Guru Granth Sahib Ji
The Living Guru
Golden Temple
A holy place of great beauty and sublime peacefulness.
Sikh House of Worship
One of the largest in London.


The Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak in the late 15th century C.E. in the Punjab region of what are today India and Pakistan. According to Sikh beliefs, the same revelatory spirit inhabited Guru Nanak and his nine successors. Today, this spirit can be found in the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib, the foundational scripture of the Sikh tradition. The Guru Granth Sahib’s hymns describe and praise God, and provide moral guidance for all Sikhs. Sikhs reject ideas of divine incarnations, and hold that liberation results from being absorbed into God. Sikhs also reject the social doctrine of caste, and adhere to practices of equality in worship and life. They believe in one supreme being (monotheism). The centers of Sikh worship are known as gurudwaras (“house of the Guru”) and langar (communal refectory). All Sikhs must enter a gurudwara with bare feet and a covered head. A Sikh worship service includes prayer and singing hymns from scripture. The service is concluded by the distribution of karah prasad, a sacramental food made of flour, butter, and raw sugar that is shared by all to demonstrate equality and the rejection of caste. Sikhs attempt to live balanced lives of worship, work, and charity centered on community. Besides gurudwara worship, festivals are also important community activities.

Ek Onkar
Ek OnkarGod is One.

The Sikh Identity

An important part of a Sikh’s identity are the Five Ks,—or the Panj Kakaar—which are five items of faith that display and show the wearer’s conviction to the Master. In addition to the five articles of faith, the Khanda is the most recognizable emblem of the Sikh faith, symbolizing the three pillars of Sikh belief. All these articles are a constant reminder of the adorner’s love for the high principles set by their Leader and Commander-in-Chief, faith in the Khalsa, and deep conviction to Satguru – the “timeless true Guru.” They teach the significance of putting the values of the Khalsa above one’s personal and materialist needs and the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the value set by the Sikh Gurus. These symbols give Sikhs a unique identity signifying discipline and spirituality.

Kesh: Uncut Hair

Throughout history hair (kesh) has been regarded as a symbol both of holiness and strength. One's hair is part of God's creation. Keeping hair uncut indicates that one is willing to accept God's gift as God intended it.

Kara: Sikh Bracelet

The Kara is made of steel, rather than gold or silver, because it is not an ornament. It acts as a reminder that a Sikh should not do anything of which the Guru would not approve. It is a symbol of restraint and gentility.

Kanga: A Wooden Comb

This symbolizes a clean mind and body since it keeps the uncut hair neat and tidy. It represents the importance of looking after the body which God has created because it is one's vehicle for enlightenment .

Kachera: A Special Underwear

This is a pair of breeches that must not come below the knee. It was a particularly useful garment for Sikh warriors of the 18th and 19th centuries, being very suitable for warfare when riding a horse. It is a symbol of chastity.

Kirpan: A Ceremonial Sword

This is a symbol of spirituality and the constant struggle of good and morality over the forces of evil and injustice, both on a individual as well as social level. Wearing it is meant to inspire a Sikh in their daily life.

Khanda: Symbol of Sikhism

The Khanda represents knowledge of divinity and the creative power of God. The circle around the Khanda is the Chakar, which symbolizes the perfection of God who is eternal. The crossed swords, or Kirpans, called Piri and Miri, symbolize spiritual and temporal (earthly) power in balance.

Interesting Facts

Hover your mouse over the columns to learn more about one of the world’s largest religion.

The Turban

The Sikh Turban uses approximately 15 feet of cloth that is wrapped neatly around the head every time it is put on. It is a statement of belonging to the Guru and one of the inner commitment of the individual who wears it. The uncut hair and the turban are a declaration to live in accordance with the Teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

5th Largest Religion in the World

There are about 23 million Sikhs worldwide, making Sikhism the 5th largest religion in the world. Approximately 19 million Sikhs live in India, primarily in the state of Punjab. Large populations of Sikhs can also be found in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

A Kitchen That Feeds Thousands for Free

The kitchen at the Golden Temple—the holiest shrine in Sikhism—feeds up to 100,000 people a day for free. At the langar (the kitchen), food is served to all visitors regardless of faith or background. It never runs out, and no one is ever turned away.


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