Just before the turn on NH 73 (connecting Panchkula-Roorkee) for the major district road to Morni, is the historic Nada Sahib Gurdwara that marks the spot where the tenth Guru of the Sikhs set up camp on the banks of river Ghaggar on his way to Anandpur after his victory at Bhangani in 1688 A.D. The following is an account of the events as documented by different historians:-
The tenth Guru had his dera at Makhowal that fell within the territory of Kohlur State (Bilaspur) who’s Raja Bhim Chand, was perturbed by the increasing militarisation of the Sikhs including use of Nagaras (war drums). To test his suspicion he asked the Guru to loan him the elephant called Prasadi that he had received from Ratan Rai, the son of Raja Ram Rai of Assam. The demand was an assertion of political over lordship of the Raja. The Guru’s refusal escalated tensions. In the meantime, a border dispute developed between the States of Nahan and Srinagar (Garhwal). The Guru accepted the invitation of Medni Prakash, the ruler of Nahan to come to Nahan and intercede with Fateh Shah, the ruler of Srinagar. The Guru set out for Nahan and halted at Bhurewal and Toka in the foothills of Nahan where he was welcomed by the Rangars (Muslim Chauhan Rajputs). He stayed briefly at Nahan and then reached Paonta on the banks of river Yamuna where he established a new dera and fort in 1685 A.D. The border dispute between the neighbours was resolved amicably with the Guru’s good offices. The Guru settled to a life of prayer and religious composition. He would occasionally hunt for big game in the forests around Paonta.
A fresh development took place with the betrothal of Fateh Shah’s daughter to Bhim Chand’s son.* The Guru refused passage to Bhim Chand’s heavily armed entourage through Paonta and the Raja was forced to take a longer circuitous route to Srinagar. The Guru sent a gift of jewellery to Fateh Shah, as a gift for the bride. Bhim Chand was incensed at Fateh Shah’s accepting a wedding gift from his sworn enemy and threatened to break the marriage. The gift was returned. Relations deteriorated sharply thereafter and ended in a fierce battle fought between Fateh Shah and Guru’s army at Bhangani, a village close to Paonta.* Fateh Shah led an alliance of hill Rajas including Bhim Chand of Kohlur, Kirpal of Katoch, Gopal of Guler , Hari Chand of Hindur and Kesari Chand of Jaswal. Pir Budhu Shah, a sufi saint of Sadhaura, is believed to have arranged 500 pathan mercenaries to support the Guru’s army but they deserted before the battle. The Pir then despatched his four sons and 700 disciples who fought valiantly alongside the Guru’s army. The battle was fought on 18th September 1688 and the Guru killed the enemy’s bravest archer, Hari Chand by his own arrow. Fateh Shah’s coalition was routed in the nine hour battle.
*As per some historians the demand for the elephant (Prasadi) was made by Bhim Chand on the pretext of his son’s proposed wedding to Fateh Shah’s daughter and that the wedding had taken place before Guru moved to Paonta. The attack by Fateh Shah was actually a fallout of resumption of hostilities between Garhwal and Nahan and a reaction to increasing militarisation of the Sikhs and the consequent increase in their political clout. Also that the Guru through his strategic fortifications at Paonta now commanded the passage to Nahan.
The Guru is said to have left Paonta a month after the battle of Bhangani and moved with his followers back to Anandpur. On the way, he stopped to address a congregation of devotees at Kapal Mochan near Jagadhri. He moved onto Sadhaura, camping at Laharpur. He then entered Raipur State, which was a powerful State in the late 17th century, its ruler being recognized as the chief of the Chauhan Rajputs of Naraingarh area. The ruler of Raipur, Rao Fateh Sinh is said to have shown his reluctance to allow the Guru to encamp inside the town for fear of retribution from his pathan neighbours. The Guru then set up camp at Manak Tabra at some distance from Raipur. The Rani, upset with her husband’s cowardice is said to have visited the Guru’s camp and invited him for meals at Raipur Fort.
The Guru was impressed at the Rani’s fearless devotion and presented her with a khanda. The Guru referred to Raipur as Rani-ka-Raipur and the town gradually came to be known as Raipur Rani. As per another version, the Rani was acting as the regent for her minor son.
The Guru then moved westward and set up camp on the banks of river Ghaggar in the Morni foothills. The locals led by one Nadu Shah Labana served the Guru with devotion during his stay and the place came to be known as ‘Nada’ after Nadu Shah. A platform was built subsequently at the site to commemorate the Guru’s visit by Bhai Motha Singh.
The Gurdwara came up at the site of the original platform and was taken under the aegis of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee when the Patiala State merged with Punjab in 1956.
A large complex has come up at the site with guest rooms for pilgrims, langar halls, multi-level parking etc. The full moon day (pooranmashi) of every month sees thousands of devotees visiting the shrine for offering prayers and partaking in the community meal (langar). A Sikh museum and a sarovar are proposed at the site.
- Sketch of the Seikhs: Lt. Col. Malcolm, 1812
- The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism: H. S Singha
- History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E: Surjit Singh Gandhi
- Gazetteer of the Sirmur State 1934