the five takhts

Takht or Taḵẖata (Punjabi: ਤਖ਼ਤ), which literally means a throne or seat of authority, are the spiritual & temporal centre of Sikhism. There are five Takhts and these Takhts are five gurudwaras which have a very special significance for the Sikh community. The first and the most important one was established by Guru Hargobind in 1609. It is called ‘Akal Takht’ (the Throne of the Timeless God) and is situated just opposite the gate of Harmandir Sahib – The Golden Temple, Amritsar. While the Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, represents Sikh spiritual guidance, the Akal Takht symbolizes the dispensing of justice and temporal activity. It is the highest seat of temporal authority of the Khalsa and the seat of the Sikh religion’s earthly authority. Here the Guru held his court and decided matters of military strategy and political policy. Later on, the Sikh Nation (Sarbat Khalsa) took decisions here on matters of peace and war and settled disputes between the various Sikh groups. The Sarangi singers sung the ballads of the Sikh Gurus and warriors at this place and robes of honour (saropas) were awarded to persons who rendered distinguished services of the community of men in general.


Akal Takht accurately means the Eternal Throne. It is part of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. The Akal Takht is situated on the other end of the causeway connected to the Harmandir Sahib. The foundation was laid by Guru Hargobind. It was here that he was ceremonially installed as Guru in 1606. The building of the Akal Takht opposite the Golden Temple has a special meaning. Though the Golden Temple stands for spiritual guidance, the Akal Takht represents the dispensing of justice and temporal activity. The Guru Granth Sahib is kept in the Golden Temple during the day, while at night it is kept in the Akal Takht. It is said that all Sikh warriors would seek blessings here before going to battle. During the 18th century while Sikhs were fighting a guerrilla war in the forests they used to gather at the Akal Takht on special occasions such as Baisakhi and Diwali. Here the community used to have general meetings and approve resolutions. The Akal Takht was the oldest of the Five Takhts but was destroyed by the Indian Army during the military invasion in 1984. The reconstruction of this Takht is almost complete.


Takht Sri Patna Sahib is located in Patna, the capital of Bihar. Guru Gobind Singh was born here in the year 1666 and spent early years of his life before moving to Anandpur. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Patna was also privileged by many visits from Guru Nanak Dev Ji as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur. Some relics of the tenth Guru are also preserved in Patna Sahib. Among them is a pangura (cradle) with four stands covered with Golden plates. Guruji during his childhood used to sleep in this cradle. Moreover, four iron arrows, sacred sword of the Master and a pair of his sandals are also preserved.


Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib is the principle shrine in Anandpur Sahib. This is the historic site where, on the day of Baisakhi in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh initiated his followers into the order of the Khalsa. Legend maintains that the Guru requested those present to volunteer their heads to him. When five brave men, now known as the Panj Piare (five beloved), came forward to lay down their lives, the Guru instead baptised them with amrit (holy water). The Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, re-built in the 20th century, contains the sanctum sanctorum where the belongings of Guru Gobind Singh – a khanda, a dagger and several spears – are preserved.


Damdama Sahib is located in the village of Talwandi Sabo near Bhatinda. This is where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nearly a year and compiled the final edition of the Guru Granth Sahib known as the Damdama Sahib Bir in 1705. Literally, Damdama means a place to have a break and rest. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, adjoining the Darbar Sahib on the east, marks the site where Guru Gobind Singh held his daily assemblies during his stay.


Hazur Sahib is situated on the banks of River Godavari in Maharashtra. This is where Guru Gobind Singh left this world. The gurudwara within the complex is known as Sach-Khand. The inner room of the gurdwara is called the Angitha Sahiband is built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708. The gurdwara was built between 1832 and 1837 by order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji. The Takht houses both the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and the Sri Dasam Granth.