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Charaina

SMI 1: Chariana of Guru Gobind Singh
Date: 1680’s
Location: Possibly Anandpur, Punjab, India.
Present location: Toshkhana of Captain Amarinder Singh, Patiala.

“Charaina” literally means “four mirrors” and consists of a breast plate, back plate and 2 side plates with cutaways to go under the arms, it is held together by leather straps and buckles on the shoulders and sides. Guru Gobind Singh wore this armour at the Battle of Bhangani which took place on 18 September 1688.

Additional information

Guru Gobind Singh the tenth in the line of the Sikh Gurus. He created the saint soldiers known as the Khalsa or ‘fraternity of the pure’. The battle with the Hill Chiefs (Pahari Rajas) is narrated by Guru Gobind Singh in his Sri Bachitra Natak in the scriptural text Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. It is in this battle that after having 3 arrows shot at him by Hari Chand that Guru stated Jabe Baan Lagyo, Tabe Ros Jagay “When the edge of the arrow touched my body, it kindled my war spirit”

The Breastplate has verses from the Sikh scriptures the Guru Granth Sahib and the Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. These include parts of the Mul Mantra (root formula), Jap Sahib, Rakhya Shabad, and the Akal Ustat.

The Guru had many swords which had the lines from the Sikh Scriptures etched onto them. One of these was known as the Raekote sword which was taken into the UK by Governor General Dalhousie after the Anglo Sikh Wars. This sword also had verses from the Akal Ustat. Other sacred objects known as the Toshkhana Sword and the Kalgi (Plume of the Guru) have never been located in the UK. Many objects related to Guru Gobind Singh were returned to India in 1966 by the Dalhousie family. These are now at Gurdwara known as Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur, Punjab.

PUBLISHED: See Kamalroop Singh and Gurinder Singh Mann, The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh (Essays, Lectures and Translations), Oxford University Press, 2015.

3d Relic first demonstrated: California and New York, 2016.

Further reading:
Guru Gobind Singh’s armour recreated in 3D

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