Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, created the Khalsa, the “alliance of the pure” in 1699. When a Sikh comes of age or is ready for a greater level of commitment, he or she joins the Khalsa through the special initiation known as “taking amrit.” Initiated Sikhs wear five signs of their new identity and acquire a new name. Singh for men and Kaur for women.

Guru Ram Das

The fourth of the ten Sikh Gurus, Ram Das served as Guru from 1574 to 1581. He is primarily known for establishing the town of Ramdaspur, later known as Amritsar, in the Punjab.


The granthi is the custodian of the book (granth). In the Sikh tradition, the granthi cares for the Adi Granth by maintaining the gurdwara and seeing to the daily observances in the special room where the sacred book is housed. He may also lead the chanting and singing of its hymns during services. The term is also used by the Ravidas sect.


Amritsar is the city in the Punjab in northwest India that is the historical and spiritual center of the Sikh tradition. In 1574 the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, established the town and had the “Lake of Nectar,” Amritsar, dug at its center. The magnificent temple called the Darbar Sahib, popularly known as the “Golden Temple,” was built on an island in the middle of this Lake of Nectar.

Being Black & Sikh

September 17, 2019

I'm Afrodhari And Im Proud

“An Afro-what?!”

Yes, you read that right. An Afrodhari. It’s an imaginary word I use to address myself to acknowledge I’m both an Amritdhari and have natural hair. Of course, I don’t use this word with others though cause I know most just won’t get it. But what does this have to do with anything? Well, let me tell you.

The Five K’s and the Courts

The five ks and the courtsWearing uncut hair (kes) covered with a turban and carrying the symbolic knife (kirpan) are two of the five emblems of Sikh initiation into the Khalsa, the Sikh sacred community. In the United States, Sikhs have defended the right to wear these symbols of faith with varying results. Many judicial cases require parties to strike a balance between an individual’s right of free exercise, and questions of safety, government interest, and/or undue hardship on an organization.... Read more about The Five K’s and the Courts

Sikhism Post 9/11

Following 9/11, there was an increase in hate crimes and discrimination against Sikhs across the United States, which led to the formation of national Sikh advocacy groups and organizations. More local initiatives seeking to educate the public about Sikhism and build relationships with non-Sikh community members also emerged.... Read more about Sikhism Post 9/11

America or Khalistan?

After the Indian army attacked the sacred Sikh Golden Temple and killed thousands of Sikhs in 1984, the call for an independent Sikh nation, Khalistan, gained significant traction in the Sikh community both in Punjab and abroad. A desire for independence has been present throughout Sikh history, but the events of 1984 brought the issue to the fore for many Sikhs. In gurdwaras throughout the United States, addressing the issues surrounding Khalistan is  balanced with addressing the issues of how to maintain a Sikh community in the United States.... Read more about America or Khalistan?

Growing Up Sikh

Growing Up SikhMany Sikh children find themselves the only Sikhs in their schools and neighborhoods. The American Sikh community provides youth programming at gurdwaras and summer camps for Sikh youth from different towns and cities to meet and gather. Online communities also provide spaces for Sikh youth to connect.... Read more about Growing Up Sikh

The Festival of Baisakhi

Baisakhi is a joyous festival that takes place at the time of the traditional spring harvest in Punjab. In addition to the usual rites that take place at the gurdwara, Baisakhi is also the time of year when Sikhs raise the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag. In the United States, the festival is usually the best attended event of the year, so events such as “taking amrit” (electing gurdwara officials) often coincide with Baisakhi.... Read more about The Festival of Baisakhi

The Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth SahibThe Guru Granth Sahib is the authoritative sacred text for Sikhs. It contains 3,000 hymns in various languages, with authors from multiple religious traditions. These hymns are sung during worship services held at the gurdwara, where the Guru Granth Sahib is displayed. The Guru Granth Sahib is itself considered the living Sikh guru, the final central authority over the Sikh community.... Read more about The Guru Granth Sahib

Langar: The Communal Meal

Langar: The Communal MealLangar is the communal meal shared by all who come to the gurdwara, and it has been a part of Sikh community since the time of Guru Nanak. Attendees all sit at an equal level on the floor and eat the same food, prepared in the same pots. In this way, langar serves as a ritualistic expression of the equality of all humans.... Read more about Langar: The Communal Meal