What to know about visiting a Gurdwara
. Take your shoes off, and place them in the designated area.
. Wear modest and practical attire for you to sit on the floor.
. Wash your hands.
. We cover our heads in the main worship hall, the Diwan Hall. You should bring a head covering, or one will be provided for you.
. As we walk into the main hall, we walk towards the Guru, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sacred Sikh Text, which is always placed higher than the congregation.
. Sikhs will offer a prayer in front of the Guru, bow, and give a donation. You may, if you choose, do the same. To bow is to humbly bring your forehead to the floor, linking your third eye to the Divine Wisdom and Light that emanates from the Guru. As one bows, one's heart is higher than our head, allowing us to come from the heart rather than the head, and giving our head to God.
. Women and men sit on different sides, women mostly on the right side and men on the left side facing the Guru.
. We do not point our feet towards the Guru, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
. Sing along with the congregation, or meditate while listening to the sacred hymns.
. Stand during the Ardas, the Sikh invocation.
. Humbly receive Prashad, a sweet tasting pudding, which is distributed at the end of the service. Prashad is served to remind us of God's sweetness.
. Langar, free food, is served in the Langar Hall, where everybody sits in rows.
Points To Ponder
A Gurdwara visitor must appropriately cover his/her head; a scarf or a large handkerchief is regarded as preferable to a hat or a cap for a non-turbaned visitor. Most Gurdwaras have a free supply of suitable scarves, which may be borrowed during the visit.
A visitor must take off his/her shoes and place them on the racks or space provided at the entrance.
Under no circumstances should any visitor have in their possession any tobacco product, alcoholic drink or drug; he/she should not have consumed any, or be under its influence, at the time of their Gurdwara visit.
It is obligatory for every Sikh, young and old, to show the utmost respect to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji on approaching the Manji Sahib (Guru's platform), who usually bow down on their knees, often touching the floor with their foreheads. However, it is regarded as dignified for a non-Sikh visitor to show respect to the Sikh “Holy Scriptures” by bowing, or standing still for a moment, and then moving away with a respectful nod. --