Gurdwara Panja Sahib

The word 'Panja' in means an 'outstretched palm' from the word 'panj' which means 'five'.

Gurdwara Panja Sahib is associated with Guru Nanak Dev ji and is situated at Hasan Abdal, around 50 km from Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

It marks the spot where Guru Nanak Dev ji visited and instilled an important lesson for his adherents. Still visible is the sacred rock with the hand print of Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Guru Nanak Dev ji along with Bhai Mardana ji reached Hasan Abdal in 1521 in the summer season. Under a shady cool tree, Guru Nanak Dev ji and Bhai Mardana ji started reciting Kirtan and their devotees gathered around. This annoyed Baba Wali Qandhari.

Bhai Mardana ji was sent three times to Baba Wali Qandhari so that he would provide him with some water to quench his thirst. Wali Qandhari refused his request and was rude to him and angrily sent him back. Taunting him that why didn't they ask their Guru to produce water for him.

Baba Wali Qandhari had the advantage of having a spring of fresh water nearby. The spring was the only source of water for the people down below.

According to the story, Guru Nanak Dev ji told devotees not to despair and trust God and then, pointing to a large stone. The Guru ji put aside a big stone lying nearby and a pure fountain of water sprang up and began to flow endlessly. Bhai Mardana ji quenched his thirst and felt grateful to the Guru.

Baba Qandhari saw all this from the hilltop and was surprised and dismayed at the same time. But his dismay turned into shock and anger when he discovered that his own spring had meanwhile dried up.

On witnessing this, Wali in his rage threw part of a mountain, a huge rock towards the Guru from the top of the hill. The Guru stopped the hurled rock with his hand leaving his hand print in the rock. Observing that miracle, Wali became the Guru's devotee. This holy and revered place is now known as Panja Sahib.

The rock with the hand imprint is embedded today in the concrete structure of the Panja Sahib building complex. Clear, fresh spring water gushes out from somewhere behind the rock and spills over into a very large pool. A deep imprint of a right hand is clearly visible on the rock underneath the thin sheet of water flowing over it.

Next to the pool, on an elevated platform, stands a beautiful large Gurdwara built in the Mughal style by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Gurdwara houses the Guru Granth Sahib.

A large double storied hostel for the yatrees or pilgrims surrounds the courtyard, the pool and the Gurdwara. There are numerous plaques and signs announcing the names of the donors and miscellaneous directions in Gurmukhi, English and Urdu.

From the courtyard of the shrine one can easily see the hilltop where Baba Wali Qandhari camped and from where he is supposed have rolled the rock. A modern communication tower sprouts from the place now. The hilltop has also become a shrine named after Baba Kandhari and attracts many devotees from the surrounding area. Even Sikhs pilgrims to Panja Sahib trek up the hill, a distance of over one mile, to visit the shrine.

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