What makes a gurdwara special to Sikhs?


Key Questions

  1. What is a gurdwara and what is it for?
  2. What should we expect in a gurdwara?
  3. Visiting a gurdwara
  4. What happens in a gurdwara and why?
  5. What does it mean to belong to a community?
  6. What makes a gurdwara special?


About the unit

In this unit pupils find out about the gurdwara and the role it plays in Sikh communities. Pupils develop their understanding of how religious beliefs are expressed in practice through studying the features of the gurdwara and the activities, including worship, that take place inside it. Pupils become aware of the diversity within Sikhism by comparing textbook examples of places of worship explored in the classroom with those explored through visits. They evaluate the importance of a place of worship to believers today. Learning from the visit the significance of the gurdwara for the Sikh community and local people, pupils reflect on places that have significance for them in the local community. They explore ways in which places in their local community might have significance for them.

This unit is expected to take approximately 7 hours.

Where the unit fits in

This unit builds on work completed on a place of worship in unit 6A ‘Worship and community’, unit 6B ‘Worship and community: what is the role of the mosque’ and unit 6E ‘What can we learn from Christian religious buildings?’ in the key stage 2 scheme of work, as well as any work undertaken on Sikhism.

At key stage 3 pupils explore in greater detail the distinctive religious beliefs of Sikhism through an understanding of its place of worship. It should build on earlier thinking about the nature of God as well as raising ultimate questions.

The unit prepares for evaluative work in GCSE RE/RS.


At the end of this unit

most pupils will: explain with understanding how some of the principal beliefs of Sikhism are expressed in the gurdwara building, in worship and in the wider life of the Sikh community, including the ideas that God is One (Ik Onkar), that all people are equal, regardless of religious background, class or gender, that God continues to teach us today through the words of the Guru Granth Sahib who is a living guru for the past, present and future; show understanding of what it means to be a Sikh in today’s world, appreciating that there are differences within Sikhism, as well as overriding similarities between different communities; have had an opportunity to reflect on the special qualities of places of worship; describe places of local or community significance in their own lives; develop their own responses to the beliefs and ideas distinctive to Sikhism

some pupils will not have made so much progress and will: describe a gurdwara using some correct terms and explain what it is used for; know that Sikhs believe in one God and express their own views about God in response; talk about local places which are special to them

some pupils will have progressed further and will: compare in detail similarities and differences between places of worship within a religious tradition as well as identifying similarities and differences across other religions they have studied; explain how beliefs affect the life of individuals and the religious community; evaluate religious and secular responses to questions of meaning and purpose using appropriate evidence and examples; explain in depth their own views

Prior learning

It is helpful if pupils have:

Language for learning

Through the activities in this unit pupils will be able to understand, use and spell correctly words relating to:

Reading – through the activities pupils could:

Writing – through the activities pupils could:


Resources include:

Out of school learning

Pupils could:

Future learning

Pupils could go on to: