Guru Tegh Bahadur used to live at Bakala and had spent more than seven years (1656-64) in Assam, Bengal and Bihar. Guru Tegh Bahadur had spent some time at Talwandi Sabo and Dhamtan too.
In the middle of April 1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur made a visit to Kiratpur Sahib. When Guru Tegh Bahadur was still at Kiratpur, on 27th April 1665, Raja Deep Chand, the ruler of Bilaspur, died.
The Bilaspur ruler was a very devoted Sikh. On 10th May 1665, Guru Sahib went to Bilaspur to make last prayers for Raja Deep Chand. Guru Sahib stayed there till 13th May.
By this time Rani Champa had come to know that Guru Sahib had decided to move his headquarters to Dhamtan. This made Rani Champa despondent. Rani Champa approached Mata Nanaki (Guru Sahib's mother) and begged her to ask Guru Sahib not to move far away from Bilaspur State.
Mata Nanaki could not resist helping a sentimental Rani Champa. Mata Ji requested Guru Sahib to fulfil Rani's desire. When Guru Sahib agreed, Rani Champa offered to donate some land to Guru Sahib so that he might established a new town. Guru Sahib decided to set up new town but refused to accept a donation of the land.
The site of the city of Anandpur Sahib on the lower spurs of Shivalak hills, was purchased by Guru Tegh Bahadur on a payment of rupees five hundred. Guru Tegh Bahadur selected a piece of land in between the villages of Lodipur, Mianpur and Sahota and paid regular price for the same. Rani Champa hesitatingly accepted the price of the land but her joy new no bounds at the thought that Guru Ji had chosen to establish his headquarters near Bilaspur State.
The site chosen by Guru Sahib, around the ruins of the ancient village of Makhowal, was very remarkable from a strategic point of view as it was surrounded by the river Satlej on one side as well as having hills and forest surrounding it as well.
Chak Nanaki as the area became known was named after Guru Ji's mother. It proved to be a peaceful zone for meditation as well as for arts and intellectual activities.
At the time it seemed safe from military interference and disturbances. The Sikhs had experienced Mughal invasions at Amritsar and Kartarpur in 1634 and 1635. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib had participated in these battles. Though Kiratpur Sahib had remained safe from Mughal attacks, the possibility always existed because Aurangzeb was sitting on the Delhi throne and he was known for his fanaticism.
Thus, the site selected for new town had a special importance. In 1665, the river Satlej used to flow through the present city of Anandpur Sahib (now it flows near Kiratpur Sahib). Kiratpur Sahib was also a strategic place. It was surrounded by Satlej on one side, river Sirsa on the other side and a chain of hills on the third side.
Similarly, the site of Chak Nanaki was a great choice. It had the protection of Charn Ganga stream on two sides and river Satlej on the third. Towards the hills-side there were thick bushes and trees. Long long ago, it was covered in dense forest filled with herds of wild elephants and other animals. Then, this area was known as Hathaut (literally: abode of elephants).
The area or Chak Nanaki was a peaceful zone. Besides, it was fertile land which could easily yield two crops annually. Hence, the new city was capable of becoming a self-sufficient city-state. Guru Sahib's selection of the land was highly appreciated by Rani Champa and the Sikhs. The Bilaspur elite were exceptionally happy because the presence of a Sikh city-state on the borders of Bilaspur State and the Mughal territory meant increased safety for Bilaspur and its associate States.
There are four Gurdwara Sahib's situated as part of a very small 50 metre complex within Anandpur.
The foundation stone of the new town was laid down by Bhai Gurditta (great-grandson of Baba Buddha), on 19th June 1665 at the present site of Gurdwara Guru Ka Mehal. The first prayers were made by Diwan Dargah Mall. Guru Tegh Bahadur named the new town Chak Nanaki after his mother Mata Nanaki. Guru Sahib spent the next three months at Chak Nanaki. During this period a couple of houses had been built for the visitors to the Sikh City.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was unable to visit Chak Nanaki for the next six and a half years, as he was away on a missionary journey to Assam, Bengal and Bihar (January 1666 to March 1670. After this, he spent about one and a half year at Bakala (now Baba Bakala).
In March 1672 Guru Sahib and his family moved to Chak Nanaki and finally established it as his headquarters. It was from this village that the great Guru of peace set out on his mission on behalf of the Pandits of Kashmir, which ended with his martyrdom on 11th November 1675.
Gurdwara Guru Ka Mahal was built by Guru Tegh Bahadur as his home and it was here that the three youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh were born.
There is a basement room underneath the Gurdwara Guru Ka Mehal where Guru Tegh Bahadur and his family would pray, this is known as Gurdwara Sri Bhora Sahib.
A 1.5 metre square and half a metre high platform in the middle of the present basement marks the site of the original bhora. The Guru Granth Sahib is now seated on a platform on the ground floor.
This is the location where Guru Tegh Bahadur made his son, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru.
The Thara Sahib, a half metre high, square platform (five by five metres), paved in marble, stands in the open space in front of Damdama Sahib. The location where Guru Ji would sit listen to the Sangat, teach them and meet visitors.
This was also the location where Pandit Kripa Ram Dutt along with about 500 Kashmiri Pandits (on 25th May 1675) begged Guru Tegh Bahadur to save them and their religion (hinduism) in the face of mughal tyranny.
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