Gurdwara Sri Mata Jito is in remembrance of Mata Jito, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji's wife.
Mata Jito, the daughter of Bhai Ram Saran, was married to Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur on 4th April 1684.
The father-in-law had desired that the bridegroom should come at the head of a marriage party to Lahore where the ceremony should be performed with due dignity.
The fateful events leading to the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur intervened, and in the changed circumstances it was not possible for the young Guru to go to Lahore.
Therefore a temporary encampment was raised near the village of Basantgarh, 10 km north of Anandpur, and named Guru Ka Lahore where the nuptials were held on 23 Har 1734 Bikarmi/ 21st June 1684.
Mata Jito Ji became Mata Sundri Ji after marriage as was the custom in Punjabi families.
On 30th March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh created Khalsa at Anandpur. He declared that this Khalsa will be both Saints as well as Soldiers. When Gobind Singh was preparing amrit (nectar) for initiating the Khalsa, on this occasion , stirring clean water in an iron bowl with a khanda or double-edged sword, Mata Sundri Ji, as the tradition goes, came with sugar crystals (Patasha) which were dropped into the vessel at the Guru's bidding. Sweetness was thus added to the alchemy of steel. Mata Sundri Ji was the first Khalsa Woman.
Four sons were born to Mata Sundri, Baba Ajit Singh, Baba Jujhar Singh (14 March 1691), Baba Zorawar Singh (17 November 1696) and Baba Fateh Singh (25 February 1699). Mata Sundri Ji raised her four sons on the martyrdom tales of their grandfather Guru Tegh Bahadur and great great grandfather Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji. She told them a Sikh never runs from a battle field.
The impression that the Guru had more than one wife was created by those writers who were ignorant of Punjabi culture. Later other authors accepted the original writings indicating more than one marriage of the Guru and presented it as a royal act. During those day's kings, chiefs, and other important people usually had more than one wife as a symbol of their being great and superior to the common man. Guru Gobind Singh, being a true king, was justified in their eyes to have had more than one wife. This is actually incorrect.
In Punjab, there are two and sometimes three big functions connected with marriage, i.e., engagement, wedding, and Muklawa. Big gatherings and singings are held at all these three functions. In many cases, the engagement was held as soon as the person had passed the infant stage. Even today engagements at 8 to 12 years of age are not uncommon in some interior parts of India. The wedding is performed a couple of years after the engagement. After the wedding, it takes another couple of years for the bride to move in with her in laws and live there. This is called Muklawa. A dowry and other gifts to the bride are usually given at this time of this ceremony to help her to establish a new home. Now, the wedding and Muklawa are performed on the same day and only when the partners are adults.
A big befitting function and other joyful activities were held at Anandpur, according to custom, at the time of the engagement of the Guru. The bride, Mata Jito Ji, resided at Lahore, which was the capital of the Mughal rulers who were not on good terms with the Gurus. When the time for the marriage ceremony came, it was not considered desirable for the Guru to go to Lahore, along with the armed Sikhs in large numbers. Furthermore, it would involve a lot of traveling and huge expenses, in addition to the inconvenience to the Sangat, younger and old, who wished to witness the marriage of the Guru.
Therefore, as mentioned in the Sikh chronicles, Lahore was 'brought' to Anandpur Sahib for the marriage instead of the Guru going to Lahore. A scenic place a couple of miles to the north of Anandpur was developed into a nice camp for the marriage. This place was named Guru Ka Lahore. Today, people are going to Anandpur visit this place as well. The bride was brought to this place by her parents and the marriage was celebrated with a very huge gathering attending the ceremony.
The two elaborate functions, one at the time of engagement and the other at the time of the marriage of the Guru, gave the outside observers the impression of two marriages. They had reason to assume this because a second name was also there, i.e., Mata Sundri Ji. After the marriage, there is a custom in the Punjab of giving a new affectionate name to the bride by her in-laws. Mata Jito Ji, because of her fine features and good looks, was named Sundri (beautiful) by the Guru's mother. The two names and two functions gave a basis for outsiders to believe that the Guru had two wives. In fact, the Guru had one wife with two names as explained above.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors