Monday, 13 November 2017

Gurdwara Singh Sabha & Khalsa Middle School In Lyallpur (Faisalabad)


As I mentioned in my previous post about the Ghanta Ghar of Faisalabad, this city is one of the newest cities of Pakistan. A well-planned city of 3.2 million. Its construction began in the 1890s as the centre of administration, trade, industry and education of the Chenab Colony. To populate vast but sparsely populated lands of the Sandal Bar, a large number of settlers were brought from more thickly populated districts of north-central Punjab.  These settlers were good and hardworking farmers and within a few decades turned these colonies into prosperous communities and granaries of India. 

Many of them were Sikhs from Amritsar, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Jullundur etc. Naturally, these people also established their places of worship also. One of them, probably the biggest, is in Faisalabad, erstwhile Lyallpur. I saw its pictures on the internet. However, I could not find much detail, so I marked it for my visit. And on one hot and humid day on 21 July, 2017, I reached there. The gurdwara complex is situated at 31°25'9.85"N, 73° 4'50.24"E, between Katchery Bazar and Rail Bazar.

It currently houses s school, Government Pakistan Model High School Faisalabad, claimed to be "The Best English Medium School", as the board on the school entrance shows. It was a time of summer vacations, so there were no students in the school. However, some staff members were present. The guard advised us to me the Headmaster in his office and inform him our purpose of the visit. We met Mr Shamim Mohiuddin, the headmaster in his office. He asked us about the purpose of our visit and if we had any permission, which obviously we did not have. I assured him that I was no journalist and only wrote on a most harmless kind of a blog. After just a little hesitation he allowed us to take "a few" pictures, now after some experience, I fully understand the meanings of this signal. So we went about our business and took a lot of photos, without any disturbance. 

Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Lyallpur. (21.07.2017.)

Towards the main entrance. (21.07.2017.)

Main gate of the School / Gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

Structure of the gate. (21.07.2017.)

ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਗਰਲਸ ਮਿਡਲ ਸਕੂਲ
Khalsa Girls Middle School

The Headmaster, Mr Shamim Mohiuddin. (21.07.2017.)

Office Block. (21.07.2017.)

One can clearly see that the complex of this gurdwara actually has three main buildings. One is the gurdwara itself and the second is a Musafir Khana, the guest house, attached to the gurdwara. The third was actually a school, Khalsa Girls Middle School, as a Gurmukhi inscription clearly shows on the outer wall of the school. All the three buildings are architecturally different and were probably built at different times.

Beautiful facade of the gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

The base of the Nishan Sahib, a pole for the holy Sikh flag. (21.07.2017.)

The picture given below is of a plaque on the marble base of the Nishan Sahib. 

੧ ਓੰਕਾਰ

ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ 
ਮਿਤੀ ਮਾਘ ੨ ਸੰਮਤ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ੨੪੦* ਨੂਂ
ਭਾਈ ਰਤਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੇਹਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ 
ਬਾਜ਼ਾਜ਼ ਲਾਇਲਪੁਰ ਨੇ ਕਰਾਈ
ਦਾਸ:ਸੰਗਤ ਜੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਭਾ
ਲਾਇਲਪੁਰ
੧੫.੧.੧੯੩੯

اک اونکار
شری نشان صاحب دی سیوا
مِتی ماگھ 2 سمت خالصہ 240* نوں
بھائی رتن سنگھ سہر سنگھ جی
بزاز لائلپور نے کرائی
داس: سنگت جی گروسنگھ سبھا
لائلپور
15.1.1939.

Ek Onkar
Honourable Nishan Sahib's Service
On Date 2 Magh 280* Khalsa
 By Brother Ratan Singh Sehar Singh Ji
Cloth Merchant Lyallpur Was Rendered
Servant: Sangat (Congregation) Ji Guru Singh Sabha (Meeting)
Lyallpur
15.1.1939.

*The year is given as 240 of Samvat Khalsa. It seems to be different from Nanak Shahi or Samvat Bikrami.   

A corridor on the first floor of the gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

A room on the 1st floor. (21.07.2017.)

Another view of the corridor on the first floor. (21.07.2017.)

