Page 1


Documented and Combiled By Anamika Sonai Anjali Agrawal Nidhi Meena Ushma Patel Vaishnavi


Contents Introduction


Sikhism • • • •

Sikhism Origin Of Sikhism Who are Sikhs Khanda

2 3 3 4

Philosophy Of Sikhs


Sikh Art and Architecture

• Meaning and Importance of Gurudwaras 8 • Architectural Evolution of Gurudwaras 9 • The Golden Temple 11 • Features of the Shrine 12-13 • Artworks inside Golden Temple 14-17

Dance of the Swords • •

Gatka History and Origin of Gatka

Gatka Weapons and Their Making

19 20 21-25

The Living Art All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Imaginary Press 1233 Pennsylvania Avenue San Francisco, CA 94909 Ordering Information: Quantity sales. Special discounts are available on quantity purchases by corporations, associations, and others. For details, contact the publisher at the address above. Orders by U.S. trade bookstores and wholesalers. Please contact Big Distribution: Tel: (800) 800-8000; Fax: (800) 800-8001 or visit Printed in the United States of America

• People 28 • Places 28 • Culture 29 •



Our Experiences 31 References

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT As a part of National Institute of Fashion Technology, we would like to express our gratitude to many people who saw us through the book; to all those who provided support, talked things over, read, wrote, offered comments and much more. We are very thankful to the institution for giving us an opportunity to visit and explore our course. Furthermore we would like to thank our course coordinator Mr. Ravi Joshi and mentor Ms. Nandita Shah (Fashion Communication Department of NIFT) for their valuable time and for guiding us at each and every step of the suject. The work is the result of great minds coming together to achieve a common goal, so a sentence for each and every individual who has been a part of this journey and helped us to put Sikhism into one frame. Special thanks to Dr. Roop Singh (Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee secretary) for his valuable time and resources provided for our convenience, and for sharing experiences and a glimpse of Sikhism. To Dr. Jashit Singh for coming and guiding at every field visit, including Niku Kirpan wala for introducing us to weapon making. Special credits to the Gatka team “Kalgidhar Ranjit Gatka Akhada” and the team’s president Mahant Singh for the exceptional Gatka performance and their hospitality.

FOREWORD Information Assurance (IA) is a combination of technologies and processes that are used to manage information-related risks. IA is not just about computer security, the protection of data in storage or while it is being processed; it is also about the protection of data in transit. IA is a composite field involving computer science, mathematics, database and network management, user training, and policy issues. A common objective of work on IA in these fields is to protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation so that the right people can access the right information at the right time. The Internet, social media, smart phones and tablet computers have been playing a larger role in our daily lives. The majority of computers, whether in large corporations, in small businesses, or at home, are connected together in a network that creates a global community. People have become increasingly dependent on computer networks in many aspects of their lives — from communication, entertainment and financial transactions, to education and government services. Most people understand that global economic infrastructure is becoming increasingly dependent upon information technology, and no information system is 100% secure. Information security is one of the topics that everyone knows of, but most are not really aware of the finer details. Many computer users simply think that their firewall and antivirus software provide them with all the protection they need to keep their computers secure. However, as malicious hackers become more resourceful, and users add more and more information into a growing number of databases, there exists an increased exposure to hacker attacks, information espionage, and other security breaches. Information systems—operated by governments and commercial organizations—are vulnerable to attacks and misuse through their Internet connections. Workstations connected to the Internet are currently the most common targets of malicious hackers. As a result, information assurance is a very serious concern for individuals, businesses, and governments. Not only do we need to be aware of how attacks are perpetrated, but we also need to learn how the systems can be protected against different attacks. The challenges in information assurance are both difficult and interesting. People are working on them with enthusiasm, tenacity, and dedication to develop new methods of analysis and provide new solutions to keep up with the ever-changing threats. In this new age of global interconnectivity and interdependence, it is necessary to provide security practitioners, both professionals and students, with state-of-the art knowledge on the frontiers in information assurance. This book is a good step in that direction.

INTRODUCTION Like every other spiritual faith the roots of the origin of Sikhism dates back to the history but to a valuable period. Enlightening the origin, the faith, people and their philosophies of the youngest religion in India that carries its unique perspective of beliefs, is one vital necessity. This research is carried out by five students studying Fashion Communication at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (Gandhinagar, Gujarat), India. It is the result of a summer project aimed at identifying any one, out of several, spiritual faiths in India, and conduct a research about the crafts(having some spiritual connotation to the faith) practiced in the same. The book takes one, on a journey to the land of five rivers, talking about the origins of Sikhism to who are Sikhs, and what philosophies do they follow. Stating the difference of the Sikhism from rest of the spiritual beliefs, and portraying a few good examples of qualities, is how it is defined. It continues to identify the architectural elements that define a unique or distinctive style about the faith. How it all evolved, to what it stands like now. What Gurudwaras mean to Sikhs to how Sikhs made those Gurudwaras. Furthermore, there is a detailed description about the art and architecture of The Golden Temple. Going forward and looking at the martial art of the state, which lays its hands back to a distinctive time and place. The Faith was studied and researched upon in two beautiful cities of Punjab namely Amritsar and Ropar. The culture, till today, holds a social, economic and spiritual significance among the people of Punjab. A huge variety of colors found in Sikhism tells the importance of various outfits that are designed and most prominently the turbans. It ends talking about the places that are prominent to the art and culture of Sikhism, and the food that brings water in mouth. The book on the journey makes its readers understand the several aspects of the ‘Handmade And The Faith Of Sikhism’ and explains the role of culture and society in their prevalence.



