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The first Sikh temple in Kenya


Date Posted: 6/13/2013 12:54:30 AM

Posted By: eorinda  Membership Level: Bronze  Total Points: 75

Sikhism was started in Pujab, India by Guru Nanak in the 19th Century. It is the fifth largest religion in the world with approximately over fifteen million Skhs. Sikhs believes in one God whom they refer to as ‘WaheGuru’. They also believe that people are equal regardless of their race, creed or status and that is te reason as to why all men are called ‘Singh’ and all women ‘Kaur’.

They follow the teachings of the ten Gurus meaning ‘the enlightened one’. The nine Gurus wrote the Holy Book, which is the tenth Guru,’Guru Granth Sahib’. They also initiated the langar where everyone sits and shares a vegetarian meal.

The first Sikh temple in Kenya was opened in 1926, in Makindu, Mombasa County, after the British colonialists granted the Indians who were building the railway line a piece of land to build their place of worship. Before these, the Sikhs used to gather under trees to worship hence this made them to constantly pester their masters to give them a piece of land where they could worship without any interference.

This temple was operational until the 1940s, when the trains changed from steam engines to diesel run hence Makindu no longer became a stop over for train users. The Sikh temple was shut down leaving only a window so that whoever came to the temple could pay their respect to Guru Granth Sahib since the Sikhs who were living around Makindu had already left. The temple later became run down after it was consumed by fire and attacked by ants leaving only the Guru Granth Sahib intact.

In 1960, the management of the temple changed and the temple was washed with milk and rebuilt. The management introduced Langar and constructed an accommodation facility which was modernized in 1980 and can now host up to

200 people.

The Kenyan government allocated 2.859 hectares of land in Makindu on concessional terms for the construction of a Sikh temple and it is on this land that the Sikhs grow their vegetables all year round. A hospital was also established hence it caters for the medical needs of the people of Makindu, which includes inpatient and outpatient care and accidents.

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