First Sikh Gurdwara
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Founder
Baba Jawala Singh and Baba Wasakha Singh
Time Period
1912
Description
Sikhs began arriving to the United States in the early 20th century from India by way of British Columbia. Many were farmers in the Punjab and found themselves attracted to the fertile land around the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

In 1912, the first gurdwara, a Sikh gathering place that means "gateway of the guru," was founded in Stockton, C.A., by Baba Jawaia Singh and Baba Wasakha Singh, two successful local farmers. On the centennial of Gurdwara Shaib in 2012, the congregation received a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama. The gurdwara, he wrote, "reminds us that our religious sanctuaries are also reflections of the diversity and pluralism that are central to the American experience."

There are now dozens of gurdwaras in the country. The nation’s largest gurdwara opened in 2016 in San Jose, Calif.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Photographs

Sikh Temple at Stockton, California- Wikimedia Commons

Interior of Sikh Temple at Stockton- Hathi Trust- from The Hindusthanee Student, vol 3 (1916)

Stockton Gurudwara- photo by IP Singh at the English Wikipedia
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
http://pluralism.org/religions/sikhism/sikhism-in-america/first-arrivals/
The Pluralism Project, Sikhism in America
http://stocktongurdwara.com/history/
Stockton Gurdwara Sahib website
http://www.mercurynews.com/2011/04/10/thousands-attend-expanded-sikh-gurdwara-san-joses-opening/
The San Jose Mercury-News, "Thousands Attend Expanded Sikh-Gurdwara-San Jose's Opening" (Aug. 13, 2016)
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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