Yuba City Gurdwara

The first Sikh house of worship in Yuba City was commemorated in 1969 on the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.  The groundbreaking ceremony for the Gurdwara in 1969 was a watershed moment symbolizing both the continuity of Sikh traditions, as well as the resurgence of Sikh community and religious life in Yuba City.  The Gurdwara is the first in the US to be built in the Indo-Persian architectural style, and its facade is grand and imposing.  The Gurdwara is over 18,000 square feet in size and contains a large prayer hall and a communal kitchen.

The founding of the Yuba City Gurdwara in 1969 was due in large part to the increased immigration from India, as well as the arrival of recent immigrants who held more orthodox beliefs and were more religiously active.  Gurdwara founders included a diverse range of Sikh men who had lived in the United States for decades together with others who were more Orthodox Sikhs who were initiated into the khalsa brotherhood. A coalition of wealthy Sikhs founded a Gurdwara Committee, who commissioned an architect, secured land, and obtained financing from the United California Bank during the late 1960s.  The Gurdwara was built on three acres of land that was part of an almond orchard donated by two brothers, Bakhtawar and Udham Singh Purewal.  Many other members of the Sikh community, including Didar Singh Bains and Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany, have given generous donations of land and/or funding over the years to the Gurdwara.  In the late 1960s, it was a time of unity in the local Sikh community where the entire community worked together to contribute to the temple’s founding. 

The Yuba City Gurdwara has played a transformative role in revitalizing the religious and social life of the local Sikh community.  Until the opening of the Gurdwara in Yuba City, Sikhs had to drive nearly 100 miles along country roads to the Stockton Gurdwara.  Within a brief time, the Gurdwara introduced remarkable changes in the Sikh community.  Major Sikh holidays are observed in the Gurdwara, together with important life events, such as weddings, birth ceremonies, and the final prayers.  Women play a very active role in the life of the temple, participating in the devotional services, serving on temple committees, and volunteering to prepare food on a massive scale for the Langar Hall meals and for weddings and other important community events.  The opening of the Gurdwara, and the growth and renaissance of the Sikh community in Yuba City, also led to the creation of the Sikh parade (Nagar Kirtan) that was founded in 1980 and has become one of the largest South Asian festivals outside of India.


Hari Singh Everest Family Collection

La Brack, Bruce.  The Sikhs of Northern California: 1904-1975 (New York: AMS Press, 1988).