Sikhism “The lord Himself inspires us to worship him; he reveals his glorious greatness. He himself inspires us to place our faith in him�. The word Sikh, literally means Student or Disciple, deriving from the word Sishya in Sanskrit and the disciple of Sikhism is known as a Sikh. The Sikh code of belief began around in 1499 when Guru Nanak started enlightening people about the faith, which was very different from Hinduism and Islam. The birth of Sikhism covers the present day Punjab area of south Asia, which are the states of India and Pakistan. The principle belief of Sikhism is Waheguru which refers to God, the Supreme Being or the Creator of all. It is made up of the sacred symbol of Ek Onkar in which Ek is representative of the one, and Onkar is God. Ek Onkar is the opening verse of Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy scripture) and are the only two words that reflects the base belief and teaching of the faith. Sikhism is bound to follow the teachings of its ten Gurus and the Living Guru, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji which is the ultimate Sikh guru. The faith recommends the pursuit of salvation through trained, personal meditation in the name of God. It is the creation of the ten gurus (Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh being the first and the last guru respectively, in human form), who appointed the successors. The Gurbani (Guru ki Vaani- Gur means guru and Bani means speech) and the works of the guru and the devotees of God is included in the Guru Granth Sahib. The holy book even includes the words of other devotees who were Jat, Hindu, Butcher, Brahmin, kshatriya and Muslims.



Origin of Sikh The foundation of Sikhism roots back to 1675, during the times of war between Hindu and Muslims. Aurangzeb, a Mughal emperor, forced people to convert themselves into Islam. Guru Gobind Singh fought many battles against Aurangzeb and some other kings of that time. But when he realized how thousands were massacred by the Muslims, he decided to spread the message of faith and self-defense among them through the one God. He recreated Sikh as a military group of men and women called Khalsa in 1699, which meant sovereign. However another interpretation is being purely represented by the Panch Pyare (five beloved ones). Panch Pyare, these names were given to the five Sikhs, Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Muhkam Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh, who were so designated by Guru Gobind Singh at the historic divan at Anandpur Sahib.

1.1 Shri Guru Granth Sahib JI 1.2 Nihant Singh working at the Golden Temple 1.3 Sawakarmi cleaning the corridors of Golden 1.1


Who Are Sikhs? Sikhs pray to only one Almighty God in his non-objective form without idols, images or photographs. They do not consider God as a man in the clouds or any other form of human being, male or female. In Sikh belief, God is the eternal truth; he is beyond fear, enmity and death. Sikhs believe that all creation is created by one Almighty, even though worldly religions gave the Lord different names. They consider men and women as being completely equal and both are expected to take part in daily and religious life; discrimination on the basis of sex is against the rules of Sikhism. Sikhs have no priestly class. Those educated in religious matters or with a special perspective on God are free to teach or guide others. In Sikhism, it is forbidden to impose one’s religious beliefs on others. Sikhs do not believe that followers of other religions are condemned in the eyes of God regardless of their behaviour and personal character. Nor does turning into a Sikh guarantee redemption. However, all people, regardless of race, gender, or nationality are free to embrace Sikhism. One does not have to follow Sikhism in order to participate in Sikh religious services; members of other religions are received with respect and seen as the disciples of the One Supreme.



1.6 Panch Pyare 1.7 Sikh meditating at the Golden Temple

Amritdhari (Amrit: nector, Dhari: adopter) are the Sikhs who has been initiated by taking “Amrit” or nectar are called as khalsa initiated by Guru Gobind Sing and also abides vows and follows “the panj kakari rahit” (rules of wearing five ks). The five Ks are the distinctive sings that are introduced by the Guru. 1.2




1.8 Kangha 1.9 Kada 1.10 Kirpan

KESH: Uncut hair, is consider as vital part of the human body by Sikhs. It is one of the primary signs by which a Sikh can be identified. According to them, God has created the universe and each of its element in such a way so as to protect or value. Thus, the hair over the head or beard has its own significance.

KANGHA: A kangha is a small wooden comb that sikh use to comb their hair. It is supposed to be worn in hairs at all the times. It is a symbol of cleanliness. For each individual its own property not shared. KARA (Steel bangle): The iron bangle called as Kara, a Sikh should wear it all

the time. The kara is a constant reminder to always remember that one should not do sins, one’s hand should always be ready to help others and in doing good deeds.

KACHERA (Cotton underwear): Kachera or Kaccha was originally a symbol of a Sikh soldier’s dedication to serve the battles. The one who has taken the amrit wears a kachera every day. The Kachera symbolizes self-respect, and always reminds the wearer of mental control over lust.

1.4 Sewakarmi cleaning the water bowl at Golden Temple 1.5 Ek Onkar and Kirpans kept before Shri Guru Granth Sahib





KIRPAN: A kirpan is a short dagger that Sikh must kept with himself every time. It is a symbol of self-defense. 3



Khanda The Khanda consists of three objects; a circle, two interlocked swords, and one double-edged sword in the centre. The circle signifies oneness, unity, justice, humanity and morality. The two-edged sword at the centre of the Khanda symbolises disintegration of false pride and demolition of the barriers of caste and other inequalities. The two swords symbolises the twin concept of “Miri” and “Piri”, while the Khanda is the emblem in the middle of Nishan Sahib (Flag pole).

1.14 Sewakarmi cleaning the corridors of Golden Temple 1.15 Langar at Golden Temple.

Philosophy of Sikhism Sikhism is a practical faith and not a school of speculative philosophy. However, it has made significant contributions to philosophy. Sikh faith believes in practical living of service to humanity, engendering tolerance and brotherly love to all living things because they believe that God is the creator of all human beings and other living things, all are equal in the eyes of God. He created the material universe or universes out of himself. Sikhism is a universal and a worldly faith, hence it does not recognize any distinction based on social class, creed, race, sex, caste or color nor do they believe in idol worship and rituals. It guarantees equality and recognizes people on the basis of their actions, such as honesty, compassion, generosity, patience and humility which can only be built up by effort and perseverance.

