Meaning "the house of the guru", what name is given to a Sikh place of worship?
Gurdwara is a place of worship or temple in the Sikh religion. In the gurdwara, Sikh scriptures are recited or sung, and sermons are given. Birth, death, baptism, and marriage ceremonies also take place in the gurdwara. The 'Guru Granth Sahib', the Sikh holy book, is usually placed at one end of the gurdwara under a canopy.
A gurdwara is a place where people can develop spiritual knowledge and wisdom, and is open to everyone, of every age, sex, and caste. All men, women and children are treated as equals. The gurdwara also offers shelter and food to anyone in need and helps care for the sick, elderly, and disabled.
As well as learning about and promoting Sikhism, the gurdwara is a place where people can talk about problems facing the Sikh community, however, it is expected to be free from any politics and remain unaffiliated with any political parties.
When visiting a Gurdwara, a strict protocol must be followed. Items containing tobacco, liquor, or narcotics are banned from the building. Before entering the gurdwara, people must take off their shoes, wash their hands, and cover their head. This also applies to non-Sikhs, who are visiting the building. During a service or celebration, men sit on one side and women on the other in a cross-legged position. Talking or whispering without permission is not allowed. The word 'gurdwara' means "place of the Guru", therefore, it is an extremely holy place and must be treated with respect.