The Nishan Sahib: History, significance and some other facts

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Are you unaware of what is nishan sahib? The Nishan Sahib, also recognized as Jhanda Sahib is the name of the Sikh triangular flag that marks all gurudwaras and other religious premises of the Sikh communities. This flag is made up of either cotton or silk, with a tassel at its end.what is nishan sahib

what is nishan sahib?

Well, the word ‘Nishan Sahib’ actually means an exalted ensign (a powerful sign or flag). This flag is hoisted on a tall flagpole, which itself is covered with fabric and ends with a two-edged dagger on the top. So, in the Sikh tradition, Nishan Sahib means the “holy flag”. This flag is named so to show respect.

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The significance of nishan sahib

The Nishan Sahib symbolizes and represents the values of the Sikh faith which believes that there is only one God. They believe in the equality of all humans. The Sikh flag, which is usually made out of a saffron-coloured or occasionally out of a blue-coloured fabric, is triangular in shape. It is then commonly printed or embroidered with the Sikh emblem which comprises a Khanda (a two-edged sword), a Chakra (an edged circular weapon, a disc or quoit), and two Kirpans that cross each other at the handles. Sometimes the flags also include the inscription of ‘Ik Onkar’ which signifies the Supreme Reality.

What is Nishan Sahib

Did you know? Facts of Nishan Sahib

  • The flagstaff is toped by a steel khanda.
  • The first Sikh emblem was not the Khanda.
  • There is no size laid down for the Nishan Sahib.
  • The two flags adjacent to each other between the Harimandar and the Akal Takhat at Amritsar are approximately 40 metres high.
  • The Nishan Sahib is either hoisted in the compound of the gurdwara or at the top of the building itself.
  • Sometimes there are two flags in a single gurudwara – one in the premises and the other one at the top of the building.

what is nishan sahib

Also Read: Famous Gurudwaras in India

The history behind the creation of the Nishan Sahib – nishan sahib history

Dating back to the times of Guru Amar Das ji, the Nishan Sahib was white in colour in order to represent peace and simplicity. Then, during the livelihood of Guru Hargobind Singh ji, the Nishan Sahib changed into a shade of yellow, famously recognized as Basanti. Later, after the creation of the mighty Khalsa, it was Guru Gobind Singh ji who introduced the blue flag, which we still see in the Nihang flags.

So the evolution is such that the first Sikh flags were plain with a symbol that included the three weapons the Kattar (dagger), Dhal (shield), and Kirpan (sabre). After the first flag, the emblems were introduced by Guru Gobind Singh ji.

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