Sultanpur Lodhi: the site where Guru Nanak attained enlightenment

This is first part of a two-part Travelogue. Read here Part Two Sultanpur Lodhi: the site where Guru Nanak attained enlightenment

By Jaspal Singh,

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It has been an amazing day. For years I have been planning to go to Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak lived for 15 years and where, as the legend goes, he achieved enlightenment and felt the need to travel and inform himself, learn and teach.

It was amazing to stand at the same spot on the banks of the stream where he dived and disappeared for three days. After he reappeared he was a changed man, he uttered that there is no Hindu or Muslim, only one, humanity. He was finance minister of Daulat Khan Lodhi, who wanted to make him Prime minister. But Nanak had other plans. He resigned his position and went around to all the known centres of knowledge.

Photo used for illustration purpose only (Courtesy:

We stood under the Ber tree where Nanak used to sit. Gurudwara Ber Sahib stands at this place now. It is a very serene place on the banks of Kali Bein-the black stream. Few years ago Sant Seechewal organized volunteers to clean up this 160 mile long stream, which had become polluted. Now it has been cleaned by the efforts of the people. We were told that the government only created hurdles in this effort; they did not want people to get together and release their initiative. But people were determined and carried on in spite of the hurdles created by the government.

As I stood there, I almost could see the sights of five hundred years ago. Just near this spot is the old fort of Daulat Khan Lodhi. Sultanpur was a great centre of learning. Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, the two Mughal princes were educated here. Nanak learnt a great deal during his stay here. It was also a centre for many Sufis, with whom Nanak engaged in discussions and exchanges.

We also saw the place where the Modikhana or treasury used to be. We saw the Weights used by Baba Nanak,to measure grain and other goods. A Gurdwara Hatt Sahib stands there now. Some people were bowing in front of these weights. The Gurdwara management informed us that weight stones are bathed every morning with milk- completely antithetical to Nanak’s life and work. Unfortunately Nanak has been Brahmanized by the clergy. Nanak spoke against all such rituals which have been re-enshrined in the Gurudwaras.

We walked around the banks of the stream; it was very beautiful, with flowers and plants all over. We also saw the hut of Sant Seechewal, the great environmentalist of Punjab.

After leaving Sultanpur Lodhi, we stopped in Nakodar on our way back. Nakodar has two great Mausleums built by the Lodhis, and a great center of Sufis,the Dargah of Baba Murad Shah.Since it was Thursday, thousands of people of all faiths were thronging to Baba Murad Shah’s Dargah. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, all gather there to seek blessings. We could hear the Qawwalis from a distance. We paid our respects to Baba Murad Shah as we went on to the monuments and pondered about the transient nature of power and existence. The Lodhis were lying here once who ruled India. All their grandeur and regalia gone! The monuments stand out as the most elegant buildings ever built.

(Jaspal Singh is a philosopher based in Cambridge, Massachusetts)