1.11 Miri-Piri 1.12 Types of Kirpans 1.13 Sikh carrying Nishan Sahib



The Sikh faith teaches that the goal of human life is to break the cycle of birth and death, and merge with God. To achieve salvation, one has to control the five feelings or vices, which are: Kaam(lust), Krodh(anger), Lobh(greed), Moh(worldly attachment), Ahankar(pride)




1.16 Sewakarmi serving water at Golden Temple 1.17 Sikh meditating at Golden Temple 1.18 Sewakarmi washing dishes at Golden Temple





To keep the mind focused, one has to meditate the holy name and perform the acts of service and charity. One must earn his daily bread through honest labour and moral work (Kirat Karna), and not by begging or dishonesty. It is also the responsibility of an individual to share with others (Vand Chhakna) and assist those in need. Sewa, community service is also a vital part of Sikhism which is found at every Sikh Gurudwara. Service is expressed by having a free community kitchen (Langar), which is open to all people. The Sikh Guru believed that this life has a purpose and a goal which can be achieved by self realization, and self realization is achieved by God’s grace with assistance and guidance from the living Guru. Guru Nanak has given the example of the lotus in the pond which is unaffected by the mud or the movement of the water. In the same way, the detached individual keeps himself away from worldly things. They live in the world, but are not involved in worldliness. 5



Sikh Art and Architecture Architecture is the identity of people and civilizations. Across time and space, communities bounded by geography, ideology, language and spiritual path have created physical structures to represent their culture. A study of history of architecture shows that the meaning of architecture and its relation to human experiences have been expressed in a number of ways in the past. The intellectual and creative development of man exhibited itself in the varied nature of architecture in different periods and across different civilizations. Thus, all over the world, various civilizations and cultures have contributed greatly to the art of building construction and this is evident from the large number of historic monuments and archaeological remains. Every Architectural style reflects a distinctive design element and construction principle that represents a sense, cultural identity and philosophy within a physical context. Likewise, the typical quality of Sikh architecture lies in the expression of spiritual contents through its Gurudwaras (the Sikh place of worship). Sikhism, one of the youngest of world’s religions, derives its inspiration from spiritual and historical tradition. The Sikhs are unique people in the religious civilization of the world, practical and progressive in their outlook. They are deeply attached to their faith. They are no more confined to the land of Five Rivers or within the borders of the Indian Union but have migrated to all parts of the world. Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikhism, was influenced by Kabir and Sheikh Ibrahim Farid (1450 - 1535), descendent of the famous Sufi saint Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj-iShakar of Pak Pattan whose hymns were later on incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Significantly, he experienced both Hindu and Muslim religions and it was only after deep contemplation that he evolved his own school of thought as a new dispensation.



During the era of peace, wealth and prosperity of the residents in Punjab grew, and art received generous patronage from the liberal Maharaja Ranjit Singh (during his rule, peace prevailed in the Punjab after a long period of turbulence). His patronage to Sikh art and architecture in particular was great. He donated large amount of money for the construction and renovation of various historical Sikh shrines. He also donated liberally to other religious structures like Hindu temples and Muslim mosques etc. The Sikhs constructed many of their shrines with the magnificence and splendour under royal patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh’s rule can be termed as a period of artistic and cultural renaissance in Punjab. The Sikhs have always been passionate lovers of nature which has been reflected in the motifs used in various art forms used in Sikh shrines, palaces and havelis (mansions) of Sikh chiefs. Moreover, Punjab being largely an agrarian state with fertile land and bounded by hills in the north and east, might have led to strong bond with the nature and forms like trees, flowers, leaves, birds and animals etc. The Guru Granth Sahib, a collection of the hymns of Sikh Gurus, Hindu, and Muslim saints, contains hymns abound in poetic images of various elements of nature in Gurbani. Various natural elements are used including trees, floral patterns, and fruits. But human figure was rarely used in various art forms like Mohrakshi (frescos), Jaratkari, Gach work, and Gold plating etc. Paintings of Sikh Gurus have been used in a few places like Gurudwara Baba Atal in the Harmandir Sahib complex.

2.5 Jaratkari on the walls of Golden Temple 2.6 The Golden Temple





Meaning and Importance of the Gurudwaras

Architectural Evolution of the Gurudwaras

A Gurudwara, meaning “the doorway to the Guru”, is the Sikh place of worship for the Sikhs. It is a place of learning for a student, the Guru for a spiritual person, a hospital for sick and a rest house for a pilgrim. The word ‘Gurudwara’ is compounded of guru (spiritual master) and dwara (gateway or seat) and, therefore, has an architectural implication. The Sikh Shrines are by and large commemorative buildings connected with the lives of the ten Sikh Gurus, or associated with certain places and events of historical significance for the Sikhs. The main requirement of a Gurudwara is a room in which Sri Guru Granth Sahib can be placed and people can be seated as a sangat (congregation) to listen to the readings from the Guru Granth Sahib and to sing and recite its verses. Some Gurudwaras also have resting room for Guru Granth Sahib, Langar building, kitchen, lodging facilities for pilgrims and accommodation of granthis (priests) and sewadars (staff and helpers). As places of worship, Gurudwaras are the source of community-building, acting as guardians of core values of Sikhism and providing an opportunity for collective worship by the sangat. Gurudwaras are highly respected by the Sikhs because within Sikhism, the spiritual and the temporal are inseparable.

A Gurudwara is a place where everyone is welcomed, and one gets peace of mind and spiritual uplift. It should have the facilities to make it a place where everyone can go with freedom, like an honoured guest. A visitor is provided shelter, food and bedding free of cost . The character of a Sikh Gurudwara reflects local architectural style and the material and skills to which they relate. The main form and style of the Sikh Gurudwara was established during 1587-1601 after the construction of the Harmandar Sahib at Amritsar. The architecture of Gurudwaras across India may vary in form and scale. However, the basic elements of the Gurudwaras are the same. The following section describes the evolution of the Gurudwara and the development of their architectural styles along with their materials of construction. The design of a Gurudwara comprises of a simple rectangular or a square hall. The hall invariably is covered with ribbed doom and is accessible from all the sites. The Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book) is placed in this hall. The orientation of the building is not standardised. There may be one or more entrances to the complex. But in most of the cases, there is a main entrance portal, the Darshani Deodi, followed by an uncovered passage leading to the Gurudwara.



