City Faith – Gurudwara Damdama Sahib, Near Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
On this mildly cool afternoon the utterly peaceful world here at Gurudwara Damdama Sahib seems in perfect harmony with the creation. The air is filled with bird sounds, the tree leaves are trembling in the slow breeze and the sky is blue.
As one of Delhi’s historical gurudwaras, the modern building is not nearly as old as the history it commemorates, but the white marble edifice lends the temple a dignified sanctity. The gurudwara is situated in such close proximity to the ramparts of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb that it feels like a contemporary extension of that 16th century monument. Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station is only five minutes away by walk. Right now a local train is shunted on the tracks just across the lane from the gurudwara; its coaches are empty.
Comfortably seated on a bench in the gurudwara’s well-maintained garden—Sahibzada Baba Jujhar Singh Park—provides a cozy intimacy, as though you’re relaxing on the lawn of a friend.
Free langar food is served in the hall behind the main temple, but the lunch hour is well over. A young man sitting on the floor is polishing off dal chawal from his steel thali. While some distance away, a couple is spotted dishwashing as a voluntary karsewa service to the temple.
An elderly gentleman sits alongside the gurudwara’s principal prayer hall providing a fist full of halwa parsahd to devotees walking past. Just watching him serve so quietly evokes a curious sense of calm to weary spirits.
Inside, the worship hall is aglow in golden light, and with the holy book of Guru Granth Sahib lit up brightly by white lamps.
Elsewhere, a metal slab elucidating the gurudwara’s history points out that it’s a memorial centered around the meeting between the 10th Sikh guru and a Mughal emperor in 1707. “And even today refreshes the memory of the holy personality of Guru Gobind Singhji.”
A shrine steeped in history