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Thursday, 30 April 2015

A Biking Ride to Explore Gurdwara Siri Sandhawalia

A Biking Ride to Explore Gurdwara Siri Sandhawalia
This Gurdawara is located 14 kilometer from Jalo Mor Lahore in borderly village of Sandhawalia. From Jalo Mor one has to cross BRB Canal and turn right on GT road Burki road link and will reach Manhala village. From Manahala you have to move forward on Chappa village road, from Chappa one has to track Nawar Khwaja Faiq road and will reach Sandhawalia village in 90 minutes


Let’s explore its historical background … Before Raja Ranjit Singh in late 18th century, frequent invasions by Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Durrani Empire led to a lack of governance in the Punjab region. During thirty years following the final departure of Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Sikhs were left to themselves and increased in wealth and numbers. They gradually divided themselves into independent misls, under the command of hereditary chieftains, having a common place of meeting at Amritsar. Lahore, meanwhile, was portioned out amongst a triumvirate of Sikh chieftains, named, respectively, Gujjar SinghLehna Singh and Sobha Singh, who are spoken of to this day as the Three Hakims. The three chieftains split the city's revenue. For almost thirty long years Gujjar Singh along with Lehna Singh and Sobha Singh, ruled supreme and kept paying the Afghan invader and his offspring an annual sum to keep them at bay.

Most of the borderly villages of Lahore, Attari, Nawar, Sandhawalia, Thaypur, Jevan Singh and Padana once were majorly populated by Sikhs; now one can only see glimpse of great Sikh architectures and religious buildings in the area. Thaypur is one of the borderly villages of Lahore which is hardly 2 and half kilometer from Sandhawalia and less than one kilometer from border has significant part in Sikh history.

Lehna Singh the Sikh chieftains play an important role in shaping the history of Punjab. He arrived at Thay Pur, from Kalkey Kasur where he made an army of his own, and captured all the land from here till Rawalpindi. At that time Pindi was a small town, and he constructed large buildings here. It was also made the capital of his empire. He died in 1804, handing over his kingdom to his son, who later handed it over to Ranjit Singh and became his ally.  

Ranjit Singh's biggest oversight was, perhaps, his inability to have fully prepared any of his sons to take over his kingdom and to be fatally unaware of the treachery afoot in his court in his last few years. When Ranjit Singh died, Kharak Singh, his eldest son became Maharaja. Kharak Singh was 50 years old at this time

Khrak Singh was poisoned by Dogras brothers and after his death his son Naunihal Singh named for Mahraja. Naunihal Singh came back to Lahore to fulfill his duty to cremate the body of his father. As he entered the fort his the funeral procession was already underway. After the last prayers were said he was able to light the pyre of sandalwood. Returning from the cremation, as the group aproached the fort (he and Udham Singh were well ahead now, as the Dogras, with the other Nobles behind them, had lagged behind. Suddenly, just as the new Maharaja and Udham Singh Dogra reached the archway of the old Hazuri Bagh gate; the gate crashed down upon them. Two days later Naunihal Singh had died due to complications of his injury

With yet more deaths of the Royal Family to come Dhyan Singh Dogra now proclaimed another son of Ranjit Singh named Sher Singh as the Maharaja of the Punjab thus seemingly switching allegiance, from the Royal Family at Lahore, to Sher Singh in his power play for the King Meanwhile, the Sandhawalia Sardars Ajit Singh, Lehna Singh and Attar Singh began to fear Sher Singh and Dhyan Singh Dogra and left Lahore seeking safe haven with the British dom.  Two years later, the Sandhanwalia brothers sent a letter to Maharaja Sher Singh saying they wanted to return to their motherland. Sher Singh obliged and gave them permission to return to the Punjab. Sher Singh gave them good positions of rank in the army. It looked at first as if the Sandhawalia brothers were pleased. Dhyan Singh began to plot with the Sandhanwalias suggesting they were all in danger from Sher Singh. Sher Singh with his son, ten year old Prince Pertap Singh was invited to inspect new conscripts under command of the Sandhawalias, Ajit Singh Sandhawalia asked permission to show him how to fire a new carbine he had got from the British. The story is told that...Sher Singh agreed and as he reached for the gun, which was being handed to him barrel first, Ajit Singh Sandhawalia pulled the trigger, Sher Singh only had time to gasp "aah ki Daga!",(what treachery!). At the same time, Lehna Singh Sandhawalia killed Prince Pertap Singh. Dhyan Singh Dogra with 25 of his troops joined them and they all headed back to the fort. Ajit and Lehna Singh took Dhyan Singh aside, as if for a private talk and killed him. His body was cut into many pieces which were hung on pikes all over Lahore City.

Learning of the events Raja Gulab Singh and Hira Sing Dogra, led the Sarkar Khalsa forces in an attack on the Sandhanwalia's citadel; where the murderous brothers, with about 500 of their supporters, had taken shelter. The enraged Khalsa Army attacked and a day later over ran the fort killing both of the Sandhanwalia assassins on the spot.

This Gurdawara constructed by Ajit Singh Sandhawalia. It is tomb like structure hexagonal in shape having three stories. The lower story is close room having only one entrance. The second story has two arch door openings in opposite directions. The top story has four openings; it is called guru astan (rest room for guru). There is also a small room alongside the main structure.