2.1 Golden Temple 2.2 Sangat doing Paath at Darbar Sahib 2.3 Darshan Deodi


2.4 Mohrakashi work on a pillar at Darbar Sahib 2.3


2.7 Guru ka Langar 2.8 Window details




The Golden Temple The Harmandar Sahib at Amritsar is also commonly known as the Golden Temple or Darbar Sahib. It is a living symbol of the religious and historical traditions of the Sikhs. It was Guru Amar Das’s idea to establish a place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. He instructed Guru Ram Das to build a central place of congregation for them. Guru Ram Das started excavation work of the tank of Harmandar Sahib in 1577 and Guru Arjan Dev completed it in 1588. While the tank was under construction, Guru Arjan Dev conceived the design of the shrine to be built as a central place of worship for the Sikhs and decided to build it in the middle of the tank. The foundation of the temple was laid by a Muslim saint Mian Mir of Lahore in 1588 on the request of Guru Arjan Dev and the shrine was completed in 1601. There is no written record or contemporary sketch providing information about the shrine built by the Guru. It is believed that the construction of the Golden Temple, as it appears today, began in 1764 when Jassa Singh Ahluwalia laid the foundation stone and it was reconstructed as per the original design created by Guru Arjan Dev. Gold plating of walls and domes as well as marble work and other decorative work was done during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) at Amritsar has been the centre of Sikhism during the entire span of eventful history of Sikhs. It became the source of Sikh inspiration and carried the message of Sikhism afar. During the days of their persecution, a visit to Harmandir Sahib exercised an inspirational influence. Realising the significance of the Harmandir Sahib as the heart and soul of the Sikh faith, various invaders made it the target of their attacks in order to finish the Sikhs. The Harmandir Sahib was thrice destroyed and rebuilt each time with even more devotion and zeal than the last in the 18th century. It stands as a symbol of the brave spirit of the Khalsa. Throughout the history, Sikhism has shown exceptional strength and will to tackle with all crises, without compromising the basic values of its faith.



2.13 Passageway through the Parikrama that leads to the Shrine

Features of the Shrine

2.14 Corridor arches along the Parikrama 2.15 Parikrama

Gurudwara buildings have historically evolved to cater to the needs of the Sikh sangat. These include the main hall for Guru Granth Sahib and the attending sangat, resting room for Guru Granth Sahib, Langar building, kitchen, office complex, Sarai (lodging facilities for pilgrims) and accommodation of granthis (priests) and sewadars (volunteers). Other buildings like the library and the museum, were added to the main shrine depending upon their historical importance to the Gurudwara and on the number of visitors to a particular shrine. It was the latter half of the 18th century that the Gurudwara structures began to acquire a definite form. There are a few common elements that along with Harmandar Sahib are present in all the other sikh gurudwaras. Darbar Sahib (Sanctum Santorum): A hall called Darbar Sahib, houses the holy book “Guru Granth Sahib” resting on a raised platform, on top of which Chhabbar (canopy) is hung. And the cloth upon which the Guru Granth Sahib is kept is called Shhabbar. Devotees leave their offerings in a box called golak in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. Here people assemble as devotees and can sit as a congregation to listen to the readings from the Guru Granth Sahib, meditate and to sing and recite its verses.

2.9 2.14


Sukhashan Grah (Rest Room for the Guru Granth Sahib): After completion of the daily rituals in a Gurudwara, Guru Granth Sahib is placed for resting in a separate room overnight; this room is also called as Sach Khand.


2.16 Distribution of Prashad at the Khara Prasad Kshetr 2.17 Parikrama around the Sarovar

The Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag): The Nishan sahib is an integral part of a Gurudwara because unless, Nishan Sahib - the Sikh Flag, flutters at the place, it is not considered a Gurudwara. It is fixed within the Gurudwara complex. The tradition of fixing a nishan sahib is said to have started by the sixth Guru, Hargobind. It is a steel pole draped in yellow or blue covering called chola. The flag which is triangular bears the Sikh emblem and one can spot a Sikh Gurudwara from a distance because of this.

Langar: The institution of Guru Ka Langar is closely associated with a

Gurudwara and is as old as Sikhism itself. It was started by Guru Nanak and carried forward by his successors. It served the dual purpose of feeding the poor and eliminating the caste and status prejudices and distinctions. Guru Nanak took practical steps to break the vicious hold of caste system by starting free community kitchens or Guru Ka Langar in all centres and persuading his followers, irrespective of their castes, to sit and dine together. The word langar is derived from a Sanskrit word analgrah, meaning ‘the cooking place’.

Sarovar (Holy Pond): Sarovar or the holy ponds are found in most of the Gurudwaras. The Harmandar Sahib is situated amidst the holy sarovar. Devotees take a holy dip in the waters of this sarovar. Not only Sikhism, but almost all the religions have attached high importance to water. In one way or the other, the holy water is used in the respective religions to perform various ceremonies.

Parikrama (Circumambulatory): The parikrama meaning the ambulatory



passageway for circumambulation is a passage which leads to the main Shrine. While walking the parikrama one is supposed to be binding and uniting with the almighty. It consists of enclosed corridor or open passage around the outside of Sanctum Santorum.

