I had been to Bathinda couple of times during last year and a half after I joined my current company which has a unit over there. During my earlier trips to the town, I explored the town and especially the Bathinda Fort or Razia Sultana Fort as is popularly known. This happens to be India's longest surviving fort and carries a rich history beneath it.
However, during those visits to Bathinda, I could not get an opportunity to go to Talwandi Sabo due to packed work schedule and also because of being about 30 kms away from town, needed at least about 2 hours. In fact, during one of those visits, we had traveled from Delhi on road and had crossed the town. This time, the trip was for 2 days in connection with an ongoing project and there was ample possibility to plan a quick early morning trip as I usually do. We decided to travel by road as Vivek was also traveling with me and we had to travel to Mohali after completing our work at Bathinda before returning back to Delhi. Considering this multi city travel, the best option was the cab as it gives lots of flexibility with regards to timing of travel.
We started early morning on Monday and reached Bathinda around 1.00pm. While on the way we also crossed Agroha town near Hisar. The Agarwal and Agrahari communities claim origin from Agroha. According to their legends, Agroha was the capital of their founder and legendry king Agrasen. As per the legends, the era of Agrasen traces back to Mahabharata period which is around 3000 BC. Agroha had been an important center of commerce and political activity till the period of Feroze Shah Tughluq as it was situated on the ancient trade route between Taxila and Mathura. I wanted to take a brief stopover at Agroha but considering the task in hand and busy schedule which was awaiting us in office, we decided to keep it for our future trip which anyways is coming up in next February.
After finishing work on day 1 at office, I planned for the trip to Talwandi Sabo early morning next day so that I could be back well before the office timings. When I told my plans to Vivek, he also wanted to join. We decided that we will leave around 7.00am and be back by 9.00 am so that we can be in office by 9.30 am. Since it is just about 30 kms away, we did not anticipate any challenge and especially considering that it was a Tuesday. Generally on weekends, there is huge rush of devotees visiting the Gurudwara. We started around 7.15 and by 7.50 am we were inside the complex. As it was early morning, we did not find much traffic on the road as well as there were not much rush of devotees at the Gurudwara. We were able to move in the complex easily and spent some time in the sanctorium listening to prayers.
The Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, one of the five Takhts or Seat of Temporal Authority of Sikhism, is the place where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, prepared the full version of the Sikh scriptures called Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 1705. The other four Takhts are the Akal Takht (Amritsar-Punjab), Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib (Anandpur Sahib-Punjab), Takht Sri Patna Sahib (Patna-Bihar) and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib (Nanded-Maharashtra).
Damdama means a breathing place. Guru Gobind Singh stayed here after Sikhs fought many battles and after a successful battle at Muktsar moved to Talwandi Sabo.
Before leaving to visit Sikh Sangats (congregations) in the Deccan, Guruji blessed Talwandi Sabo as Guru Ki Kashi ( गुरु की काशी ). This title was given because of the intense literary activities that Guru Gobind Singh engaged in during his stay here (the compilation of Sikh scriptures) which included completion of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism.
After about half an hour in the complex, we left for Bathinda and reached our hotel at 9.00 am so as to be ready for another day's grind at office
Reaching Talwandi Sabo
One can plan a trip to Talwandi Sabo on road as we did. One can hire a cab from Delhi and can return same day late evening. However, one can also do a circuit of Delhi, Agroha, Talwandi Sabo, Patiala and back. This could be a two day trip. There are many super-fast trains connecting Bathinda with rest of the country including Shatabdi Express operated by Indian Railways.
Nearest airport happens to be Chandigarh and Amritsar both of which are International airports and are about 200 kms away. Generally it takes 4-5 hours on road depending on traffic conditions on the given day. Recently, flights have started from Ludhiana as well which is about 160 kms away. However, considering very few flights to Ludhiana, I will not recommend that option at this stage.