Dominating the landscape on top of Gwalior hill(India), Gurdwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib is a Sikh monument associated with the imprisonment and subsequent release of Guru Hargobind Sahib. Sixth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji had been imprisoned in the Gwalior Fort (Madhya Pradesh state of India) on orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He imprisoned Guru Hargobind in 1609 when he was just 14 years old in Gwalior Fort and the reason for the young Guru’s imprisonment was no more than the religious bigotry and apprehension of the Mughals about the popularity of the Sikh religion and its growing military power. The Guru’s father, and fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev, had been martyred for similar reasons of religious bigotry.
At the time When Guru Hargobind was in prison for several months, Mian Mir, a noted Sufi saint, traveled to the Emperor’s court and asked him to release the Guru. Upon his persuasion, the Emperor ordered one of his ministers- Wazir Khan to free the Guru. However, the Guru could not embrace his own fortune at the expense of the other prisoners and refused to leave the fort until all 52 of the Rajput princes were freed as well. When the Wazir Khan put the Guru’s condition in front of the Emperor, he initially refused it. It was only when the Wazir Khan reminded the Emperor that once Guru had saved his life that he relented, he added a condition of his own: “in order to be released from the fort, each prisoner must be holding on to the Guru’s chola as he walked out of the prison gates”. The Emperor was pleased with himself because he was sure that a mere handful would be able to fulfill this condition.
However, the Guru was determined and accepted the challenge by having his tailor make a special chola with 52 panels attached to it. At the appointed time, the Guru donned the heavy chola, which stretched for yards behind him. The 52 princes each grasped a panel; 26 on the right and 26 on the left of the Guru Hargobind Singh Ji. From this time on, Guru Hargobind was known as Bandi (prison) Chhor (liberator), and the day of liberation is celebrated as Bandi Chhor Divas (day).