Deodi: Many Gurudwaras have a Deodi, an entrance or a gateway, through which one has to pass before reaching the shrine. A Deodi is often an impressive structure with an impressive gateway. The visitors get the first glimpse of the Sanctum Sanctorum from the Deodi. Karah Prasad Kshetr: Karah Prasad means a religious offering, it is a sweet flour based recipe that is offered to all visitors to the Sikh Shrines. This is regarded as food blessed by the Guru. 2.9 The Shrine at night 2.10 Chabbar at Darbar Sahib 2.11 Waving of Chor Sahib over Guru Granth Sahib, Darbar Sahib 2.12 Chor Sahib





Joda Ghar: It’s a place to keep footwear before entering the Gurudwara premises. Here pilgrims take off their shoes and hand them over to the persons performing sewa (service) in the Joda Ghar. The shoes are collected by the volunteers to keep in the racks and a token is issued for retrieval. 13



Artworks inside the Golden Temple The various art forms which add to the ornamentation of Harmandir Sahib in particular and other historical Sikh Shrines in general include: Jaratkari (inlaid stone): This art form comprises of various fascinating designs formed by inlaying stones of different types and colors in marble. This form of Art work has been extensively used in Harmandir Sahib on the exterior walls of the ground floor. These walls are finished with white marble cladding which has rich inlays of stones forming various intricate and fascinating patterns, while upper portion of the walls are cladded in gold. The artists have taken these motifs from the Hindu mythological themes. The main components of inlaid stone include: flowers, leaves, fruits, human figures and animals. For executing the Jaratkari work, the marble slabs were cut to a desired size. Then the artist prepared the drawing and transferred that drawing from the paper to a slab. The design drawn on marble slab was chiselled to required depth by the stoneengraver with the help of small pointed tools. The next stage involved cutting and finishing the stones to be used for inlay work and finally these finished stones were fixed into the finely chiselled out patterns in the marble slab with the help of white mortar. The in-lay consisted of semi precious stones such as lapis lazuli in red and carnelian etc. The flower motif was inlaid with stones as jasper, agates and blood stones, each chosen so as to best replicate the soft shading of flower. The ivory work can be seen only on the entrance door of darshani deodi. Special stones in natural colors are selected to suit the subject with the necessary fibres and other textures.

Mohrakashi (frescos): The Mughals made extensive use of the Mohrakashi in their building, followed by the Sikhs in this region. Mohrakashi is the art of Frescos, it is a mural painting which is drawn on a plaster when it is still wet. Mohrakashi work can be seen in Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar on the walls and ceiling of the first floor, staircase leading to the first floor, and intrados of arched windows. This art form can also be seen in darshani deodi, on upper walls, and underside of brackets below the eaves. The lower portion of walls of darshani deodi were also decorated with mohrakashi paintings, but most of these paintings got lost when walls were cladded with marble slabs. This art form can also be seen in Darbar Sahib at Tarn Taran, Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, Gurudwara Bhai Bir Singh at Naurangabad and Chola Sahib at Dera Baba Nanak. It was extensively used in Gurudwara Baba Atal in Amritsar. The whole life of the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev, has been depicted with the help of this technique on the walls & ceiling of first floor.

2.20 Detailed Mohrakashi work on the pillar at Darbar Sahib 2.21 Jaratkari on the walls of Darbar Sahib




Dehin Work: Dehin is a form of fresco painting seen in a Gurudwara. One of

the finest examples of this style of painting can be seen at the Harmandir Sahib. A Dehin painting is an imaginative collection of forms taken by an artist from animal or vegetable life. The basic structure of a Dehin, called ghawanj, consists of a vase placed on a pedestal. It has three parts: pedestal, a vase poised on the pedestal and a bouquet of flowers or a floral bush called jhar. On the pedestal birds or animals are depicted in various dramatic postures. It is painted in a square form, bordered by creepers. These square paintings adorn the walls, floors and the ceiling of the Gurudwara. The collection of these paintings often resembles a carpet. The colors used in Dehin are prepared from natural materials. The painting is done on the wet plaster. These are used on wall, floor or for ceiling decoration. The square usually consists of a fine setting of flowers, leaves, creepers or bushes within a flowery border with handsomely patterned corners.


2.24 Mohrakashi work on the ceiling of staircase at Darbar Sahib


2.22 Jaratkari on the walls of Golden Temple 2.23 Mohrakashi on the walls of Darbar Sahib 2.18 Dehin Work on the walls of Darbar Sahib 2.19 Jaratkari on the walls of Darbar Sahib







2.26 Gach work at the second floor of Golden Temple 2.28Gold Embossing Work at Darbar Sahib

Gach Work: Gach is the term used to describe a plaster made from gypsum.

This unique and excellent art work can be predominantly seen on the ceiling and so fit the arches on the first floor and over the Har-ki-Pauri at Harmandir Sahib. On the first floor hall, religious prayers have been embossed with this technique. The prayers include Japuji Sahib, Jaap Sahib and Anand Sahib. Each stanza in these verses is enclosed in a separate unit marked by a golden border. Written in golden over red and blue backgrounds, these are further enclosed in golden and blue thick border. Verses from the Guru Granth Sahib have been rendered in this style by Bhai Gian Singh. This art work is also used in Darbar Sahib at Tarn Taran and Akal Takhat at Amritsar.



