challenges · Heritage

Make A Wish At The Aeroplane Gurudwara in Punjab, India

So what connects a miniature airplane to a gurudwara (a place of worship for the Sikhs) in Jalandhar ?

This particular gurudwara goes by the name of Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara except it is also referred to as the ‘Hawai Jahaz (aeroplane) Gurudwara’.

Intriguing, right? A bit of online research and …voila!

So there is an urban legend associated with it. You make a wish here to go abroad and your visa comes through without a hitch. You board a plane and fly across the blue sky to your destination.

Collage of the aeroplane Gurudwara in Jalandhar , Punjab
Dreams of travel come true!

Does it work?

Your guess is as good as mine. The legend though, remains strong. Oh! Also, when your wish comes true, you must gift a toy airplane to the gurudwara.

Bizarre, right? Well, that’s the story.

I was curious. I suppose that made me determined to visit this place while I was in Jalandhar, recently.

Honestly, I didn’t know what I would find.

I was in rural Punjab, a scene straight out of an old Bollywood film. There was a functional tubewell too with water gushing into channels, that wound along dusty paths into the fields of green.

Green fields and a tube well in Punjab
Green serene!

I certainly did not expect to see an ordinary place of worship, dazzling white in the sun, standing in the middle of nowhere.

Where in the world were the miniature planes? I mean, there was nothing to pinpoint that my research was true. Even the building did not have any structure remotely connected to aircrafts.

I did see the nearby shops selling toy aircrafts among other brightly coloured knickknacks. Was this tale a hoax so that people could visit this nondescript place?

I walked all around the gurudwara, paid my respects, queued for prasad. Finally I climbed to the second floor to a hall packed with people.

I had never seen such colourful fans, spinning away. Such was my fascination that I almost missed the few people clutching toy planes in the crowd.

Devotees lined up in prayer inside the gurudwara.
Faith and the faithfuls.

Hurrah! Perhaps there was some truth to the stories.

I eagerly followed those people to see what they did with it. So those planes were deposited for literally milliseconds at the foot of what looked like the gurudwara’s holy relics. They were immediately picked by the men incharge, who kept a watchful eye. They then placed those in the outstretched hands of the little children sitting with their parents on one side. Every time a plane would be handed, the children’s excited cheer would ring out, “Me!”

After our darshan, we too joined the people sitting in the hall for prayers. As I watched it all, I couldn’t help wondering how myths are created, belief takes hold and faith multiplies.

Perhaps this gurudwara really made dreams come true, at least for the excited children.

Lens – Artist Challenge : You pick it.

Jo’s Monday walk

29 thoughts on “Make A Wish At The Aeroplane Gurudwara in Punjab, India

  1. Oh I SO loved this story Sheetal! I literally exclaimed out loud at the part where the children received the airplanes – so totally unexpected! You really do know how to tell a tale my friend. I hope the promise is true and that it does help people along with their journeys but even if it is not, it’s a wonderful tradition.

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    1. Faith can move mountains,Tina and create bizarre myths. This one just involved a toy aircraft. I was also happy to see how the caretakers of the gurudwara ensured that all the parties concerned leave the place with a smile on their face, especially the young ones. That was a master stroke! Once again, thank you for all your words of appreciation. I’m grinning from ear to ear. 😁

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  2. Sheetal, was waiting for this one:)
    Have a sneaking suspicion about how it might have started- the kanadda dreams!
    Apparantly, the highlight of the saga is the bargained object with the gods-an unusual departure from the traditional mundane ones,  leading to the arrival of a flighty story with an happy ending.
    Loved the way you wrapped it up or should I write-landed perfectly?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting subject Sheetal. Shows your versatility as a writer. As always, this time too your narration helps with a detailed visualisation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s words like yours Kumud, that spur me on . Thank you for the wonderful words of appreciation. Thrilled that my narrative struck a chord. Now I can say, mission accomplished!

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  4. Sorry I’m so late here, Sheetal. A bit of a health emergency with a close friend has kept me away from the laptop this week. She’s getting better so I can come and play with airplanes 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure it did. To be true, I also have the help of my mother’s 8mm movies. I just digitalized a 1953 independence Day movie in Karachi. Where all went out on the streets, dressing the children up in their best clothes. And the little children with kohl under their eyes scared of my mother’s camera…
        Glad it made you smile. 🙏🏻

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