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Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day

India’s history is coloured with freedom struggles, independence movements, and campaigns for fundamental rights. These movements are an intrinsic part of India’s history and present, not least because they paved the way for the freedom the country enjoys today. Within religions, too, several crusades took place to secure justice, freedom, liberty and more. One such event led to the formation of an essential observance for the religion of Sikhism– Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day.

About the Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day

Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day commemorates Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, who was the ninth Nanak (religious leader) in Sikhism. His martyrdom is honoured on the 24th of November every year. That was the date when, in 1675, Guru Teg Bahadur was publicly beheaded by the order of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for not agreeing to convert to Islam. Guru Teg 2023, too, will fall on the 24th of November.

How it is Celebrated

Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day is observed across many parts of the country and goes by the name Shaheedi Divas (the Day of the Martyr). Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Delhi stands where the Mughal regime executed the Guru. Thousands of devotees flock to this Gurudwara to pay their respects to the ninth Guru and his ultimate sacrifice. They also commemorate the loss of other Sikh devotees in the run-up to this event.

In the city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab lies another significant Gurudwara named Sis Ganj. This Gurudwara marks the spot where the head of Guru Teg Bahadur was respectfully consigned to the flames after it was stolen by Bhai Jaita, the Guru’s disciple. This Gurudwara has also become a revered pilgrimage site for disciples of the Guru who travel there to pay their respects to Shaheedi Divas.

The third Gurudwara to feature in this slice of history that is no less significant than those previously mentioned is the Gurudwara Rakab Ganj. According to the lores pertaining to Guru Martrydom day, the body of Guru Teg Bahadur was secreted onto a cart of cotton and transported to a disciple’s house. The disciple set ablaze the house to prevent Aurangzeb’s henchmen from locating the body and desecrating it. The site of this house, near New Delhi’s Parliament House, is now the home of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj.

The History of the Festival

As all successive Gurus to Guru Nanak did, Guru Teg Bahadur also practised and protected the ideal of universal brotherhood regardless of societal differences. For example, Guru Teg Bahadur was present and preaching during the rule of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who was then headlining the forced conversion of Hindus and followers of other religions to Islam. During that time, many Hindu religious scholars were executed for failing to convert to Islam, and a dark cloud of terror hung over the subcontinent.

At this juncture, Guru Teg Bahadur realized the atrocities could only be stopped if someone of power and influence but a good heart would sacrifice their life for the greater good. His 9-year-old son, Gobind Rai, innocently said that no one was more worthy of that task than Guru Teg Bahadur himself, and the latter agreed. He was also confident that his son would be able to take on the responsibilities attached to Guruship confidently.

Devotees who observe Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day also hold that Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice was partly for the benefit of Kashmiri Pandits, who were also given the ultimatum to convert their religion or be beheaded. As the tale goes, The Pandits approached Guru Teg Bahadur for a solution to their problem. The Guru told them to inform the Mughal Emperor that only if he succeeded in converting the Guru could they convert the rest of the Pandits to Islam. He travelled to Delhi with the Pandits to stand before the Emperor, yet refused to convert to Islam.

In a bit to shake Guru Teg Bahadur, his follower Bhai Mati Das was sawn alive while others were boiled in cauldrons and wrapped in cotton to be burnt alive. Despite these atrocities, Guru Teg Bahadur stood headfast and continued to protest against his (and consequently, the Pandits’) conversion. Since he did not relent, he was finally executed at a public square in today’s Chandni Chowk in Delhi. He sacrificed his life for those unwilling to give up their religion, thus attaining martyrdom.

How to Get There

Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day is observed across the country, mainly in Punjab and parts of Delhi. Anandpur Sahib’s Sis Ganj Gurudwara, Delhi’s Sis Ganj Sahib, and Gurudwara Rakab Ganj are high on the list of pilgrimage sites to visit on this momentous occasion. 

If you want to travel to these sites commemorating Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom Day, make safety your priority with redBus. Superior customer service, quality, and comfort are ranked above all in the workings of the travel company. 

Buses ply from Indore to Anandpur and Dewas to Anandpur– pick an operator of your choice using the handy filters. You can specify your departure point, destination, and travel date to sort through available buses and choose the best option for your Guru Martyrdom Day pilgrimage. The routes to and from Delhi are well-populated with many bus operators, each better than the last. So whether you’re travelling from Jaipur to Delhi, Gorakhpur to Delhi, or even Faizabad to Delhi, redBus-verified operators have your journey covered. Use the redBus app now to book tickets on the go even a few hours before the departure time and save all your payments securely, so you don’t have to root around for your credit card.

Where to Stay

You'll need to book accommodation in advance to observe Guru Teg Bahadur Martyrdom day in one of the above cities. The cities are well-equipped with hotels catering to all budgets and needs, whether family- or business-oriented. After you save money booking bus tickets with redBus, make your travel hassle-free with redBus.

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