Gurdwara (the door or the gateway to the Guru) is the name given to the Sikh place of worship. The Sikh scriptures are recited or sung and sermons are delivered. Guru Granth Sahib is placed on high palanquin under a canopy in the middle of one end of the hall. As well as sermons and the singing of the scriptures, the congregation is expected to participate in the ceremonies of birth, baptism, marriage, death and celebration of festivals.
The Gurdwara is a place for acquiring spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It is open to everyone regardless of their faith, age, sex, caste, or creed. Here all men, women and children are treated as equal. It offers shelter and food to anyone in need. It provides care for the sick, elderly and handicapped.
It is also a centre for promoting culture and health. Moral education, as well as knowledge of religion and history, is often taught to children in the Sikh temple. The Gurdwara is also a place for discussing problems facing the Sikh community. The Gurdwara plays a socio-economic role in the Sikh community. It is expected to be free from any sectional interests or party politics.
The Gurdwara is a place of worship so the following etiquette should be observed when attending:
- Meat or intoxicants (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs etc.) are not permitted on the Gurdwara premises.
- Heads should be covered at all time (head coverings are available in the entrance foyer).
- Shoes should be removed before entering the Divan or Langar Hall and placed in the designated areas.
- Dress modestly when attending the Gurdwara.