Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, a beautiful Gurudwara constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak ji, founder guru of the Sikh faith, is about 25km from Leh on Leh-Kargil road, just before Magnetic Hill point.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev ji to Ladakh. A large number of tourists visit this religious and historic shrine while travelling to Magnetic Hill Point, Sangam Point, Alchi or Kargil.
During his lifetime Guru Nanak travelled to many distant places and one such place was Tibet. Guru Nanak is well respected by Tibetan Buddhists who consider him a saint. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Buddhists in Tibet, has confirmed this in his discussions with some Sikh leaders saying that Tibetans revere Guru Nanak as a Buddhist saint under the name of Guru Gompka Maharaj.
The Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is one of the must-see places of Ladakh and a large number of tourists visit it round the year. The stone inside gurudwara has an interesting story. In the late 1970s, during the construction of the Leh-Nimu road, a large boulder was found by Lamas in the middle of the road-bed covered with Buddhists prayer flags. The boulder was covered with Buddhist prayer flags, the type of flags that are often found, strung by Buddhist Lamas, along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas to bless the surrounding countryside.
The bulldozer operator tried to push the huge stone to one side, but it refused to move. Gunning the engine he pushed the powerful machine to its limits, but the boulder refused to give way. Suddenly, with a large snap, the blade broke and the work stopped. That night the operator had a dream in which a voice told him not to move the stone. In the morning he narrated his dream to one of the army officers who guard the mountain passes of Ladakh. The soldier told him, not to give any importance to the dream.
When all efforts to remove the boulder had failed, it was decided to blow it apart with dynamite the next day. That night the army officer also had a dream not to remove the stone. He too decided the dream should be ignored, but early that morning, being Sunday, he and the workers were visited by several Lamas and other Ladakhis who came to tell them the story of a Holy Saint they called Nanak Lama and the unyielding boulder.
According to legend, Guru Nanak Dev ji reached here during his second journey in 1517. After giving his sermon on summer hills, Guru Nanak Dev ji reached here through Yarkand after visiting Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet. On the opposite hill, there lived a cruel demon that used to terrify the people and eat them after killing. On hearing the plight of the grieved, Guru ji reached this place and people heaved a sigh of relief on seeing the Guru ji but the demon was very angry on seeing this and he hatched a plan a kill Guru ji.
One day, when Guru ji was immersed deep in the worship of God, the demon took the opportunity and throw a huge stone (Pathar) on Guru ji to crush him. But when the almighty protects, none can kill him, and at that time an unusual incident happened. As the huge stone touched Guju ji, it became like wax and Guru ji’s body got struck in the wax but it did no effect to the worship of Guru ji. The demon was pleased assuring that Guru ji was killed and came down near the stone. Seeing Guru ji alive, the demon was surprised and in a fit of rage, he kicked the stone with his right leg but the demon’s leg also get stuck in the wax.
The demon realized that he in his foolishness had tried to kill a Lord’s devotee and he fell at Guru ji’s feet to apologize for this mistake. Guru ji opened his eyes and summoned the demon to live the rest of his life by serving humanity and only then he will be benefited. The demon obliged the Guru ji’s saying and lived peacefully thereafter. After some time, Guruji went to Kashmir via Kargil. We can have a glimpse of the holy stone inside Gurdwara Pather Sahib.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is maintained by Sikhs from the Indian Army. People belonging to other religions also visit the holy shrine to seek blessings of the Nanak.