2.25 Gach Work at Darbar Sahib


2.27 Gold Embossing Work at Darbar Sahib

Tukri (mirror piece): Art form consisting of inlaying pieces of colored and looking glass inlaid into a gypsum plaster (Gach work) is known as Tukri. Gach has not only been inlaid with tukri but also with precious stones. This was most widely used by the Mughals in their palaces and forts, forming Sheesh Mahals. This art work also received great patronage from the Sikh chiefs. The glass used in this work is usually given a coating of copper and sometime a coating of mercury is done on the inner surface of the thin glass. These are then broken and the pieces are cut into desired shapes as per design on Gach work using a sharp edged stone called krund, to suit the floral and other details of Gach work. This type of work can be seen in the ceiling of the pavilion on the second floor of Harmandir Sahib. The ceiling of the central dome is a work of rare craftsmanship. Likewise the walls of the stairs leading to the second floor abound in some of the rare master pieces of the Sikh paintings. Mostly round in shape, the size varies according to the flower size of which it forms the centre. The base color is either blue or red enclosed in golden engravings of different geometric shapes such as star shape, hexagonal shape etc. The ceiling is separated from wall by a beautiful Gach work border engraved in gold color with blue base. At some places, rectangular frame shows the Tukri work depicting mainly flowers in golden color. Gold Embossing: This art form consisting of various beautiful patterns can be seen on the upper portion of the outer walls of the Harmandir Sahib, the ceiling inside and in the Darshani Deodi. It has also been used in Darbar Sahib at Tarn Taran, Akal Takht at Amritsar, and at some places in Baba Atal at Amritsar. In this technique, first the drawing is prepared then it is transferred on to copper plates, on the reverse side of the copper sheets, by embossing. The gold leaves (warq) are pressed on these sheets, which get the impression of the embossed design. The work of gold plating and marble work in Harmandir Sahib was started in 1803, and completed in 1830. The work was done under the supervision of Giani Sant Singh and after his death by his son Bhai Gurmukh Singh supervised the work. About 165 kilograms of gold was used, valued at 6.5 million Indian rupees at that time. The task for regilding the upper portions of the shrine was entrusted by the Shiromani Gurudwara Committee (SGPC). This Kar Sewa was launched on February 3, 1995 by removing a few old sheets from the central dome of the Harmandir Sahib and completed at the start of Tercentenary celebrations of birth of Khalsa in April 1999. A UK based organisation was stationed at Harmandir Sahib to supervise the entire work which was carried out by more than hundred experts. Pure 24 carat gold was used for the task. This is hammered and converted into warq of gold.








Dance of the Swords - Gatka About Gatka The foundation of the Gatka like most of the other martial art forms, is a movement methodology for the use of the feet, body, arms and weapons in unison. Gatka follows rhythmic movement, without hesitation or anxiety. The attacking and defense methods are based upon the positions of the hands, feet and weapons and thus it is both defensive as well as offensive. The instructions for Gatka falls into two main categories of sava-raksha (self-defense) and yuddha-vidya (battlefield science). Sava-raksha takes into account the specific needs and strength of the practitioner. The Gatka teachings include armed and unarmed fighting, defense against an armed opponent, defense against several opponents, escaping from grabs, and the psychology combat. It also incorporates various battle chants, verbal formula, and general philosophical advice on fighting and defending oneself. Chanting of holy verses may accompany these exercises. Gatka emphasizes having something in both hands, e.g. two sticks, a stick and a sword, a sword and a shield or any other combination. Training with both hands full is believed to be an excellent exercise for coordinating the two halves of the body. The practitioners are taught stances and forms before they progress to free sparring. The individual’s preference for weapons, combination of weapons, and movement patterns leads to the development of individual fighting methods. To control their bodies, practitioners may also engage in meditation, yoga, martial games and traditional weight training similar to that used by wrestlers. All this is intended to increase stamina, maintain a healthy digestive system, improve quality of sleep, increase hand speed, improve mind and body coordination, and keep the body calm.



History and Origin Gatka is an ancient martial art, which has been used thoroughly in battles and practiced in Northern India for many thousands of years. The origin of Gatka lies back to the time when Guru Angad Dev Ji (the second guru of the ten Sikh gurus) taught his followers to train the body physically, mentally and spiritually, encouraging the practice of martial arts for which Guru Hargobind Singh (the sixth Sikh patriarch) founded the original Sikh fighting school, the Ranjit Akhara at Amritsar, with its armed force known as the Akal Sena or “immortal army”. He propagated the theory of the warrior-saint (miri-piri) and emphasized the need to practice fighting for self-defense against the Mughal rulers due to growing oppositions. The Guru began the practice of laying out weapons in the form of a lotus flower for saluting and worshipping before a training session. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth patriarch), motivated the martial energies of the Sikh community by founding the Khalsa brotherhood. Under his leadership, the Sikh community turned from scattered practitioners to a prominent military force and quickly developed a reputation as warrior people which would carry into the present day. Supporters of this stance came from places around the north India. The Khalsa’s aims were to fight oppression, assist the poor, worship the one God, abandon superstition, and defend the freedom of faiths. This is symbolised by the kirpan or dagger, one of the five kakkars which every baptised Sikh is required to carry. Even women faced no restriction from learning the use of weapons, due to the Guru’s teaching of gender equality. Even from childhood, Sikhs would supplement their training with martial games which were meant to develop physical fitness, endurance, flexibility and agility.

3.1 3.7




Gatka Weapons Weapons used in Gatka are a crucial part of the game. Below are the lists of some of the important weapons or Shastars that are used in Gatka.

Pole Weapons: All pole weapons begin with the staff, known as a lathi.


• 3.2



• • •

The Making of Lathi 3.8 Shaping and Filing 3.9 Rubbing of Groundnut Oil 3.10 Ornamentation after drying 3.11 Attaching a metal head (alongside)


• 3.3



The lathi’s ideal length is either equal to the height or the armspan of its wielder. Gatka typically uses a bamboo staff, which may be steel-tipped and encased in leather. This type of lathi is held with both hands on one end and used for swinging techniques. The light weight of the bamboo allows for great speed and a variety of twirling exercises. Lathi: This particular weapon is manufactured from rattan or fire hardened bamboo. The length of the weapon is 1m and typically has a hand guard. It is largely useful for playing Gatka (training fight) and for practicing the same. For fight they were replaced by sticks of oak ore ironwood, with no hand guards. Barcha: This weapon is actually a spear. It is long shafted weapon and possesses a hook at the spearhead used to pull away the shield of opponent. Barshi: short spear or lance. Bhala: Spear with a ridged or grooved blade, sometimes forked. Marhati: The Marhati is actually a stick made of bamboo with cloth or wooden balls on its ends. This weapon is principally used for training purposes. There are also differences with burning cloths or blades on its ends, to attack or distract the enemy.

