Sikh Symbols

Sikh Symbols


KHANDA (ਖੰਡਾ)

The Khanda, ਖੰਡਾ, is one of three and most important symbols of Sikhism. Khanda is commonly called the Sikh coat of arms, or "Khalsa Crest". The Khanda constitutes of three items in one, each with a symbolic meaning. A double-edged sword called a Khanda in the centre, a Chakkar which is circular and two single-edged swords( kirpans), are crossed at the bottom and sit on either side of the Khanda and Chakkar. However, the name Khanda is derived from the central symbol, a special type of double-edged sword which confirms the Sikhs' belief in One God. The central double edged sword signifies truth, strength, freedom and justice. The circle or chakkar represents the eternal. This is a symbol of all-embracing divine manifestation including everything and wanting nothing, without beginning or end, neither first or last, timeless, and absolute. The two swords of Miri and Piri represent political and spiritual sovereignty.

Khanda was introduced by the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Singhji.

The Khanda is displayed proudly by Sikhs in a variety of ways:

  • Adorning the nishan sahib, the Sikh flag.
  • As a pin worn on the turban.
  • Embroidered on clothing.
  • In poster, wallpaper etc.


Ik Onkar ੴ, ਇਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰ, means "God is One." It is made up of two characters, the Punjabi character for the number 'one' and the Punjabi letter 'Urha' for 'Onkar' meaning 'God'. It is a symbol of the unity of God in Sikhism, and is found on all religious scriptures and places such as Gurdwaras. The symbol has some resemblance to the Sanskrit OM as seen in the Hindu religion and is itself found in ancient Sanskrit literature.

Ik Onkar is the first phrase in the Mool Mantra referring to the existence of "one God," present as opening phrase in the Guru Granth Sahib, and the first composition of Guru Nanak. It is also part of the Sikh morning prayer, Japji Sahib.


NISHAN SAHIB (The Sikh Flag)

The Nishan Sahib is the sikh flag and plays an imprtant role in the Sikh community. Nishan means a seal or stamp, a mark of identity and Sahib is added for respect. It is sometimes referred to as Kesri Jhanda (Kesri - saffron colored. Jhanda - flag), Jhanda Sahib or simply Nishan. It is a saffron-colored triangular-shaped cloth with a tassel at its end, and the Khanda, usually in blue, in the middle of it. The Sikh flag is often seen near the entrance to the Gurdwara, standing firmly on the platform, overlooking the whole building. Sikhs show great respect to their flag as it is, indeed, the symbol of the freedom of the Khalsa.

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