The Darbar Hall of the gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

A side view of the front of the gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

The Musafir Khana (Guest House) of the gurdwara. (21.07.2017.)

Veranda of the first floor of the Musafir Khana. (21.07.2017.) 

A room in the Musafir Khana (Guest House). (21.07.2017.)

The building of the Musafir Khana is currently undergoing a complete renovation and hopefully will restore its original beauty and enhance its life for by a few decades. On the first floor, I found some plaques, providing some very interesting information about the construction of this building and the people who donated money for this sacred cause, in the memory of their loved ones. 

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ
੪੦੦ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਰ ਖਾਨੇ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਭ. ਪਜਨ ਸਿੰਘ
ਨੇ ਆਪਨੇ ਪੁਤ ਦਿਆਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਤੇ
ਅਪਨੀ ਨੂਹ ਆਗੀਆ ਕੋਰ ਦੀ
ਯਾਦਗਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਸੰ. _______

۱ اونکار
400 روپے مسافر خانے کی سیوا کرائی بھائی پجن سنگھ
نے آپنے پُت دیال سنگھ تے
آپنی نوں آگیا کوردی
یادگار وچ سمت: _______

A service worth Rs 400/- was rendered for this guest house by Bhai Pajan Singh
in memory of his son Diyal Singh and daughter in law Aagiya Kaur,
In Samvat: _____

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ
੩੬੪ ਕਮਰੇ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ
ਸ੍ਰ. ਭਗਵਾਨ ਸਿੰਘ
ਸਬ ਇੰਸਪੈਕਟਰ ਸਪੁਤ
ਭ. ਹੀਰਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਚਕ ਨੰ ੬੫
ਝੰਗ ਬਰਾਂਚ ਸੰ. ੧੯੮੦ 

۱ اونکار
368 روپے کمرے دی سیوا کرائی
سردار بھگوان سنگھ 
سب انسپکٹر سپُت 
بھائی ہیرا سنگھ جی چک نمبر 65
جھنگ برانچ سمت: 1980

A service worth Rs 368/- for this room was rendered by Sardar Bhagwan Singh,
Sub Inspector, son of Bhai Heera Singh ji, Chak No. 65 Jhang Branch.
Samvat: 1980 (1923 AD)

੧ ਓੰਕਾਰ
੪੦੦ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਰ ਖਾਨਾ ਚੁਬਾਰਾ
ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਭ. ਬਲਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ
ਲਕੜ ਮੰਡੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਨੇ ਆਪਨੇ ਪਿਤਾ
ਭ. ਬੂੜ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ ਵਿਚ
ਸੰ. ੧੯੮੩

۱ اونکار
400 روپے مسافر خانہ چوبارہ
کی سیوا کرائی بھائی بلونت سنگھ
لکڑ منڈی والے نے آپنے پِتا
بھائی بوڑ سنگھ دی یادگار وچ
سمت: 1983

A service worth Rs 400/- for the guest house and the upper storey was rendered by  Bhai Balwant Singh of the wood market, in memory of his father Bhai Bor Singh.
Samvat: 1983 (1926 AD)

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ
੪੦੦ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਿਰ ਖਾਨਾ 
ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ
ਭ. ਨਿਹਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੇ ਆਪਨੇ
ਪਿਤਾ ਭ. ਸੈਹਜ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ
ਵਿਚ - ਸੰ. ੧੯੮੩

۱ اونکار
400 روپے مسافر خانہ 
کی سیوا کرائی
بھائی نہال سنگھ نے آپنے 
پِتا بھائی سیہج سنگھ دی یادگار 
وچ - سمت 1983

A service worth Rs 400/- for the guest house, was rendered by Bhai Nihal Singh
in memory of his father Bhai Sehaj Singh.
Samvat 1983 (1926 AD)

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ
੫੦੦ ਮੁਸਾਫ਼ਿਰ ਖਾਨੇ ਤੇ ਬਰਾਂਡੇ
ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਭ. ਗੁਰਦਿਰ ਸਿੰਘ
ਨੇ ਆਪਨੇ ਪਿਤਾ ______ ਸਿੰਘ ਤੇ
ਭਰਾਤਾ ਬਖਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ
ਵਿਚ ਸੰ. ੧੯੮੩

