What is a Gurdwara?

What is their roles in society?

A Gurdwara Sahib is the Sikh place of worship, just like a church is for Christians, a mosque for Muslims, and a temple for Hindus. Gur-dwara is two words combined into one. Gur means Guru and Dwara means door or house. Literally translated, Gurdwara means the door or house of God. It is a place where the sacred Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib Ji resides.


The Gurdwara serves a lot of functions for community. The traditions started in the times of Gurus themselves when they were in physical form. People congregated and asked questions about God and His creations, and the Gurus would answer those questions in social congregations. After the Gurus left, they instructed that there would no longer be any physical Gurus and all Sikhs shall consider Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the sacred Sikh scripture, as their Guru. From then on Guru Granth Sahib Ji was enshrined and installed as the living Guru of the Sikhs in the Gurdwara Sahib.

Gurdwara Sahib is a place for acquiring spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It is open to every one regardless of age, gender, caste, color, or creed. Here all men, women and children are treated as equal. Gurdwara Sahib is open 24 hours a day and all year round. It offers shelter and food to any one in need. Gurdwara Sahib also brings the community together and builds stronger community relationships. It is also a center for promoting culture and health. Moral education, as well as knowledge and history of the religion is often taught to children in the Gurdwaras Sahib.

People go to the Gurdwara Sahib to pray and listen to the Holy Scripture. All Gurdwara Sahib have a kitchen where food is cooked and served to all irrespective of caste, color, religion or country.

Most Gurdwaras administer the following services:

  • Supplementary schools
  • Basic skills training
  • Arts provision
  • Welfare services: advice and support
  • Day centres
  • Community kitchens
  • Libraries

CSGB sees the inclusion of Gurdwaras in service led partnerships as an integral aspect of equitable service, complementary to the mainstream sector. Speedy developments are taking place in day care, access to training and employment, childcare provision and health promotion within Gurdwaras through the development of linkage with the health authority, Colleges, private business, advice and welfare agencies and city departments.