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Tapa, Definition 1

Tapa is a small market town 19 km southwest of Barnala (30022'N, 75032'E) in Sangrur district of the Punjab which claims a historical shrine, Gurdwara Tibba Sahib Patshahi IX is dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur. The original building constructed by Maharaja Karam Singh (1798-1845) of Patiala has since been replaced by a more spacious complex raised by Baba Narain Suigh Moni, who also has continued to manage it. The central building is a rectangular hall, with canopied seats for the Holy Volumes. Guru ka Langar is near the entrance gate, and a small walled sarovar is just outside the compound.

Besides the daily prayers and kirtan, assemblies with a large attendance take place on the first of each Bikrami month. All major anniversaries on the Sikh calendar are observed.


1. Gurmukh Singh, Historical Sikh Shrines. Amritsar, 1995

2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twarikh Gurduarian. Amritsar, n.d

Tapa, Definition 2

Tapa (lit. a practicioner of physical austerities) is the name given by Sikh chroniclers to an ascetic who once came to Guru Ram Das. Proud of the penances he had undergone, he said, "Thy Sikhs are very proud; they acknowledge not the Vedas and the Puranas; they make no pilgrimages; nor do they fast or observe the varnasrama, dharma or distinctions of caste. Thy Sikhs only pay reverence to thee and thy compositions. Their adoration is confined to the utterance of Vahiguru. I see no religious disposition in them whatsoever. However, will they attain the comfort of heaven ?"

Guru Ram Das, says the Mahima Prakash, replied, "Thou dost not know the comfort of sadh sangat, fellowship of the holy. Pious fellowship is what Sikhs seek. They desire not heaven. You are proud of your penances and pilgrimages. Sikhs derive comfort from serving others with humility." Hearing this 'Tapa' fell at the Guru's feet and took his precept.


1. Bhalla, Sarup Das, Mahima Prakash. Patiala, 1971

2. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-35

3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion : Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909

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