Sikh Pilgrimage
 
Poanta Sahib

Paonta Sahib, a city sacred to the memory of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, is also a bustling township with growing industries. It retains tangibly memorials to the martial Guru in the form of his weapons and a majestic Gurudwara and recalls his presence even in the name of the city which is derived from "paon" meaning "foot" either because he set foot in this place or according to an alternative story, because he lost an ornament which he wore on his foot called a "paonta" while bathing in the river Yamuna which flows here.

Overlooking the river is the Gurudwara where Guru Gobind Singh held court and wrote the major portion of the "Dassam Granth". The Guru also built the Paonta Fort in over hundred acres of land, which housed not only his followers, but as many as 46 famous poets. Regular poetry reading sessions and symposiums were organised to encourage the sort form. The guru left Paonta Sahib after the battle of Bhangani with Raja Fateh Shah, in which he defeated the errant ruler's army after thirty days of battle.


Surrounded by a sal forest and on the banks of river Yamuna, the historic town of Paonta Sahib (350m) was founded by a tenth sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. When only 16 years old, the Guru left Anandpur Sahib and on the invitation of Raja Maidini Prakash of Sirmour, lived at this beautiful spot for over four years. The historic gurudwara commemorates his stay and interestingly the water of the Yamuna fall silent below this- which happened at the Guru's behest. The old 'Paonta' means 'Space for a foothold'.

Climate

In winter, the temperature can hover around freezing point when heavy woollens are required. Summer temperature are high and cottons are recommended.

How to Get There

Paonta Sahib is connected by road. From paontasahibji it is 81 km via Nahan and 60 km via Rajban. From Dehradun, it is 44 km. The closest railheads are at Ambala and Dehradun. The nearest airports are at Chandigarh and Dehradun. Taxis/buses are available for Paonta Sahib at all places.

ADVENTURE AND FISHING

The most popular trek in the area is to the 3,647m high Choordhar - which poetically translates as the "Mountain of the silver bangle". HPTDC also organises Trekking Package from its Marketing Office, Chandigarh. Tel.No. 91-172-708569, Fax No. 91-172-708569.

Fishing is possible on the Giri and Yamuna rivers near Paonta Sahib.

Places to Visit

GURUDWARA PAONTA SAHIB

This site was Guru Gobind Singh's home for over four years and it was here that he wrote the Dasam Granth. Within its precincts are the Sri Tlab Asthan where he disbursed salaries and the Sri Dastar Asthan were he judged the turban -tying competitions. At the Kavi Darbar Asthan poetic symposia were held. There is also a memorial to Kalpi Rishi and a museum that displays pens of the Guru and weapons of the time.

YAMUNA TEMPLE

This ancient shrine is immediately below the gurudwara and is dedicated to the goddess Yamuna.

GURUDWARA TIRGARH SAHIB (22 km)

This is built on the hillock from where Guru Gobind Singh shot arrows at the enemy.

GURUDWARA BHANGANI SAHIB (23 km)

This commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's first battle when he defeated Raja Fateh Sahib and his allies..

SHIVA TEMPLE, PATLIAN (4.5 km)

Surrounded by fields and sal trees, the linga in this temple is supposed to be steadily increasing in size.

SHRINE OF BABA GARIB NATH (8 km)

Located in a sal forest and with an excellent view of the area, the shrine is revered by childless women.

RAM TEMPLE

Within Paonta Sahib and also known as the 'Mandir Shri Dei Ji Sahiba, this is located near the Yamuna bridge. With exquisite marble work, this was built in 1889 in memory of Raja Partap Chand of Kangra by his wife who originally belonged to Sirmour. The Kirpal Dass Gurudwara is just part of the temple.

GURUDWARA SHERGARH SAHIB (12 km)

At this spot Guru Gobind Singh beheaded a dangerous man-eating tiger with a single swipe of this sword.

SIMBALWARA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

12 km off the main Paonta Sahib Nahan road, this is known for a variety of bird life.

SIRMOUR (16 km)

Here are the remains of the old capital of the princely state of Sirmour. The town is said to have been destroyed by flood in the 11th century, when it was cursed by a dancing girl.

NAGNAUNA TEMPLE (16 km)

Built in a hollow near the village of Puruwallia, this temple is closely allied with the legend of Sirmour's erstwhile ruling house.

KATASAN DEVI TEMPLE (30 km)

Also known as Uttam Wala Bara Ban, this is on the Paonta Sahib-Nahan road. The Shrine is revered by local people. At this spot, the forces of Sirmour defeated the maruding armies of Ghulam Qadir Khan Rohiolla.

NAHAN (45 km)

Built in a series of interlocking circles, this charming town was funded by Raja Karan Prakash of Sirmour in 1621. It has numerous pleasing walks, several temples, a gurudwara and interesting architecture - including many old places.

 
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