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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh, India

State: Himachal Pradesh
Distance by road: It is around 305kms away from Delhi.
Nearest Railway Station: It is at Dehra Dun, at a distance of around 49kms.
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant at Dehra Dun
Best Season: September-April
Elevation: 389 meters

Paonta Sahib is a place sacred to the Sikh community, and is also making its name as a growing industrial region. The religious background as to why Paonta Sahib is a significant place is: In the year 1685, Guru Govind Singh (the 10th and last human guru for Sikhism), son of Guru Tegh Bahadur (9th guru), was on the way to Anandpur Sahib for setting up the Khalsa. He took a halt at Paonta Sahib, lived there for four years and wrote Dasam Granth there.
The original name of the city was paontika - In Hindi 'paon' means feet and 'tika' means stable. So the genesis of the name of Paonta Sahin is that the horse of Guru Ji stopped there on the way to Anandpur so he decided to rest at Paonta Sahib. Guru Govind Singh set his foot at this place that is why this place was named as Paonta Sahib. It is here, where he penned the `Dasam Granth’.

Location of Paonta Sahib on

Just a short distance away from the gurudwara, there is the beautiful sight of the river Yamuna flowing, with all the sounds that a gurgling river makes. But just short of its walls the water suddenly falls silent, not making any more sound. The story goes that it happened only at the Guru’s behest, with the Guru requesting the river to flow silently since the noise was distrubing the Guru’s meditations, and another says that the Guru found it hampered his communication with the sufi saint Bhure Shah who lived high above the opposite bank.
Climate during the summers is pleasant while winters are bit colder than plains. This religious cum tourist destination is favorable among tourists round the year because of its moderate climate.
The Gurudwara houses some interesting spots that traces the events in the life of Guru Gobind Singh. There is Shri Talab Asthan where he disbursed salaries, and the Shri Dastar Asthan where he judged the turban - tying competitions. The Kavi Durbar was the venue of the poetic symposia. A memorial dedicated to Kalpi Rishi, and a museum showcasing the pens of the Guru and the weapons of those times, are also located within the precincts of the Gurudwara


Sri Talab Asthan: Sri Talab Asthan located inside Paonta Sahib is the place where the Guru distributed salaries to his followers for their hard work.

Sri Dastar Asthan: There is another place of interest inside Paonta Sahib known as Sri Dastar Asthan, where the Sikh Guru used to witness the turban tying competition by his followers.

Kalpi Rishi: Kalpi Rishi is another significant locale; this is a museum that displays various weapons used by the Sikh Guru and his followers.

Sirmour: 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, who was promised the kindgom by the king if she completed a hard task, and who the king killed while she was doing the task.

Bhangani is fourteen kilometers out of Paonta Sahib. Settling on high ground, the Guru fought his first battle at Bhangani. Guru Gobind Singh defeated a phalanx of twenty thousand professional soldiers that had expected scant opposition from the Guru’s rag-tag force of five hundred men. The Guru’s eldest son was also born during the twelve-day period of the battle.

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

Fossil Park, Saketi: This was the site of the largest fossil find in the Siwalik hills. The park has a museum and life-size models of the animals that once roamed these tracts.

Katasan Devi Temple: 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 marauding armies of Ghulam Qadir Khan Rohiolla.

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 Pratap Chand of Kangra by his wife who originally belonged to Sirmour. The Kirpal Dass Gurudwara is just past the temple

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

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

Khodri Dak Pathar : It is a beautiful picnic spot just 25 km. from Paonta. There is a beautiful park, a swimming pool and a tourist Bungalow. At this place the torrential river Yamuna has been tamed into an artificial lake by constructing a barrage. From here one can get a fantastic view of the lake and the park nearby.

Assan Lake : 4 km. from Paonta Sahib. This beautiful lake has all facilities like speed boats, rowing, paddle and sailing boats. In addition, one can enjoy water skiing and hovercraft rides. A fast food restaurant is also available.

Places to stay:

HPTDC: Hotel Yamuna, Paonta Sahib (HP) 173025. Tel: 01704-222341, 224161. (check availability)
Hotel Citizen
Hotel City View
Hotel Clock Tower
Ganga Lodge

How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport is Jubbarhatti in Himachal Pradesh about 145km from Paonta Sahib.

By Rail: The nearest rail head is Yamunanagar about 56kms from Paonta Sahib.

By Road: The Himachal Road Transport Corporation runs bus connecting Paonta Sahib to almost all places in Himachal Pradesh.

External articles:

1. Brief history (link to article):

In October 1686 the hill chieftains collected a force of 30,000 men and under the leadership of Raja Bhim Chand and Fateh Shah they rode towards Paonta Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji's army consisted of around 4,000 Sikhs only besides a number of Udasis and Pathans.

2. Explore Himalayas (link to article):
That night we left Delhi and after 8 hours of journey we reached Paonta Sahib a small town, which was founded by the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. This town was situated on the banks of Yamuna River in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. The adventure and trekking organization ‘Explore Himalayas’ is situated here.

3. History of Guru Gobind Singh (link to article):
At the request of Medani Prakash, Guru Gobind Singh laid the foundation of Paonta Sahib in Nahan and built a beautiful city and a castle there. In Paonta Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh compiled the Jap Sahib, Savaiye and Vanis of Akal Ustat.

4. Photo of Guru Gobind Singh's weapons at Paonta Sahib (link to photo)
5. Tour to Delhi - Hemkund - Paonta Sahib (link to article)
Surrounded by the Sal forest and on the bank of river Yamuna the historic town of Paonta Sahib was founded by the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh Ji. When only sixteen years old, the guru left Anandpur Sahib and on the invitation of Raja Maidini Prakash of Sirmour, lived at this beautiful place for over four years. The historic gurudwara commemorates his stay and interestingly the waters of the Yamuna fall silently below this -which happened at the Guru's behest. The word 'Paonta' means 'Space for a foot hold'.

6. Legacy of a warrior (link to article)
Today Paonta Sahib’s large gurudwara gleams like an edifice carved out of snow and as the sun sets the white marble is offset by touches of pink and gold. Here the Guru wrote the Dasam Granth and with in the precincts are a number of significant spots associated with his sojourn.

7. Sikh pilgrimage tour covering Delhi- Hemkund Sahib - Paonta Sahib - Anantpur Sahib - Amritsar (link here)
8. Photos of Paonta Sahib (click here)
9. Photo of entrance to Paonta Sahib gurdwara (click here)
10. Road directions to Paonta Sahib from Delhi on (click here)
11. Beautiful photos of Gurudwara at Paonta Sahib (click here)

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