Sikhs form about 2 per cent of Indian population. In comparison to other religions, Sikhism is a younger religion. The word 'Sikh' means a disciple and thus Sikhism is essentially the path of discipleship. The true Sikh remains unattached to worldly things. The Sikh must do his duty to his family and to the community. Sikhism was established by Guru Nanak. It preaches the existence of only one God and teaches universally acceptable ideals of honesty, compassion, humbleness, piousness, social commitment and tolerance for other religions.
Guru Nanak Dev included the good beliefs of other religions in Sikhism. Some the inhuman Indian customs like the caste system and Sati (burning of the widow) was discarded in Sikhism. In Sikhism everyone has equal rights irrespective of caste, creed, color, race, sex or religion. Sikhism rejects unnecessary rituals. A Sikh believes in one God and in the teachings of the Gurus, which are embodied in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Gurdwara is Sikh's place of worship. As Sikhism believes that God is everywhere it does not support pilgrimage to holy places. The Hari Mandir (the Golden temple) at Amritsar is considered the holiest shrine of Sikhism. One of the distinct features of Sikhism is the common kitchen called Langar. In every Gurdwara there is a Langar. Every Sikh is expected to contribute in preparing the meals in the free kitchen.
Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion, was its first Guru. After him there were nine more Gurus who were the highest religious authority of the Sikhs. The last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, declared that after him the Guru of the Sikhs would be the holy book of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurumukhi script. The Guru Granth Sahib includes the writings of the Sikh Gurus and the writings of Hindu and Muslim saints and mystics. The writings of Guru Govind Singh appear in a separate book called "Dasam Granth".
Takht literally means a throne. Takhts are considered the seats of Sikh religious authority. Important decisions related to the religious and social life of the Sikh community is taken at Takhts. The first and the most important Takht was established by Guru Hargobind in 1609. This Takht is called the 'Akal Takht' and is located just opposite the Harmandar Sahib - The Golden Temple, Amritsar. The second seat of authority is called "Takht Sri Patna Sahib".
Takht Sri Damdama Sahib is situated in the Talwandi village near Bhatinda. Here, Guru Gobind Singh stayed for about a year and compiled the final edition of the Guru Granth Sahib. Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib is situated at Anandpur Sahib. It is the place where the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) was born in 1699 by Guru Govind Singh. Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib is located on the banks of Godavari River in Maharashtra. This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh left for Heavenly abode.