sahib.

The legacy of our predecessors at the time of our independence, on August 14, 1947, came to us as a treasure which may be called as Pakistanís national heritage. So rich and diversified is this heritage that Pakistani nation can be proud of its glorious past, be Islamic, Post Islamic or pre-Islamic period as far back as pre-historic times. No other country of the world can produce the treasure of by gone days as can be found in Pakistan. It is now incumbent upon us to treasure our national heritage and save it from further deterioration and theft

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