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Who are Namdharis?

Niki Acker
Updated May 23, 2024
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Namdharis consider themselves an orthodox sect of Sikhs, but they are not considered Sikh by the Akal Takht, the primary authority of the Sikh religion. Namdharis are similar to Sikhs in most respects, but they differ from other Sikhs on the point of the living guru. Whereas traditional Sikhs believe that Guru Granth Sahib, their book of holy scripture, is the current living guru and the final guru of the Sikhs, Namdharis believe in a continuous line of human living gurus extending into the present. The current Namdhari guru is Guru Jagjit Singh.

In the Sikh religion, gurus are the source of Sikh teachings and philosophy. Traditional Sikhism holds that there are only eleven gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak Dev in the 16th century. His successors were Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Har Gobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Guru Gobind Singh. Before his death in 1708, Guru Gobind Singh decreed that Guru Granth Sahib would be the following and permanent Sikh Guru.

Namdharis believe that Guru Gobind Singh lived for 146 years, until 1812, and that there have been five gurus since his death. They also believe that Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the Guruship on Guru Balak Singh, the founder of the Namdhari religion, before his death. The 12th Namdhari guru was Guru Ram Singh, who is revered as one of the most important Namdhari gurus. He initiated civil disobedience against the occupying English in Punjab in the mid-19th century and inspired Mahatma Gandhi. Guru Ram Singh was exiled in 1872, and some Namdharis believe that he is still alive and will return one day to lead them.

The 13th Namdhari guru was Guru Hari Singh, followed by Guru Partap Singh. The current Namdhari guru is Guru Partap Singh's son and attained the Guruship in 1959.

Other than their beliefs regarding the Guruship, Namdharis follow the traditions of Sikhism. They hold Guru Granth Sahib in reverence and consider themselves loyal to the Khalsa, the community of all baptized Sikhs, and their traditions. Namdharis can be identified by their all-white clothing. They also wear a white woolen cord with 108 knots, called a mala, around their necks for use as a rosary.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker , Writer
"In addition to her role as a CulturalWorld.org editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "

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Discussion Comments

By PurpleSpark — On Oct 20, 2010

I thought I would provide some interesting facts about the Namdharis. Not only are they vegetarians, they also are not allowed to drink tap water. Their water must be drawn from a lake or captured from rain or from a well. They also don’t practice dowries in any form. The marriages are very much planned to standards. There is no jewelry worn and no alcohol is served afterwards.

By googie98 — On Oct 20, 2010

@dinoleash: The Namdhari flag is white. It symbolizes the Tenets which are Truth, Simplicity, Peace, Purity, and Unity. The flag was hoisted by Ram Singh (the 2nd Namdhari Leader) on the eve of the Baisakhi Festival.

By DinoLeash — On Oct 20, 2010

I am doing a project on the Namdhari and I am trying to find a little more information. Does anyone know the color of the Namdhari flag?

Niki Acker

Niki Acker


"In addition to her role as a CulturalWorld.org editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide...
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