52 Churches 52 Weeks

Worship Exploration Journey

Week 19 – Nishkam Seva Gurdwara Shahib – Sikh Temple


Fascinating, reverent, cultural, colorful, and comfortable. These are just a few words that come to mind when I reflect back on our experience today at the Sikh Temple at 51st Avenue and the 101. You may recognize the gold exterior next time you drive by on the 101. Because the service was held in Hindi, I don’t have much to contribute other than what I saw, smelled, felt and heard.

The Temple is wonderful in a simple, yet comfortable way. Shoes are left at the doors, people enter in bare feet. There is a foot bath area to clean yourself with. Chanting, lots of sing-song chanting. The smell of tandori and curry lunch. The big wide open space of the worship hall. Men on the left, women and children on the right. Heads covered with elegant scarves. A long red path through the center to the altar. Heads bowed, worshippers kneel in prayer. Pink, white, sparkles, glitter, chants and prayers. Heavenly carpet under your feet. Worshippers sit on on this carpet, legs folded or wrapped underneath. The wall, the coveted position. Incredible silk of every color – a delight to the eyes and senses. I need a Sari. The chant ends. The music begins. People wander in and out – the service is very fluid. Prayers flash on screens – English and Hindi. The hall fills up with the faithful. So amazingly different for us.

This is a place where I wish, wish, wish I could have taken photos. We were “on time” which really wasn’t necessary and over the course of a couple of hours the hall filled with colors so vibrant, so beautiful. The altar was covered in shimmery pink with iridescent white and gold. The fabrics, simply amazing. You will have to just go see for yourself. Bring a beautiful scarf and be prepared to sit on the plush carpet! If you forget a scarf – they do have extra at the door.

Mimi and Candace wandered out to play with the children. Everyone was so welcoming to them. They learned that Sikhs are from the Punjab region of Northern India. On our way out a nice man stopped to chat and told us that Sikh means “to learn” and that they believe in one God and that everyday they are learning. Their web site tells us a Sikh is a disciple or a student, who is engaged in learning higher truths of life, he who believes in one Universal God, he who loves all people whatever their race or faith and judges them by their deeds.

I am learning too. A fascinating day.

I am having a lot of trouble with the link but the address is 4950 W. Tonopah Drive in Glendale. I will try another day to add it in. Here is a link to learn more about Sikhism: http://www.religionfacts.com/sikhism/index.htm


4 thoughts on “Week 19 – Nishkam Seva Gurdwara Shahib – Sikh Temple

  1. I always wondered what that building was

  2. Thank you kindly for visitng one of our Sikh Gurdwaras. A few tiny tiny corrections:

    RE ‘In the title it is listed as Shahib’ – It is Sahib

    RE ‘It is listed that the services are held in Hindi’. & ‘Prayers flash on screens – English and Hindi.’ That is not correct. We are not Hindus. The services are in Gurmukhi, the language of the Sikh Guru’s. The word ‘Gurmukhi’ literally means from the mouth of the Guru. Gurmukhi has some similarities to older Indian scripts of the times, but it’s thirty five characters and vowel modifiers were standardized by Guru Angad, the second of ten Sikh Gurus.

    RE ‘Chanting, lots of sing-song chanting’ Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru and the founder of the Sikh religion, established the first Gurdwara (Sikh House of Worship) in the early 1500’s in India. The Gurdwaras were founded as places where the sangat (Sikh religious congregation) could come together to worship as a community by reciting and reflecting upon the hymns contained in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh sacred writings and living Guru). The Sikh religious service is centered on the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and kirtan, which is the singing of God’s Name, and ends with a collective community prayer, order of the day, sharing of blessed food, and a community meal. People from all walks of life and faiths are alwasy welcome to attend.

    Again thank you for visiting and taking the time to build bridges of understanding and connection.

    GuruRoop Kaur

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