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Gurdwara Sahib Stockton: The Sikh Temple is a sanctuary of Peace and reminder of Home

The first Gurdwara in the U.S. was built in 1912 when a lot of Sikhs came to settle down in the sun-drenched Central Valley, which closely resembled their ancestral land of Punjab

  • The Gurdwara Sahib Stockton in Stockton was built by the Sikhs who had settled in America, over 100 years ago
  • According to Amarjit Singh, the Sikhs build a Gurudwara wherever they settle in the world and that is their way to keep in touch with their culture, not only their religion
  • The Gurudwara at Stockton still remains vibrant with Sikhs and visitors from all over America, even after so many years

A number of Sikhs have been living in the United States of America for 125 years, now. Currently, their population in the U.S. is 700,000.  Amarjit Singh, a U.S. based Sikh and an ex-President of the committee of Gurdwara Sahib Stockton, said that wherever there are Sikhs, there must be a Gurdwara. He further asserted that it is not only because it is a place for their religious worship but it is a part and parcel of their culture which holds the entire community together.

The Sikhs can still be recognized in the U.S. in spite of having completely adjusted to the life there. The symbols that help them to keep in touch with their origin are the steel kara around their wrist, the turban, the kirpan and their uncut hair.

Vaisakhi Day Parade. Image Source : sikhism.about.com
Vaisakhi Day Parade. Image Source : sikhism.about.com

The Gurdwara Sahib Stockton in Stockton, U.S. was built over 100 years ago. Even now it serves as a place of religious, cultural and social meetings for the Sikhs near the area. Recently, it had a number of people coming in and preparing for the 18th annual Vaisakhi Day Parade. It is said that the parade to commemorate the establishment of Khalsa by Guru Govind Singh has over a thousand pilgrims joining in. The pilgrims sing songs of praise as the procession moves through the way.

The temple, a long time ago. Image Source : pbs.org
The temple, a long time ago. Image Source : pbs.org

The first Gurdwara in the U.S. was built in 1912 when a lot of Sikhs came to settle down in the sun-drenched Central Valley, which closely resembled their ancestral land of Punjab. However, at first the Gurdwara was built with wood in Holt, west of Stockton but the committee members could not afford the land. So, they shifted to build the temple at Stockton itself.

Inside the temple. Image Source : gurdwaar.com
Inside the temple. Image Source : gurdwaar.com

Today, the Gurdwara Sahib Stockton at 1930 S. Sikh Temple Street, remains open to all visitors, even the non-religious ones. It is a two-storied building with a beautiful chandeliered ceiling. They do not have any chairs or special sitting arrangements. The Sikhs, there, are very accommodating and ever so ready to share their food and culture with others. Their only request to anybody entering the temple is that they keep their shoes outside and cover their heads. Whoever is interested in getting a meal can get a taste of the ethnic Sikh cuisine at the Gurdwara, for free.

Even after so many years, the Sikhs in the U.S. have evidently kept in touch with their roots through the Gurdwara that their ancestors had built. Singh said to the Recordnet.com that the temple “is part of our life.”

-by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram.

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