In the twilight years of the 19' Century. there was a small community of Sikhs in the Ipoh area who worked in the tin mines as general labourers or were bullock cart drivers and dairy farmers.
These Sikhs built their first Gurdwara Sahib around 1890 along Club Road. Sometime later, the Ipoh Police Station was built next to this Gurdwara Sahib. Subsequently, the management of this committee came under the control of the Sikh police personnel. The civilian Sikhs vacated this Gurdwara Sahib in 1910 as its location within the Police compound was found to be unsuitable due to security reasons.
Around 1910, the Sikhs were allowed to build their Gurdwara Sahib on the present site. In 1920, these Sikhs built a new wooden building, which was used as a Gurdwara Sahib. The Sikh Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, was respectfully placed in the Darbar Sahib on 13th December 1920. A jormela was held during, this occasion, which was well attended by the Sikh sangat from near and far. This Gurdwara Sahib land, which is 1 Acre 1 Rood in size, was gazetted as a Sikh Temple Reserve in 1929.
By 1981, the Gurdwara Sahib was in dire need of repair. It was also too small to accommodate the Sikh Sangat, which had grown considerably over the years. The Management Committee set up a Building Fund Committee to raise donations to build a new Gurdwara Sahib.
The foundation stone of the new double storey Gurdwara Sahib building was laid on 3rd January 1982 on the site of the previous Gurdwara Sahib. The cost of this building came to RM1,000,000.00 out of which RM120,000.00 was donated by the Government. The first religious function in this newly completed Gurdwara Sahib building was held on 9th October 1983. Sant Baba Harnek Singh Ji did kirtan and katha during this programme. This new Gurdwara Sahib was officially declared open on 22' February 1988. The first floor is used as the Darbar Sahib. The ground floor and the annexe comprises of the Granthis' quarters, langgar hall, kitchen, store, office library and two rooms for Sikh visitors.
The name of this Gurdwara Sahib was officially changed to Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Ipoh on 10th June 1985. Some of the Presidents who have served in this Gurdwara Sahib include Baba Bela Singh Kairo (1940s - 1950s), Sardar Ditt Singh J.P. (1960s), Sardar Sowdagar Singh (1970s), Sardar Tara Singh (1980s), Dato' Seri Darshan Singh Gill J.P. (mid 1990s) and Sardar Darshan Singh Keliah (late 1990s to present).
The Management Committee comprises of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, their assistants and ten committee members. The present Trustees of this Gurdwara Sahib are Dr. Awthar Singh, Sardar Hira Singh and Sardar Dheer Singh.
There is a Sikh Assistant Registrar of Marriages who officiates at Sikh marriages in this Gurdwara Sahib when called upon to do so. The actual marriage ceremony is performed by the Granthi in accordance with Sikh rites.
Among the Granthis who were engaged in this Gurdwara Sahib was Bhai Gurdial Singh Gill Village Kambo Dhaiwala, Amritsar who served from 1949 to 1985, a period of about 36 years. Prior to this, he had served as a Granthi in the Gurdwara Sahib Lahat, Perak for about 10 years.
There are presently about 300 Sikh families in this area who participate in the religious activities of the Gurdwara Sahib. The normal weekly prayers are held on Sundays from 6.30a.m. to 8.30a.m. Prayers are also held on Thursday evenings from 6.30p.m. to 8.15p.m. The Asa Di War Kirtan is held from 5.30a.m. to 6.30a.m. except on Sundays. The Isteri Satsang programme is held on every Wednesday afternoon from 3.00p.m. to 5.00p.m. The Sikh Naujawan Satsang programme is held fortnightly on Thursdays from 6.30p.m. to 8.15p.m.
Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia&Singapore
Saran Singh Sidhu AMN,PNM,FRNS
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