The Making of Lathi •

3.1 A dual armed combat 3.2 Group Combat 3.3 Worshipping weapons 3.4 Chanting of Holy Verses

3.5 Lathi in practice 3.6 Marhati 3.7 Bhala

The rough and naturally carved bamboo sticks are heated and pressure bent in the direction opposing their natural curvature, to lose their moisture and straighten over their length. These sticks are then filled so that their surface inequality and nodes are shaved off. In order to make these lathis moisture proof and to increase their strength, groundnut oil is rubbed along the entire surface in presence of heat. Once dried, these sticks are ready for colouring and ornamentation. 21



Swords: Ancient swords were mostly of the straight variety, their form

• • • • •

preserved in the khanda. The most common type of sword today is the talwar, but a wide variety of other swords are also incorporated. The warriors carried their sword by three straps hanging from a waist-belt. The sword may be paired with another sword, an axe, a spear, a katar, a maru, or any other one-handed weapon, but its most typical pairing is with a shield. Types of swords include the following. Khanda: This is a sword with a broad, straight blade, mainly widening towards the pointed part, which is blunt. Now and then it is also doubleedged. Talwar: The sword is typically bent with a sharp and thin blade. This weapon is treated with extreme care and greatly respected. Kirpan: Originally synonymous with the talwar but today usually refers to a dagger worn by baptised Sikhs at all times. Aara: A flexible sword. Katar: The Katar is a special type of dagger weapon with double-edged and straight blade used to pierce or slice armour. In order to provide good grip and protection the handle has two sidebars.




3.16 Shaping 3.17 Engraving 3.18 Polishing 3.19 Assembling 3.20 Embellished cover 3.21 Workshop


The Making of Kirpan •

• •

Forging: A bar of the desired metal or combination of metals is heated in a furnace and then it is hammered into shape. The sword is worked on in sections (usually around 6 inches in length) and repeatedly hammered and heated until it comes into the desired shape. This process is repeated many times and then the sword is heated, after which it is allowed to cool without hammering. This is done to keep the desired properties of strength and flexibility of the metal intact. Once this step is completed the sword is in the proper shape. Grinding: A grinder is used to work out the edge and point of the sword. This would also be when any engraving is added. This is not a completed sword yet. The sword still remains too soft and needs to be hardened. Hardening: The sword is heated to a very high temperature and then placed into a quenching tank. The quenching allows it to cool quickly and evenly which will harden the metal. After this hardening the sword is brittle which further needs to be strengthened. Tempering: The blade is heated and quenched again. But the heating is at a much lower temperature than was used at the hardening. This heating/ quenching cycle may be repeated several times. The tempering allows the blade to be strong but not brittle. It will have a certain amount of flexibility and still retain its sharp edge. Completion: After the completion additional parts are added such as the pommel, the guard and the hilt.

3.12 Jamdar 3.13 Talwar 3.14 Kirpan 3.15 Playing with swords 22










Shields: A shield always is accompanied with a sword as part of the

swordsman’s equipment. Carried on the left arm, or when out of use, slung over the shoulder, shields were made of steel. These are often highly ornamented with silver or gold. While shields can be used to block sword attacks, they can also be used offensively as an impact weapon or pushed against the opponent to prevent them from attacking. A dagger is often held in the same hand, projecting from under the shield. This weapon is mainly used to strike the opponent. It is always round in shape and differs in diameter from about eight inches to about twenty-four. Some of the structures of dahl (sheild) are flat while some are strictly convex. It is mainly held with two handles fastened to ring that pass through shield and are wrapped to bosses on the outside, sometimes formed to spikes. In between the handles there is a square cushion for knuckles to rest against. The handles are placed in a proper manner, so when tightly grasped, they force the backs of fingers against the cushion giving a very comfortable and firm hold. These shields are nearly always of steel or leather.


Making of a Shield • • • •

A circular flat surface is cut out of a steel sheet which then is mixed with iron to harden it. A convexed shape is given while heating for the ease of holding and protecting one self. Big iron spikes are then soldered on top of the shields and a handle is attached at the back to hold it. After the completion it is ornamented with gold plating or just colors at times.



3.26 Teer Kaman 3.27 Chakar 3.28 Katar 3.30 Janghi Gola 3.31 Chakar 3.29 Janghi Gola in practice




3.22, 3.23, 3.24, 3.25, various uses of shields in defense as well as offence combat. 24





Chakram: This weapon is actually a flat steel ring, with a diameter of five to 12 inches, from half an inch to an inch and a half wide, and with a sharp outer edge. While this weapon is not being used, it is carried fixed to the turban. Different types of sizes are carried on a pointed turban called Dastar or behind the back. It is held between the index finger and thumb, and thrown towards the opponent with underarm flick. If it is thrown with proper accuracy and force, then it has the potential to cut off green bamboo from a distance of thirty yards.

Teer Kaman: Bow and arrow, either traditional steel recurve bows or true composite bows made of wood, horn and sinew. Fletched reed arrows with tanged steel points are typically used. Bamboo bows are known as garia.

Chakar: This weapon, Chakar, resembles a wagon wheel with the weights at the end of each spoke. Chakar is wielded by grasping the centre and spinning it around, causing harm to anyone coming very close to spinning weights.

Kataar: A small triangular dagger.

Janghi Gola: A spherical metallic weapon with spikes all around it and a long chain attached to it.





The Land of Five Rivers The culture in Punjab is one of the richest cultures of the world. The scope, history, sophistication and complexity of the culture are vast. Some of which are the philosophies, poetry, spirituality, education, artistry, music, cuisine, architecture, traditions and history. There is an exclusiveness and liveliness in the lifestyle of the people of Punjab. They are hospitable, friendly, and hard-working and relish living. Also, eating is a part of their joys along with the colorful nature of Punjabi songs, the beats of dhol and the dance styles. The people of Punjab are renowned for their utmost interest in arts and crafts, sports and many other aspects that the world knows them for.




