Baba Sri Chand is the founder of the ascetic sect of Udasis. He was a devoted Sikh
and a saintly person.
He is the elder son of Guru Nanak. Unlike his father, he chose the life of an ascetic
He was born on 9 September 1494 at Sultanpur Lodhi, now located in Kapurthala
district of the Punjab.
When Guru Nanak left home on his travels to distant places, Baba Sri
Chand’s mother, Mata Sulakhani took him and his younger brother, Lakhmi Das, to her
parents` home at Pakkhoke Randhave, located on the southern bank of the River Ravi.
Baba Sri Chand loved solitude. As he grew, he developed
indifference to worldly affairs. At the tender age of eleven he
left for Kashmir. He studied Sanskrit texts under Pandit
Purushottam Kaul at Kashmir. He also studied and practiced
yoga under Avinasha Muni.
After his travels, Guru Nanak settled at Kartarpur, which was
located on the northern bank of River Ravi. Since this place not
far away from Pakkhoke Randhave, Baba Siri Chand rejoined
the family. He however retained his preference for the life of an
Guru Nanak chose Bhai Lehna, one of his disciples, as his
Guru Nanak left for heavenly abode at Kartarpur on 7 September 1539. A monument was
raised over the site, where his ashes were buried. As the monument was washed away by
floods in the river, Baba Siri Chand salvaged the urn containing the ashes. He reburied it at
place, close to the well of Ajitta Randhava, a devotee of the late Guru. He built a mud hut
at that location. That place was revered as a dehri or samadh (mausoleum) of Guru
Nanak, around which the present town of Dera Baba Nanak grew. Baba Sri Chand stayed
at Dera Baba Nanak to maintain Guru Nanaak Dev’s Gurdwara. He founded the
Udasis sect at this place. Although his followers numbered in the millions, he encouraged
them to be devotees of Guru Nanak. With his disciples, Baba Sri Chand traveled
throughout the length and breadth of India, initiating many as Udasin or Udasi (stoic) sect.
These Udasis functioned as itinerant teachers and established missionary centers at
different places in the country and beyond.
Baba Siri Chand latter established his main centre at Barath,
eight kilometres southwest of Pathankot in Gurdaspur District of
Punjab. Baba Sri Chand remained in touch with successive Gikh
Gurus during his long life of well over a century. The Gurus also
held him in high esteem in view of his holy descent, old age and
Guru Amar Das Ji offered his eldest son Baba Mohan, who is the
known as the custodian of Guru Sahib’s Pothis (hand written
verses) from which Guru Arjun Dev ji compiled Guru Granth
Baba Sri Chand heard about the beautiful new city of Ram Das
Pur. He also heard about the compassion and humility of the
fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das. Therefore, He went to Ram Das
Pur to meet the Guru.
When Baba Sri Chand met Guru Ram Das, he commented that
Guru Ram Das had the longest beard he had ever seen. Guru
Ram Das, in an expression of honor to the son of Guru Nanak
replied that his beard was long in order to wipe the feet of the
saints like him. Saying these words, Guru Ram Das bent down to
wipe the feet of Baba Sri Chand with his beard. Baba Sri
Chand was deeply touched by the humility of the Guru. He
pulled his feet back and declared that Guru Ram Das was truly
the Light of Guru Nanak.
Baba Shri Chand had sent his disciple Baba Kamlya to invite
Guru Arjan Dev to Barath. When SHRI Guru Arjan Dev visited
Barath, Baba Shri Chand was pleased to know that the Guru was
compiling Adi Granth. He asked him to collect the Bani (Holy
Scripture) of first three Gurus from his disciple Baba Mohan.
He also gave him holy water from the Bauli (holy pond) of
Barath to be added to the water of Sarovar (holy pond) of
Gurdwara Tarn Taran.
Guru Hargobind Sahib also went to Barath to meet Baba Shri
Chand. Baba Sri Chand complimented the Guru on his chivalry
and piety. Baba Sri He expressed his ambition to adopt Guru
Hargobind’s son Baba Gurditta. To mark the adoption, he
handed over his mitre to young Baba Gurditta and said that the
Guruship was already held by the Guru. He had only the faqir’s
mitre, and that too was given to Guru’s family.
In 1626, Baba Gurditta, the eldest son of Guru
Hargobind Sahib founded the town of Kiratpur in the lower
Sivalik hills. Baba Sri Chand was given the honor to lay the
foundation stone of the city.
Baba Sri Chand went to Ramdas, Amritsar to attend the last rites
of Baba Budha Ji, a respected personality in Sikhism.
Baba Sri Chand died at the age of 135 at Kiratpur on 13
January 1629. Since Baba Gurditta, the eldest son of Guru
Hargobind was the successor of Baba Sri chand. He is
regarded as the patriarch of the Udasi Sampardai.
Udasis received support and guidance from the Sikhs. Sikhs and
Udasis lived together peacefully. After Guru Gobind Singh left
for heavenly abode, the Udasis protected and maintained all the
historical Gurdwaras for period of over a hundred years.
During that time, Udasis also established schools of learning to
keep alive the knowledge of Sikh history and Gurmukhi
language. Udasis had also set up Akharas (religious
gatherings). These Akharas were used to preach Adi Granth
along with providing knowledge of Ayurved (traditional Indian
medicine). Udasis moved like an army through the villages and
They visited the Kumbh (the Kumbh mela, a Hindu religious
festival occurring every 12 years) at Hardwar on elephants and
Udasis are exempted from the Khalsa initiation. They were not
initiated into the Khalsa because; they adopted the Udasi way
The Darbar of Baba Shri Chand Ji is displaying its splendour
within the complex of Dera Baba Bhuman Shah. It is a double
storey building with a Beautiful Diwan hall. Inside the hall the
domed Prakash asthan is captivating. The walls are
decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting peacocks, birds,
tigers, elephants, sarangis and tablas. Rhymes from Guru Granth
Sahib are also inscribed at different places.
This darbar was built by Mahant Harbhajan Das in Samvat
1967 (1910 AD).
Once, the Emperor Jehangir asked Sai Mian Mir, his own
darvesh (Muslim term for a powerful, truthful, God-intoxicated
holy person) that who was the greatest darvesh at that time. Sai
Mian Mir replied that the elder son of Guru Nanak was the king
of the darveshes at that time.