Dazzling, sophisticated skylines studded with skyscrapers overlook the commotion in congested, undulated bylanes. One such lane with rickety wooden benches along the worn out walls leads to Mumbai’s Gurudwara Sri Dasmesh Darbar.
Anchored in faith and spirituality, this gurudwara (place of worship for Sikhs) is unlike the usual places of worship limited to hymns and prayers. The experience at Dasmesh goes beyond what one expects at a spiritual shrine. The soothing harmony of hymns and folk music audible along the row of food arcades, takes one back to an era where joint families distributed food amongst each other. It enkindles the age of gilli danda (an ancient Indian sport), games with goti (marbles) and stones in the neighbourhood, where the familiarity of every passing face made one feel at home.
Located in a refugee colony, Dasmesh Darbar named after the 10th Sikh Guru–Guru Gobind Singh–was built in 1969. The refugees from the India-Pakistan border–during the partition in 1947–had made Mumbai their home. Haphazard settlements, paucity of basic needs, accompanied by an urge to get life back on track, led to the establishment of Dasmesh Darbar.