Garden State Sikh Association, 977 Washington Valley Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Phone: (908) 658-9805
GSSA or Bridgewater Gurdwara is a 501(c) (3) tax exempt nonprofit organization located in the city of Basking Ridge in Central New Jersey, USA. Gurdwara (Guru+Dwara - the door or the gateway to the Guru) is a Sikh place of worship, also known as a Sikh temple. Typically, each Gurdwara has one main hall where the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Scripture consisting of hymns of 6 Sikh gurus and 29 revered saints, set in 60 Ragas or musical settings is regarded as the living guru following the lineage of the 10 human Sikh gurus) is placed on a high platform under a canopy at one end of the hall. As part of the service, hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib are recited and sermons are delivered. The congregation at the Gurdwara participates in the ceremonies of birth, baptism, marriage, death and celebration of festivals.
Certain protocol should be observed while visiting a Gurdwara. Consumption of tobacco, liquor or narcotics is strictly forbidden for Sikhs and definitely not allowed on the Gurdwara premises. Before entering the hall, people take off their shoes, wash their hands, cover their head and think of the Guru. Non-Sikhs cover their head with a handkerchief or a scarf. Upon entering the hall where Guru Granth Sahib is kept, they may walk slowly towards the Guru Granth Sahib, bow humbly and touch their forehead to the ground in front of the Guru Granth Sahib out of respect and love for the Guru. They may place their offering - money or just words of thanks - respectfully before the Guru. Any sincere expression of gratitude is equally acceptable to the Guru. After bowing and offering, one may sit down in the congregation quietly without disturbing others. Usually men sit on one side and women on the other, in a cross-legged position. People who cannot sit on the floor may avail chairs placed on the other end of the hall. Talking or whispering is not allowed.
In 1973, a few New Jersey Sikh families had a desire to have a Gurudwara near their towns, and held a few meetings. In 1974 the GSSA (Garden State Sikh Association) was incorporated as a Sikh Association with its own charter, by-laws and tax exempt status as a religious non-profit organization. The small group started Path and Kirtan in members’ home. In 1979, the present 13 acre Bridgewater property with a small house was purchased. In 1984, construction started to build a Darbar hall. Construction was completed in 1986, and first kirtan in Darbar hall was performed for Vaisakhi celebrations in April 1986.
The congregation attendance grew in the next few decades and soon there was a need to expand. In July 2002, GSSA got approval from the township to start construction. In 2008, construction was complete for a new Darbar hall, kitchen, a new Langar hall, restrooms and several rooms. The old Darbar hall was converted to the Khalsa School and Library.