When Visiting a Gurdwara

All visitors to a Sikh Gurdwara are welcomed, but should be aware of the following guidelines when visiting. Please dress appropriately so that you can comfortably and with decency sit on the carpeted floor. Consumption or possessing tobacco, liquor or intoxicants is strictly forbidden on the Gurdwara premises.

About the Worship Service
The singing that you will hear inside the Gurdwara is the recitation of hymns written inside the Guru Granth Sahib. The Granth Sahib contains 1,430 pages and was first compiled by the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. In addition to the writings of the Gurus, it also contains the spiritual writings of saints, both Hindu and Muslim, who lived at the time of the Gurus or before them. All of the compilations are in poetic form and most are set to music (ragas).

The usual service in the Gudwara consists of Kirtan, the singing of the holy hymns; Katha, the reading of the hymns followed by their explanation; Singing of 6 verses of Anand Sahib, Ardas, prayer, and Vak or Hukam, random reading of one hymn from Guru Granth Sahib. This is the Guru’s message or “Order” of the day to the Sangat. Upon completion of the Hukam, Karah Parshad (sweet pudding made of wheat flour, clarified butter and sugar) is distributed. Then Langar, vegetarian food from the Guru’s kitchen is served. Other details below:

Before Entering Darbar Sahib (Prayer Hall)

    • Remove your shoes and put them in the shoe racks. You can use the shoe rack on either side of the Entrance.
    • Wash your hands. Wash basins are located in the Entrance area
    • Cover your head at all times as a sign of respect for the Guru Granth Sahib. Visitors without a proper head covering can borrow scarves or handkerchiefs, provided by the Gurdwara.

Inside the Darbar Sahib (Prayer Hall)

    • Bow in front of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Scripture). Non-Sikhs are NOT expected to bow, but please join the congregation.
    • Sit comfortably and peacefully, the cross-legged position on the carpeted floor is commonly used as a sign of equality, but do not point your feet in the direction of the Guru Granth Sahib.
    • Men sit on one side, women on the other…..this is traditional, not required by the Sikh religion. If you cannot sit on the floor, please take a chair located at the back of the Prayer Hall.

Prayer Service

    • Preacher (Granthi) will read from the Guru Granth Sahib.
    • Raagi’s sing hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib.
    • Religious prayer known as Anand Sahib, then Ardas (Prayer) when everyone stands up
    • After Ardas everyone sits down and Hukamnama (Daily Hymn from Guru Granth Sahib) is read. Karah Parshad is then distributed to the Sangat (this is a sweet pudding made of flour, sugar and clarified butter that is offered as ceremonial food).

Langar Hall (Dining Area)

    • Please keep your head covered while in the Langar Hall.
    • Langar (vegetarian food from the communal kitchen) is offered on Friday evenings and Sunday (morning and afternoon).
    • In the Langar Hall, please sit on the floor on the carpet rows on the floor. As soon as you sit down, sewadar will serve you food.
    • Langar is regarded as a blessing by the Guru.