Punjab is inhabited by people of diverse socio-cultural dominations. The population comprises of a homogeneous mixture of tribes and cultures. People from various regions came here, settled down and got woven into its ethnic fabric. With humongous difference in their daily affairs in the state, the people of Punjab have survived peacefully over decades. The state has fostered a new bond of unity to the state that ensures equality to all of its inhabitants. The society of Punjab is such that it facilitates a development scope for even the most down trodden in the state. Treading the path set by the holy gurus, the Sikhs are usually people leading a simple lifestyle but thrive on prosperity of the state. Punjab houses a number of tribes and sub tribes who usually indulge in basic agriculture and trade. The people here are known for their colorful culture and their strong physical appearance and shape. They are well- known for warmth and hospitality with their food, glasses full of milk and lassi, and offers to stay the night. The people here take great pride in their valor and believe in traditional customs and rituals. Even now, the system of joint-families is prevalent in the state of Punjab. 4.5


Amritsar is like a diamond with many facets. The essential spirit of the city is found not only in its gurudwaras and temples but also in its theaters and galleries, parks and gardens, art and architecture, museums and memorials, fairs and festivals, narrow lanes and winding alleys, traditional bustling markets and lip-smacking cuisine. The most dominating asset however is its friendly, hospitable and hard-working people who live a life full of zest. Amritsar is the beginning to several renowned artists, authors and poets, the city has been a home to many handmade crafts for more than a century. This city is just not about bhangra or giddha or food, it is an attitude and a way of life. Despite the modern winds blowing, the city still continues to enshrine and exude its essential cultural identity.

4.4 Nihant Sahib 4.5 Paddy feilds in Ropar 4.6 Breakfast in Punjab

Rupnagar, also known as Ropar, is one of the districts in the state of Punjab. The town lies on bank of Satluj River and Shivalik hill range that spreads along the opposite bank of the river. It is a beautiful town that gives the complete zest of a hill station or any other tourist place. The town comprises of the locals who are indulged in the agricultural activities there. The place has a gurudwara, which is the dwelling for a gatka academy too. Ropar is a one special town as it has a very cool, breezy and cloudy kind of scenario throughout the season which makes the natives rush towards the Ropar Lake to enjoy the landscape and its natural beauty. 4.4

4.1 Gallery in Amritsar 4.3 The local market of Amritsar 4.2 A Sikh Kid


The culture in Punjab is one of the oldest and richest cultures of the world which has a great history and complexity. The culture of the Punjab is widely spread throughout the country as the people who are settled come from across the globe. its diversity and rich cultural heritage includes various fields like philosophy, poetry, spirituality, education, artistry, music, cuisine, science, technology, architecture, traditions, values and history. While the people of Punjab are known for their strong determination, the culture of the state presents a multi-hued heritage of ancient civilizations. People, culture and festivals of Punjab collectively form a vivacious base of enlightening social verve.







Punjab being a land of abundant milk, its related products is an essential part of the everyday or routine cooking of the people. Curd and buttermilk is a very must in every Punjabi meal. People prefer more of wheat products and less rice. Parathas and milk sweets, mah ki daal, sarson da saag, makke di roti and meat curries are very common among them. The breakfast generally consists of stuffed parathas with vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, raddish, cottage cheese, onion or peas and a glass of butter milk. Punjab being the unparalleled destination, gave us the utmost experience in all the forms. The sightseeing attractions that dot the regions were: palaces and forts, countless gurudwaras, memorials and museums, the golden temple, and the Attari-Wagah Border. The other delights were the little known villages on the highway, points at the tiny road-side dhabas, serving robust local flavors, the local art and crafts, anecdotes and farms. Punjab in all the ways treated us well. 29

OUR EXPERIENCES From the very beginning of our trip with the holy place Amritsar, the people of Punjab were humble and welcoming to us. The motto was to understand the every aspect related to the faith and the handmade, which dropped us at the gates of the Golden Temple at the very first glance. The first realization was that the magnificence of the Golden Temple duplicates at night; the moment we left our shoes outside, washed our feet and step inside the complex, the chants and lights reflecting on the water invaded us with a huge feeling of peace. Amritsar was all about the Golden Temple and a few more places that we managed to visit. After roaming around with open jaws, taking pictures from all the possible angles, talking to so many people, visiting to museums, libraries and a few other places while fighting the feeling of being inside a dream, our study here for the faith was done. For the handmade, we took our steps towards the town, Ropar. After a pleasant road trip to the place while witnessing the real beauty of Punjab, the villages, we landed to the Gurudwara, where the gatka team was super excited to show their skills, and more than them, we were. Gatka- the martial arts of the state is a fascinating art that can draw any one’s attention towards it. With beautiful colours and hardcore actions with the weapons it’s an art worth watching and understanding its basics for. The places we visited the food there, the weather, and the people all of them are always in a great mood, thus making the state distinctively unique and pleasing.

REFERENCES Arshi, Pardeep Singh. 1986. Sikh Architecture in Punjab, Intellectual Publishing House, New Delhi. Arshi, Pardeep Singh. 1989. The Golden temple: History, art, and architecture, Harman Publishing House, New Delhi. Dilgeer, H.S. 1997. The Sikh Reference Book, Sikh Educational Trust, Amritsar. Dr. Jashit Singh. 2016. General Secretary S.G.P.C., Amritsar. Dr. Roop Singh. Secretary S.G.P.C., Amritsar Fauja Singh. 1987. The City of Amritsar, Oriental Publisher and Distributors, New Delhi. Gurcharan Singh. 2005. Gurudwaras, Abstract of Sikh Studies, Sikh Publication House, New Delhi. Harbans Singh. 2016. The Heritage of the Golden Temple, S.G.P.C., Amritsar. Mahant Singh. 2016. President, Kalgidhar Ranjit Gatka Akhada, Ropar Nanak Dev Singh Khalsa. 1991. Gatka- Dance of the Swords, 2nd edition, GT International Publication House, New Delhi.

Craft Documentation  
Craft Documentation