History of Guru Nanak Sikh Temple (Tanjung Priok Gurdwara)

By Sardar Mohindar Singh Gill

Alfred Holt and Company, trading as Blue Funnel Line, was a UK shipping company that was founded in 1866 and operated merchant ships for 122 years. It was one of the UK’s largest ship owning and operating companies. This company also operated in the Malaya region of Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia. It operated in Jakarta at the Tanjung Priok harbor during the 1920s. There were around 20 security workers working for this company at the harbor and all of them were Sikhs.

In 1920s, the Sikhs from the company and also other families in Jakarta gathered every Sunday at the company quarters for Kirtan and Langgar. In 1925, these families decided to purchase a piece of land approximately 500 m2at Jl. Jepara No. 4, Tanjung Priok.

Money was collected from donation of the Sikh families that were living in Jakarta during those times and approximately 500 Guilder (Old Dutch Curency) was collected to purchase and build this first Gurdwara in Jakarta. The money was collected during Vasakhi celebration on 13th April 1925 and the first foundation for building was laid on 1st May 1925.

This holy shrine was named Guru Nanak Sikh Temple. The foundation of this Gurdwara was first build using wood and logs. The first President of this Gurdwara was Sardar Pratap Singh Ghali. The members of the committee elected a new Gurdwara President every 2 or 3 years.

The founding fathers of this Gurdwara consisted of 19 people, as follow

1. S. Pratap Singh Ghal Kalan (Moga)
2. S. Dasaunda Singh Udho Nangal (Amritsar)
3. S. Gujar Singh Handiyaya (Patiala)
4. S. Hari Singh Cande (Ludhiana)
5. S. Hazura Singh Kamal Pura (Ludhiana)
6. S. Basant Singh Galab (Ludhiana)
7. S. Sajan Singh Ghal Kalan (Ferozpore)
8. S. Lakha Singh Chand Baja (Faridkot)
9. S. Roor Singh Raooke (Ferozpore)
10. S. Sucha Singh Chanieke (Gurdaspur)
11. S. Sunder Singh Dadewal (Amritsar)
12. S Dalip Singh Moga (Ferozpore)
13. Buthe Khan Kler (Ludhiana)
14. Chunilal Pandit Bethewind (Amritsar)
15. S. Ujagar Singh Khakh (Amritsar)
16. Muhammad Baksh Fatehabad (Amritsar)
17. Din Muhammad Fatehabad (Amritsar)
18. Badawa Marasi Udho Nanggal (Amritsar)
19. Fajukhan Julaha Nushera Punuha (Amritsar)

In 1933, this Gurdwara was renovated to accommodate more people where construction was done with cement and bricks to fortify the old structure. The cost for this new construction was approximately around 3000 Guilder.

This Gurdwara continued to serve Langgar and also annual Kirtan weekly without fail throughout the Dutch and also Japanese army occupation in Indonesia. Even during the Second World War, many people fled the country but Seva in the Gurdwara continued as usual.

As there were no any other worship temples or Gurdwara in Jakarta during that time, so all Indian families, not only Punjabis but also Gujarati, Sindhis and others would gather at Tanjung Priok Gurdwara during weekly kirtan and langgar. This carried on until the 1950s.

In 1995, the government decided to expand the harbour area and many buildings and also private own land were acquitted by the government including the Gurdwara. The Gurdwara was then relocated to a new location at Jl. Melur No. 8, located just few kilometres from the old Gurdwara. This new land was bigger in size measuring approximately 2000 m2.

This Gurdwara building was officially opened on 14 April 1999 in celebration of 300 years of Vaisakhi. The opening ceremony was conducted by the Religious Affairs Minister of Indonesia,Prof. Drs. H.A. Malik Fajar Msc and His Excellency Ambassador of India for Indonesia