ABOUT GURUNANAK DARBAR, DUBAI
Construction of Guru Nanak Darbar
In June 2010, foundations were laid for the Guru Nanak Darbar with all Sikh ceremonies. The-unimaginable has happened. Guru Nanak Darbar was to rise from the sands of Dubai, making it the first 'official' Sikh temple in the whole of Gulf. A historic moment for Sikh community. Now there would be a Gurdwara for solemnizing marriages and holding other religious ceremonies. One can't surpass the Golden Temple but efforts were to build one of the most modern Gurudwara in the world. The dream of the Community was to make it the best after Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Temple was to be the sacred marker of the faith, its repository and its most concrete symbol. It was the permanent spiritual home of the Sikhs. A place where all might gather to worship the One True God.
The internationally reputed Dubai based architect firm Holford Associates has designed the Dubai Gurudwara. Holdford Associates already has to its credit over 20 churches, four mosques and one temple. Consultancy was also sought from Richard Adams of UK, who was involved with the Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara on the Havelock Road in Southall, London. Before awarding the contract, the architects were sent on a tour to visit the Gurudwaras around the world, find each one's imperfection and make a perfect Gurudwara. A masterpiece that will serve the needs of the community. Paul Bishop and designer Arafeh Bashir visited the Golden Temple and studied frescoes and wall painting at Sri Harmandar Sahib. It took two years for the architectural firms to give shape to the three storied structure built over 12, 5000 sq. ft. Construction work of Guru Nanak Darbar was started from May 2008 and got completed in December 2011. No compromise was made in its construction. The contractor was told that the Community wanted a 100-year guarantee for the building for the future generations to utilise it.
Guru Nanak Darbar Dubai is the first gurudwara in the world to receive ISO Certifications for following management areas :
- ISO 9000 - Quality Management Standard
- ISO 14000 - Environmental Management Standard
- ISO 18000 - Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard
- ISO 22000 - Food Safety Management Standard
The ultra-modern Gurudwara is a rare piece of architectural design- A blend of modern and traditional building style. Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar is the manifestation of this Truth. It envelopes all within its warm embrace, irrespective of caste or creed – bringing peace,solace, hope for one and all. The profusion of designs-the balance of colours-the rhythm and sparkle of the ornaments-the variety of textures-all come together in a perfect synthesis. While the eye is caught by the incredible detail, on which its gaze cannot help but linger, it is the sum of the whole that really evokes the splendor of the Temple. It is both a celebration of life, and a monument to the glory of the One Who created it, a shrine of grandeur with a sense of homely peace.
Standing apart from the church complex, the beige coloured Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Sahib has three levels of underground car parks, and two floors above ground. Each basement is measured 25,000 square feet that can contain parking space for up to 140 cars. As you step through the sacred portico, its sublime beauty catches the eye and captures the senses. There are three floors-The 21,000 square feet ground floor houses the dining hall, Kitchen, Pantry and store rooms. The reception desk and Gurdwara office are also on the ground floor. There are plenty of convenience rooms for gents and ladies. Proper shoe storage or Jora Ghar facilities are available in several areas since shoes are not allowed to be worn in the Gurudwara. There is a headscarf stand – as both men and women must cover their heads inside the Gurudwara. There are 35 full time staff and dozens of volunteers who help at busy times. On the exterior of the Gurdwara Sahib, there is a 54 meter Parikarma covered with traditional grill work. The water body flowing around the road frontage is inspired by the Sarovar of the Golden Temple. It casts a surreal reflection of the building facade with the cascade feature lending the sound of flowing water. There are two main entrances to the complex, one from each access road.
On entering the building, one is in awe of its sheer grandeur and the attention to detail-The grand staircase is designed to hold a huge traffic of people going up and down. It is flattered by tall windows radiating natural light from stained glass that perfectly magnifies space. The Gurudwara Sahib is designed to cater the special needs of senior citizens. There are elevators too for the elderly and physically challenged.
The pillar-less Prayer Hall on the first floor has two doors leading into it. Ornate 24-carat gold canopies for the Guru Granth Sahib. Italian marble on the walls and floor. And stunning chandeliers from Murano, Italy. The floor is carpeted with a beautiful soft purple carpet where all devotees sit facing the platform. In the middle of the hall is a raised platform, about one meter above the floor, with carved gold-plated pillars on all fours sides. Above the platform is gold-plated lotus-shaped dome. Inside this gold plated dome is lined with a piece of cloth having a gold lace at the edge around it, giving a royal symbol.
Placed on the platform, is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Ever since it’s “Prakash” - Sri Harmandar Sahib has always had a Chandoa Sahib – a canopy – over Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is covered by several Rumala Sahibs or square pieces of cloth. Chandoa literally means a cover with the inscription of a moon on it. It has its origin in Islamic culture. In Sikhism, Sri Guru Granth Sahib represents the Almighty; hence a Chandoa is used as a matter of respect. Sitting on the platform is the Granthi Singh or the Giani, who while reading from the Holy Granth also, uses a Chaur Sahib -Yak hair or manmade fiber embedded in a metal placed with a wooden handle. This is waved over the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a symbol of respect. Towards the right of this platform, is a slightly raised platform used for Kirtan singings and for giving religious lectures. The Ragis or the singers in the temple, who perform in the prayer hall on rotation, are hired from India. All day long the sanctum reverberates with the sounds of the Gurbani (Hymns). A sense of calm descends as strains of shabads, fill the air. Each day, devotees throng here in thousands to pay their respect to their Guru.
There are chairs around the outside of the room for the elderly and impaired. These are set below the main ground so no person is sitting higher than the Platform where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed;
The 7.2 meter soaring ceiling is elegantly crowned by the astounding 18 meter diameter dome roof. The column free hall is surrounded in circular form by the classical arch windows. These windows give lots of natural light during the day – thereby conserving on energy. One will be left in pure reverence and feel grandeur in experiencing the ambience of the hall.
And the first Shabad on the left hand page of Guru Ji is the 'Hukumnama' filled with the spiritual wisdom or answer that you require.
Services for devotees
To develop religious values among the next generation of Sikhs in the diaspora, special three-hour sessions are held for children on Saturdays at the Gurdwara where they are taught Punjabi, Kirtan and Gurdara protocol. There are already 55 children attending these classes. Most families are sending their children for kirtan classes. When you are out of your home country, the desire is to connect to your roots becomes stronger. Thus it’s very important children to know about their culture in a foreign land. Gurbani Santhiya Classes are also held at Gurdwara Sahib for Adults. Santhiya is the correct pronunciation of Gurbani, taught in the manner of how The 10th Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted all to read and pronounce the Holy Shabads.
- Akhand Path sahib.
- Sehaj Path.
- Sukhmani Sahib Path.
- Child Naming Ceremony.
- Child Amrit Ceremony.
- Anand Karaj - Wedding Ceremony.
- Matrimonial Services.
- House Warming Prayer.
- Birthday or Anniversary Prayer.
- Condolence or Memorial Prayer.
- Meditation Room
- Kirtan Classes
- Gurbani Santhiya Classes
Most of the blue-collar workers in UAE aren’t with their families. For them it’s a great place to come and meet people. It's a place for the community to get together and enjoy religious harmony.