Five Holy Sarovars of Amritsar
Many sacred Sikh shrines can be found in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Of particular importance are the five sacred pools in this city. These are called sarovars and it is the practice of some Sikhs to have a dip in all five of these holy pools. The ritual, apart from being good exercise, acquaints one with the importance of these five sites.
The five holy Sarovars are:
Amritsar (1586) (the name is now used more to refer to the city rather then the sarovar)
Bibeksar (1628) This sarovar is located to south/south-east of the most important landmark for the Sikhs, the Harimandir Sahib.
Amritsar : Amritsar (literally “pool of nectar”) was originally called Ramdaspur – Guru Ramdas’s City (literally the City of God’s Servant). This is now the name of a district and a Sikh holy city located in the northern Indian state of Punjab, in which the Harimandir Sahib complex is located. This is the current principal holy city of the Sikhs and is the headquarters of the district (Amritsar) in the Punjab.
Santokhsar : Gurudwara Santokhsar Sahib is an historical sikh shrine, situated at distance of 700 Meters from Harimandir Sahib. This is one of the five historical sarovers constructed by Guru Arjun Dev. When Guru Ram Das, had not yet ascended to the gaddi, he came here to find out a place for excavation of the holy tank on instructions from Guru Amar Das. When Guru Ram Das was getting the place dug, he found a Yogi, meditating.
Ramsar : Gurudwara Ramsar stands alongside the Ramsar sarovar, the smallest of Amritsar’s five holy sarovars. Located near Chativind Gate, on the south-eastern side of the walled city of Amritsar, the present Gurudwara Ramsar is a small marble-lined hall topped by a gilded, fluted lotus dome.
It was built in 1855 at the site of the original shrine, where long before the present Gurudwara was constructed, Guru Arjun Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru who was looking for a quiet spot away from the growing city of Amritsar, chose this site as the spot where the Guru Granth Sahib would take form.
It was the year 1603, after the completion of the Harimandir Sahib in 1601, that the beloved Guru choose this once secluded, shady spot, about 1km away from the bustle of the town growing around the Harmandar Sahib, that the Guru set about collecting the hymns of the first four Gurus, Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das.
Kaulsar : This is the Sarovar or pool next to the Gurudwara Mata Kaulan near Gurudwara Baba Atal in Amritsar, Punjab next to the main Darbar Sahib at Harmandar Sahib. It is named after a holy lady who was raised as a Muslim called Bibi Kaulan, the adopted (possibly Hindu) daughter of the Qazi of Lahore.
She was a highly spiritual woman who was above religious divides and took refuge with the sixth master Guru Hargobind Ji at Amritsar (1606-1645). The samadh of this lady, who is called Mata Kaulan lies at the western end of the Kaulsar Gurudwara.
The significance of Gurudwara Mata Kaulan and Kaulsar sarovar could be adjudged from the fact that Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, had directed the devotees to take a dip in the Sarovar Kaulsar before the Golden Temple sarovar. (sakhi to this effect is written right outside the entrance of Gurudwara Bibi Kaulan, adjacent to Darbar Sahib).
Bibeksar : Bibeksar (built: 1628) This sarovar is located to south/south-east of the most important landmark for the Sikhs, Harimandir Sahib in the city of Amritsar. Gurudwara Bibeksar Sahib is situated on the banks of the Bibeksar Sarovar.
The sarovar was built by Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh guru, and the present beautiful Gurudwara was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The two ancient villages of Chatiwind and Sultanwind borders the Gurudwara.
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