CONNECTICUT SIKH ASSOCIATION, INC
(History – Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar)
The Sikh community of Connecticut has a longstanding history that has developed over the past few decades. It all began at an individual’s residence in May of 1986, when a handful of Sikh families got together to recite “Keertan” (Sikh hymns) as a congregation. Enjoying the homeliness of this get-together, the families decided to continue their Keertan programs monthly basis in their homes, with families volunteering to host each month in the Naugatuck Valley area. Each program was followed by the traditional “Langar”, or community meal. Some years down the line in 1989, the same group of families decided to rent a hall in Ansonia, CT to celebrate the holiday of “Vaisakhi” – the day of the first Sikh baptism. Several more families joined in from the greater CT area and the congregation continued to grow. Seeing this, the Sikh community decided to officially register as a non-profit organization and begin holding a “Gurdwara Diwan”, or prayer service, more regularly – prompting the birth of the Connecticut Sikh Association, Inc. in November of 1993.
To accommodate the growing Sangat (congregation), weekly Diwaans were held at Ramada Inn in Darien, CT, followed by the Mariott in Stamford. Langar was regularly prepared at individual’s homes and brought to be shared with the Sangat. As months passed, the Sangat began to fell the need for a more permanent location. In May of 1995, CSA began renting a larger venue in Norwalk, CT, where the Gurudwara began to flourish. Doors were open daily and regular wekly Diwaans were held.
After some time, CSA shifted Gurdwara in the Naugatuck Valley area to accommodate more congregation members and for ease of commute. Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar was founded in MAY of 1996 in Ansonia, CT. Here, the Sangat continued to prepare Langar at home and serve the masses at each Diwaan. They became more involved in the genral community, participating in local parades and events, teaching others about Sikhism, and performing seva (selfless service) whenever possible.
Tragically, one day after Diwali in 1998, news broke that a huge fire had broken out in the basement of the Gurdwara’s building, caused by a heating system malfunction. It look 36 hours and 1.5 million gallons of water to extinguish the fire. The building was completely destroyed by the fire – except for, miraculously, the small room in which the Guru Granth Sahib was kept. By the Grace of Waheguru, the Guru Granth Sahib Saroop and other items in that room remained untouched by fire and water. Town officals, news media, and all of the surrounding community relished this “Miracle on Main Street”.
The toenspeople were very helpful in assisting the Sikh community to recover from this tragic accident, Soon, the Sangat found a place nearby to continue to hold Gurdwara Diwans. For many years, the new building on East Main Street in Ansonia was home to the CSA Sikh Community.
With the passing years arose the need for a more permanent and suitable location for the Sikh Sangat. After much searching, negotiating, and hunting, the perfect place was founded in Southington, CT. As a whole, the Sangat decided to purchase the property and create a Gurdwara on the land. In 1999, the Nishan Sahib was erected and Gurdwara established. The two-Story building allowed for Diwaans to be held upstairs while Langar was prepared and served downstairs. Children were also able to attend Khalsa School on Sunday in this location. With this permanent location came permanent Granthis, various Keertan Jathas, and visitin Kathaakaars. The Gurdwara began to open daily at 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM.
Soon, the Gurdwara property expanded to include a house for the Granthi Sahib and some additional room for the Khalsa School clsasses to be held. While Sangat continued to grow, plans to expand the Gurdwara even further began to arise.
With Guru Mahraaj’s Apaar Kirpa, the Sangat was able to gather the funds and resources to create a whole new building on the property. The new floor plans included a larger, one story building that was more accessible to the elderly and had additional space for more Sangat. In November 2009, the Sangat held the groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction. Finally, on February 2011, the new Gurdwara building of Guru Nank Darbar was fully up and functioning. The Sangat came togetther in a huge celebration, inviting all members of the Sangat as well as several local officials and dignitaries who visted to join in the celebration.
The Sikh Sangat of Connecticut continues to grow and flourish today, with great strides in local communities and the support of Waheguru.