Stockton Gurdwara spiritual home of Sikh Amercians: Senator

Stockton Gurdwara

The historic Stockton Gurdwara in California, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, remains the spiritual home to generations of Sikh Americans in the country, a top US lawmaker has said.

"The Stockton Gurdwara remains the spiritual home to generations of Sikh Americans in the San Joaquin Valley.

It also stands as a testament to the rich history, invaluable contributions, and progress of the Sikh community in America," Senator Barbara Boxer from California, said in her remarks in the US Senate.

Asking her Senate colleagues to join in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Stockton Gurdwara, the first Sikh temple in the United States, Boxer said it is in the 1890s, the first Sikh immigrants, mostly from Punjab, arrived at Angel Island Immigration Station.

"These pioneering immigrants had crossed the vast Pacific and came to the shores of California in hopes of a better and freer life," she noted.

"The San Joaquin Valley of California, with its Mediterranean climate and abundance of fertile soil and arable land reminded the new immigrants of their native Punjab, and became a place where many of them settled to raise crops that were native to Punjab," she said.

"A tight-knit community, the Sikh residents of the San Joaquin Valley formed a committee to raise money for a temple.

In September 1912, a plot of land was purchased on South Grant Street in Stockton to build the first Sikh temple in the United States," Boxer said.

"When the temple was consecrated on November 22, 1915, the Stockton Record reported that it was celebrated with impressive ceremonies.

The Stockton Gurdwara became the birthplace of Sikhism in America," she said.

Boxer said over the past century, the Stockton Gurdwara has been a site of both religious and historical significance.

"It was home to America's first Punjabi-language newspaper and to the Ghadar Party, which supported Indian independence for decades before it was achieved," she said.

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