Gurdwara is a place of worship for Sikhs. The term “Gurdwara” is derived from Punjabi language where “Guru” meaning a teacher and “Dwara” refers to “a door”, meaning doorway to Guru’s house. People from all faiths, and those who do not profess any faith, are welcomed in Sikh Gurdwaras. Each Gurdwara has a Darbar Sahib where the current and everlasting Guru of the Sikhs, the holy scripture “Guru Granth Sahib” is placed on a takhat (an elevated thorne) in a prominent central position.
The Gurdwara at Richmond, Virginia
The Gurdwara at Richmond, Virginia is located on the south side of the city, just off the Chippenham Parkway (Route 150), tucked in a serene corner of a wooded 33 acre lot. The Gurdwara has a full time Granthi, Bhai Kuljit Singh. Visitors are welcome at any time during the day. Regular services are conducted on Sundays followed by a community kitchen, the Langar. In 2007, a residence for the Gurdwara Granthi was constructed on the premises. Get directions for the Gurdwara from here. Initially Sikh services were held once a month in various community centers under the leadership of the late Col. Surjit Singh Bawa. In 1984, the community decided to form a formal organization – the Sikh Association of Central Virginia. As more people moved to the area, a plot of land was purchased in Chesterfield county, next to Richmond. The community then raised money for the Gurdwara. Construction of the present building started in 2000 and was completed in May of 2002. Bhai Kuljit Singh Ji joined as our Granthi in 2003.
When entering the Gurdwara one is expected to remove the shoes and cover ones bare head as signs of respect towards the sovereignty of the Guru Granth Sahib. Hands are washed and in someGurdwaras there are also feet washed. Approaching the Guru Granth Sahib one is expected to bow down and touch the floor as a sign of further respect towards the Eternal Sikh Guru. Offerings of cash are made at this time to help carry the expenses of running Gurdwara. These offerings are voluntary and not compulsory. All people irrespective of their status sit on the floor as a sign of equality. Everyone is expected not to face their feet towards the Guru Granth Sahib. One may enter or leave the congregation at any time. Men and women may sit together or separate as they wish. All people are expected to stand facing the Guru Granth Sahib when Ardaas (common prayer) is read out.