"Takht" or "Takhata" literally translates to a throne or a seat of authority. It is a direct result of the great historical growth of Sikhism, which is the primary religion in the northern regions of India. That said, Sikhs have made an impact not only across India, but also across the world.
There are 5 Takhts, and these Takhts are the 5 gurudwaras that have an extremely special significance and importance for the entire Sikh community.
The first Takht (and easily the most important one) was founded by Guru Hargobind in the year 1609. It is known as the “Akal Takht” or Throne of the Timeless God. It is located just opposite the gate that leads to the Harmandir Sahib – The Golden Temple, Amritsar.
Whereas the Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is a symbol of Sikh spiritual guidance, the Akal Takht is a symbol of the dispenser of justice and temporal activity. It is the Khalsa community’s highest seat of temporal authority and the seat of the earthly authority of the Sikh religion. Here, the Guru established his court and decided on matters of political policy and military strategy.
Later, the “Sikh Nation” or the “Sarbat Khalsa” took crucial decisions there on matters of war and peace as well as settled disputes between diverse Sikh groups.
The Sarangi sisters sung ballads composed by the Sikh Gurus as well as warriors at this place, and “saropas” or robes of honour were awarded to individuals who contributed exemplary and distinguished services to the community of men, generally.
From the start of December 2010, the plush Deccan Odyssey Train, which was taken on charter from the Maharashtra government, commenced with an aim to cover a journey across the 4 Sikh Takhts, along with a flight by the devout and sightseers to the 5th Takht, which is Takht Sri Patna Sahib. A special and exclusive train, which was named Pani Takht Special train, set out for a pilgrimage of the 5 Sikh Takhts, which was flagged off on February 16, 2014.
Akal Takht Sahib also means “eternal throne.” It is also an integral part of the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar. The Takht is located opposite to the Golden Temple, and both are connected by a passage. The edifice of the Akal Takht has a special meaning, when it comes to dispensing justice. In previous years, all warriors of the Sikh community sought blessings at this place before entering battlefields. During the 18th century, when Sikhs were engaged in a guerrilla warfare in the dense forests, they would gather at the Akal Takht on special festive occasions, such as Vaisakhi. Here, the commune would conduct general meetings as well as approve resolutions. The Akal Takht is the first Takht to be established among the 5 Takhts, making it the oldest.
Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib is located at Anandpur Sahib. This Takht is the true birthplace of the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Order of the Khalsa at this place in 1699. Some of the weapons used by Guru Gobind Singh Ji are on display here.
This Takht is also known as Talwandi Sabo and is located in the village of the same name near Bhatinda, in Punjab. Guru Gobind Singh Ji resided here for nearly a year and compiled the last edition of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is also called the “Damdama Sahib Bir” in 1705.
This Takht is situated in the city of Patna, which is also the state of Bihar’s capital. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born here in 1666, and he spent the initial phase of his childhood here, before migrating to Anandpur Sahib. Besides being Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthplace, the city of Patna was also visited by Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji, at different points in time. This place also played host to the mother of Guru Gobind Singh Ji – Mata Gujri Ji (at the house of “Salis Rai Jaohri”)
In the state of Maharashtra, Nanded is a place of immense historical importance and lies in the Marathwada region. It is situated on the northern bank of the River Godavari, in the south-eastern region of Maharashtra that borders Telangana. It is renowned for its Sikh gurudwaras. Nanded is a city of great antiquity. In the year 1708, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Guru of the Sikh religion migrated to Nanded, which served as his permanent abode. It was He who advocated among the Sikhs that there was no need for any further “human Guru” for Sikhism after Him, and they should consider the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as their “living” Guru. A monument has been erected at the spot where Guru Gobind Singh Ji left his earthly body. A gurudwara has also been built there. It is known as Sri Huzur Abchalnagar Sachkhand Gurudwara.