Connect with us

Thai Life

Our neighbors, the Sikhs – Phuket Culture



Our neighbors, the Sikhs – Phuket Culture | Thaiger

PHUKET: Travelling is my thing. And chances are it’s yours too. For many of us it was the love of travel that brought us here to Phuket.

But what’s the point of living on one of the world’s most famous islands if you end up leaving it every weekend? Khao Sok, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Phi Phi… all very tempting. But once in a while it’s good to stay back, explore and find out that Phuket has more to offer than just beaches and nightlife.

One of the places where I liked to spend my weekends when I was still living in Bangkok was India Town, a small area where the air is filled with the aroma of paan and frying samosas, where you can have a cup of Indian chai and stock up your masala supply. Sadly, there is no India Town in Phuket. Luckily, there are Indians. You can look for them in Patong’s tailor shops or local Indian restaurants, but I decided to look elsewhere – in Phuket Town.

It’s easy to find the Gurudwara – the Sikh Temple. Just ask for Wat Sikh. The massive building is hard to miss due to the golden domes topping its roof. It has been here for about 70 years. In the beginning, it was just a small structure; in 2002 it was developed into a three-storey building.

Don’t be shy, leave your shoes on the door step and enter. One thing is for sure, you’ll be welcomed with a smile. Walk around, take pictures, admire the intricately decorated ceilings, the carpets in the main prayer hall and the golden throne in the center. Accept a glass of water or a cup of tea when offered. Enjoy the atmosphere. But as with all travels, the best, most fascinating thing you’ll encounter is the people. Sit down and have a chat, let one of the portly, bearded men introduce you to Sikhism, the world’s eighth biggest religion with almost 30 million followers that for many, remains mysterious and confusing.

“We Sikhs are not very good at marketing,” Sharon Singhsachakul, a member of the local Sikh community, tells me. “The essence of Sikhism is one God that is present everywhere. He’s inside everyone and everything. That’s why it’s impossible to hate someone as God is in everybody. There’s no hatred, no fear, no heaven or hell, God is everything,” he proceeds to explain.

As hard as it is to miss the Gurudwara in Phuket Town, it’s hard to miss a Sikh man on the street. The large turban, the long beard, the dagger dangling at his side. I ask Sharon what this is all about and he explains the meaning behind the symbols of Sikhism – the long hair hidden in the turban and the uncut beard (Kesh) symbolizing holiness, strength and detachment from bodily matters; the dagger (Kirpan) designed to protect the weak; a steel bracelet (Kara) representing God without end or beginning. There’s more – Kanga – a wooden comb, Kachha – special underwear. Together they make the 5 Ks of the Sikhs. At the end of his short lecture, Sharon invites me to come back on Sunday to see the prayers and take part in the Langar, a traditional temple meal.

I’m back the next day, leave my shoes outside, cover my head with a piece of cloth and take the elevator to the third floor. When the doors open, I enter the vast prayer hall and sit at the back to observe the ceremony. Women are seated on the left side, men on the right – all facing the golden throne on which rests the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture. But what strikes me most is the traditional music, originating in the Indian state of Punjab. It’s live, performed by a “band” from a small stage on the side of the throne. Drums, harmonium and a male voice of incredible power and scale. It’s simply beautiful.

Once the service is finished, I’m invited to the ground floor to eat. All food here is vegetarian and all delicious. A toothsome combination of Indian and Thai curries, rice, noodles and sweets. Everybody dines sitting on the floor to underline the equality of all. The food tastes great, the setting is unusual, the atmosphere remarkable. When I’m invited again, I already know I will accept and go.

The Sikh Temple is located at 8 Suthat Rd., A. Muang, Phuket 83000.

— Maciek Klimowicz


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Travel7 hours ago

Where to find underrated international cuisines in Bangkok

Bangkok9 hours ago

Chinatown manhole covers to use art, tech to become cultural map

Transport10 hours ago

Man fights Indian Railways for 22 years for justice (and 9 baht)

Events11 hours ago

Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

Crime11 hours ago

Thais cautioned against fake government websites

Thailand12 hours ago

Another Thai boxer dies from brain injury after fight in Malaysia

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand13 hours ago

Expats in Thailand, Cartoon characters & Letting Loose | Thaiger Bites

Pattaya13 hours ago

VIDEO: Young Thais have a blast at Pattaya Music Festival weekend 2

Pollution14 hours ago

Anti-Corruption Network complains of smelly wastewater in coastal Thai province

Weather14 hours ago

Flooding from overflowing rivers soaks Chiang Rai and the border

Phuket15 hours ago

Phuket police nab 3,373 meth pills from 5 suspects

Pattaya17 hours ago

Pattaya night club owner gives free meals on Thai Mother’s Day

Thailand18 hours ago

Current Thailand Visa Options for Digital Nomads

Central Thailand18 hours ago

Police find fake Covid-19 tests worth millions in central Thailand

World19 hours ago

UPDATE: Rushdie is talking again, attacker pleads not guilty

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11