First Time Visitors
Services in a Sikh Gurdwara (pronounced Gurd-WAH-rah, the name for Sikh Temples) are open to everyone. When attending such services, remove your shoes and cover your head before entering. We sit on the floor, so dress accordingly; pantsuits are better than tight skirts, for instance. (If you are crippled or infirm, reach out to a volunteer and accommodations will be provided.)
Men sit to the right as you enter, and women sit on the left; children may sit with either parent or with friends. When sitting on the floor, please sit in such a way that the bottoms of your feet do not point directly towards the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Guru, which is always under a canopy.
Before sitting down, you may make an offer to the Guru if you wish.
Our services consist primarily of singing Shabads (pronounced SHUH-buds, literally hymns) from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and other approved works by Sikh saints and poets. Feel free to sing along.
At the end of each service, we all stand while one person gives an Ardas (pronounced AHR-dass), a prayer or supplication for the whole Sangat (pronounced SUNG-gut; it means congregation) . Then one person reads a random passage from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib out loud.
After this, we cup our hands to receive a sweet–similar to warm cookie dough–to remind us of the sweetness of the Guru’s word. And then we all sit down together and share langar (pronounced LUN-gar), the meal from the Guru’s kitchen. Though men and women sit on opposite sides of the room during a Sikh service, we sit together during langar.