۱ اونکار
400 روپے مسافر خانے تے برانڈے
دی سیوا کرائی بھائی گوردِت سنگھ
نے آپنے پِتا _________ سنگھ تے
بھراتا بکھت سنگھ دی یادگار
وچ - سمت: 1983

A service worth Rs 400/- for the guest house and veranda, was rendered by
Bhai Gurdit Singh in memory of his father ______ Singh and brother
Bakht Singh. 
Samvat 1983 (1926 AD)

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ
੫੦੦ ਏਹ ਕਮਰਾ ਅਤੇ ਬਰਾਂਡੇ
ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਸਿਨ ਕੋਰ
ਜੀ ਨੇ ਆਪਨੇ ਪਤੀ ਗੁਰਪੁਰ
ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਸ੍ਰ. ਈਸ਼ਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਜ਼ੇਲ
ਦਾਰ ਪਿੰਡ ਡਸਕਾ ਚਕ ਨ: ੧੫੩
ਰਖ ਬਰਾਂਚ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ
ਵਿਚ ਬਨਵਾਇਅ ਸੰ. ਬਿ, ੧੯੭੯ 

۱ اونکار
500 روپے ایہ کمرا آتے برانڈا
دی سیوا ماتا پرسِن کور 
جی نے آپنے پتی گورپور
نواسی سردار ایشر سنگھ جی ذیل
دار پنڈ ڈسکا چک نمبر: 153
رکھ برانچ جی دی یادگار
وچ بنوایا - سمت بکرمی 1979

A service worth Rs 500/- for this room and veranda, was rendered by mother Parisan Kaur ji
in memory of his late husband Sardar Eshar Singh ji Zaildar Daska pind, Chak No. 153
Rakh Branch. 
Samvat Bikrami 1979 (1922 AD)

੧ ਓਂਕਾਰ ਸਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ
੩੫੦ ਇਸ ਕਮਰੇ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ
ਭਾਈ ਆਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਸੁਪਤਨੀ
ਭਾਈ ਕਹਿਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਭਾਈ ਹੀਰਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਦੀ
ਮਾਈ ਨੇ ਕਰਵਾਈ

۱ اونکار ستِّ گرو پرساد
350 روپے اِس کمرے دی سیوا
بھائی آسا سنگھ جی دی سپُتنی 
بھائی کاہن سنگھ بھائی ہیرا سنگھ جی دی
مائی نے کروائی

A  service worth Rs 350, for this room, was rendered by Bhai Aasa Singh ji's 
wife and Bhai Kahan Singh Bhai Heera Singh's mother. 
Imposing inner view of the main entrance of the Khalsa Middle School For Girls. (21.07.2017.)

Left Wing of the school. (21.07.2017.)

Right Wing of the school. (21.07.2017.)

A general view of the school and the courtyard. (21.07.2017.)

Corridor of the school. (21.07.2017.)

The first floor of the school. (21.07.2017.)

A beautiful cupola like structure on the top of the school building. (21.07.2017.)

Umair Riaz. (21.07.2017.)


Tariq Amir. (21.07.2017.)

A wooden balcony of an old house, in front of the main entrance. (21.07.2017.)


I could not find the date of its construction, but some sources on the internet give its date of construction as 1911. Probably the foundations of the gurdwara were laid down in 1911 and then the constructions continued for a long time, perhaps to the very end of the era of united India. The plaques on the wall of Musafar Khana, clearly shows that it was constructed in the mid 1920s. The building of the Khalsa Girls Middle School is actually so modern and in such a good condition, that for some time I thought it to be a post-independence addition, until I noticed the symbol of the Sikh faith and read the inscription on the outer wall. Due to the summer vacation, some sections of the school were closed and the administration was reluctant to open them for us. The passage to the cupola over the main gate was also locked. However, the visit was fruitful and I learned about a piece of our history and heritage. 

Tariq Amir

November 13, 2017.

Doha - Qatar.