Location: Southall, UK
Date Opened: 1950s
The Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (SGSSS) is the largest gurdwara organisation outside of India. The word gurdwara stands for ‘Guru’s door’ and illustrates the significance that the gurdwara has in Sikhism as the place that Sikhs go to seek knowledge about how to live a moral and spiritual life.
As the earliest Sikhs migrated to the UK, they found themselves meeting in each other’s homes for religious services. But as members grew in number, the organisation realised that they needed a larger space to accommodate worshipers. The group opened their first gurdwara in 1964, and in 1997 the gurdwara moved to the current site in Park Avenue, Southall, to allow for the construction of a new gurdwara at the original site, which was later inaugurated in 2003.
Today, these two gurdwaras serve as the hub of the community for Sikhs, with over 15,000 worshippers entering every week. The Sri Guru Sabha Gurdwara has a main hall for large congregations, a multipurpose hall for events such as weddings and religious functions and a langar, or free kitchen, which provides as many as 20,000 free vegetarian meals for all who visit, whether they are Sikh or not. In a bid to improve and advance the education of Sikh students, the gurdwara also has a Khalsa Primary School.