Nankana Sahib is a primary city and capital of the District of Nankana Sahib, located in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. It gets its name from Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs, who was born in this city and who began preaching here first. Presently, the city is of tremendous historical importance and religious value. Moreover, it is an extremely popular pilgrimage site for Sikhs from all across the world. The city is located nearly 80 km west of Lahore and 75 km to the east of Faisalabad. The city’s population is roughly 70,000.
The township was first founded by Rai Bhoi, who was a rich landlord and a Rajput Muslim. The city was thus known as Rai-Bhoi-Di-Talwandi. His great-grandson, Rai Bular Bhatti, renamed the city as “Nankana Sahib,” following Guru Nanak’s birth. The original Gurdwara was constructed in around 1600 CE and was subsequently renovated in the years 1819 to 1820 by Gian-Punjab Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia.
During the movement by the Akalis, on February 20, 1921, the Udasi mahant or clergy of the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, Narain Das, ordered his troops to open fire on Akali protestors, which lead to a Nankana massacre. The firing was condemned from all quarters, and an agitation was subsequently launched till the eventual control of this historic Janam Asthan Gurdwara was restored to the Sikh community. What’s more, in the 1930s and 40s, the Sikhs added further buildings with extraordinary architectural design.
Migration of Indians and Pakistanis was continuous post 1947. By the 1900s, Western Punjab had a predominantly Muslim population, which supported the Muslim League and ultimately the Pakistan Movement. Post-independence, in 1947, the Sikhs and Hindus, who were in minority, migrated to India, whereas the Muslim refugees from the Indian side of the border settled in Western Punjab and other areas in Pakistan.
Nankana Sahib and its total surroundings were in prior times a “tehsil” of Sheikhupura District. In the year 2005, the provincial government elevated the status of Nankana Sahib to a district as a means of promotion of development in the area. Presently, the District of Nankana Sahib has three distinct tehsils: Sangla Hill, Shah Kot, and obviously Nankana Sahib. Prior to December 2008, the District also included Safdarabad Tehsil.
There are plans to construct a 100-acre university along with hospitals as well as healthcare facilities by the District Government with the local communities’ mutual interest as well as those of the family of Rai Bular.
In the year 2007, the Government of Pakistan announced a grand plan of setting up a University on Sikh culture and religion at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
This was the intriguing story of the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara.