Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Dharmak Jatha Wadd (30 January, 2006)
Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Dharmak Jatha Wadda (GPS: 5.41076, 100.32769), also known as Diamond Jubilee Sikh Temple, Wadda Gurdwara Sahib or simply The Sikh Gurdwara, is a Sikh Temple along Brick Kiln Road in George Town, Penang. A gurdwara, which means "doorway to the guru", is the place of worship of those embracing the Sikh faith, and can be translated as a Sikh temple. Within a gurdwara one can find the Sikh holy book, called the Guru Granth Sahib, and a triangular orange flag, called the Nishan Sahib.
The Wadda Gurdwara in Penang was also called the Diamond Jubilee Sikh Temple, because the land on which it stands was given over to the Sikh community in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. When it was completed in 1899, the gurdwara was the largest in Southeast Asia. Funding for the project came from Sikh members of the Malay States Guides who each donated a month's salary.
According to a framed copy of the indenture certificate, the indenture of the Diamond Jubilee Sikh Temple was made on 22 March 1901. Sunder Singh, Gurdit Singh and Bhola Singh were made trustees of the land on which the gurdwara stands and any subsequent buildings to be erected there.
Visitors can visit the gurdward to see how prayers, called nitnam, are performed. One has to be up early though, as the prayers are conducted at 4am in the morning. In addition to the temple, the Sikh Gurdwara has a canteen which offers free meals any any visitors. There is also a religious school within the premises.
On the upper floor of the Sikh Gurdwara is the Darbar Sahib. This is the prayer hall of the temple. Visitors to the Darbar Sahib are instructed to wash and dry their feet before entering. Women who are having their monthly period are also prohibited from entering.
The Darbar Sahib is where the holy text is placed on a takhat, or throne. The holy text, called Guru Granth Sahib, comprises a collection of hymns extolling the virtues of god and the purpose of meditating on god's name. There are various etiquettes to observe within the Darbar Sahib, such as not to point your foot towards an object or person, or at the Guru Granth Sahib, as this is considered disrespectful.
In recognition of the contribution of the Sikh Community in Penang, Brick Kiln Road - originally named after the brick kilns that stand on the site of today's incinerators - was renamed Jalan Gurdwara.
Murals on the wall of the Sikh Gurdwara canteen (1 August, 2010)
How to go to the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib
The Wadda Gurdwara Sahib can be approached from the direction of Komtar. From Magazine Road, turn left into Jalan Gurdwara, and park along Jalan Gurdwara. The Wadda Gurdwara Sahib is located on the right side of the road.
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