Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir
Seer Govardhanpur, Varanasi (U.P.)
JagatGuru Ravidass Ji was born in Varanasi then ‘Kashi’ in the year 1377 AD (Bikrami Samvat-Magh Sudi 15, 1433). But even after six centuries of Guru’s Ji’s lifetime, his followers did not have any central place connected with his name till second half of twentieth century. One of the probable reasons could be that after the lifetime of Guru Ji, no one made any effort to preserve his legacy.
There is detailed account of the kind of beautiful palaces in which Shri Guru Ravidass Ji used to live in the book “Anant Dass ki Parchayan” when Rani Jhalanbai came to meet Guru Ji. Anant Dass was the grandson of Sant Pipa Ji- a contemporary saint of Guru Ravidass Ji. Therefore, his account can be believed to be most authentic. But it is also true that after the lifetime of Guru Ji no trace of any place accredited to the memory of Guru Ji was found in Benaras where he is believed to have lived for about 151 years. This remains a mystery of history.
The sacred task of perpetuating the memory of Guru Ji at Benaras and giving a befitting memorial in his name was undertaken by the spiritual, visionary and revolutionary saint Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass Ji of Dera Sach Khand Ballan. He made strenuous efforts to make Bani of Guru Ravidass Ji popular among the socially backward and downtrodden people. He thought his job incomplete until the place where Guru Ravidass Ji gave the sermon of Begupura was traced out and a suitable monument built there. Swami Sarwan Dass Ji assigned this task to a selected group of people. The group went to Varanasi and surveyed the area near the Benaras Hindu University. The Imlee tree and other indicators confirmed a location in a village Seer Goverdhanpur, in the outskirts of Varanasi near BHU, as the birthplace of Guru Ravidass Ji, the plot of land was purchased and no time was lost to start construction of an impressive temple. The foundation stone of this Mandir was laid on Monday the 14th June 1965 on Ashad Sankranti day by Sant Hari Dass Ji, along with a large number of devotees of Dera Bal, specially deputed by Sant Sarwan Dass Ji for the purpose.
Once the foundation stone was laid, there was no looking back. A large number of Sewadars of the Dera were sent to Varanasi under the stewardship of Sant Garib Dass Ji to undertake and complete the construction. The place was undeveloped, without an approach passage and it was a Herculean task to manually carry construction material to the site from a considerable distance. Notwithstanding, the devotion to the Guru, dedication, the cause and aspiration of the Sewadars surmounted all this. In this endeavour, help came from public at large from within as well as from outside the country. The Guru’s devotees residing in U.K. and other foreign countries were also keen to see the project completed and contributed according to their respective individual capacities. The first phase of the temple was completed in the year 1972. Many saints from various Deras of Punjab and also some prominent figures of the community accompanied Sant Garib Dass Ji to Benaras for the inauguration ceremony on 22nd February 1974. A Murti of Guru Rvidass Ji was installed in the Mandir on this occasion.
Simultaneously, a Murti of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji was installed as a token of recognition of his contribution in giving followers of Guru Ji an elegant Mandir at the birthplace of Guru Ji.
It has become a mission for the saints of Dera Sachkhand Ballan to develop in every possible way this Janam Sthan Mandir so that it acquires the status and magnificence which a Mandir at the birthplace of Guru Ravidass Ji deserves. The Trust undertook additional construction work at the Mandir in the year 1993 and the completion of second phase of Mandir culminated in the installation of a golden Kalsh, atop the Mandir dome on 7.4.1994 by Babu Kanshi Ram Ji, in the presence of Sant Garib Dass Ji, other saints and a large number of devotees.
Shri Guru Rvidass Birth Anniversary is celebrated every year on Magh Purnima at Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir, Seer Govardhanpur, Varanasi with great pomp and show. Lacs of devotees from within and outside the country visit this sacred Mandir to pay their obeisance. For the convenience of the pilgrims a special train is arranged from Jalandhar City to Varanasi every year from 2000 A.D. onwards.
The followers of Guru Ravidass wish to see the birth place temple of their Guru to be a magnificent temple. For this purpose they make generous donations. As a result of this the façade of the Mandir was covered with white marble in the first phase.
Guru Ji’s followers living in all parts of the world are sentimentally attached with this Mandir now. In the year 2007, the followers from Europe expressed a desire to Maharaj Ji that they wished to donate a Swarn Palki (golden palanquin) as a token of their love and devotion for their Guru. Maharaj Ji readily agreed to their request. Thus a Swarn Palki was taken in a Shobha Yatra (religious procession) which started from Dera Sachkhand Ballan and culminated at Kashi Mandir, receiving overwhelming response from Guru Ji’s followers in all the towns through which it passed in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and U.P.
Then came the historic moment for our community when Shri 108 sant Niranjan Dass Ji and Sant Rama Nand Ji thought of gold plating the whole Mandir. Earlier 31 small and big domes had been decorated with gold Klashes on 625th Birth Anniversary of Guru Ji.
The inaugural ceremony for gold plating the Mandir had taken place in the year 2008 on the occasion of Jyanti of Guru Ji. Fulfilling the dream of Sant Rama Nand Ji the top dome of the Mandir was bedecked with gold and inaugurated on the Jyanti celebrations in the year 2009.
On 30th January 2010 big Gold Plated Doms of Temple was inaugrated by Sant Niranjan Dass Ji Maharaj in the presence of Sant Samaj on 7th February 2012 from two short Gold plated Doms of Mandir were inaugrated by Sant Niranjan Dass Ji with Sant Samaj. On 25th February 2013, back two small Gold plated Doms of the Temple were inaugrated by Sant Niranjan Dass Ji Maharaj and Sant Samaj.
The affairs of the Mandir are managed by Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir Public Charitable Trust, which makes continuous endeavours to enhance the facilities at the Mandir for the convenience of the pilgrims. As a result of these efforts, a big Langar Hall and a Yatri Niwas have been constructed.
Today Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir Varanasi is known worldwide among followers of Guru Ji. It is Pilgraimage for them, a symbol of Dalit Identity and Dalit awakening.