Visiting a Gurdwara

  • Gurdwaras are Sikh places of worship.
  • Gurdwaras are open to all, irrespective of faith. Everyone is welcome.
  • Shoes should be removed prior to entry and feet washed if dirty.
  • Visitors should cover their heads.
  • No visitor should enter a Gurdwara drunk or carrying alcohol or tobacco.
  • Sikhs will bow to the Guru Granth Sahib as soon as they enter the Gurdwara and then place an offering.
  • People sit on the floor in a Gurdwara facing Guru Granth Sahib. There are no cushions or seats. Feet should not be pointed towards the Guru Granth Sahib. Men and women normally sit separately in the gurdwara.
  • Karah parshad is served and taken at the conclusion of a Gurdwara service. This is a ceremonial pudding made from butter, sugar, and flour.
  • Sikh services include the singing of hymns (kirtan), sermons or talks, prayer and a random reading from the Guru Granth Sahib (hukam).
  • The word Waheguru ("Praise to the Guru" in Punjabi) is commonly spoken in prayer. This is used in the same way as "amen" would be used in a Christian or Jewish service for example.
  • Sikh worship can be led by any Sikh sufficiently knowledgeable and competent, male or female.
  • All Gurdwaras serve langar, which is food from a free community kitchen. Only vegetarian food (including no fish or eggs) is provided, enabling any visitor, no matter what their dietary customs and restrictions, to be able to eat and share in a meal.