Sikhs have always maintained a distinct religious and cultural identity. It is reflected in their keen ness to establish gurdwaras (shrines) wherever they have gone in search of a better life. Gurdwaras in Yuba City are the result of the dedicated efforts made by the Sikh community.

In 1969, when the Sikhs of Yuba City were celebrating the 500th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, a historic decision was taken to develop a beautiful complex to be named as Sikh Temple Tierra Buena. Luckily the renowned historian, Dr. Ganda Singh was present on this historic occasion.

With the initial donation of three acres of land by Purewal brothers, S. Bakhtwarar Singh and S. Udham Singh, complex has now spread to over 27 acres of area which can rightly claim to the biggest one outside India. It includes a vast main Diwan Hall, a dining hall, a library and school rooms for teaching Punjabi and Sikh religion. Besides there are extensive hockey, soccer, and basketball grounds. There is also a sprawling parking lot.

There are facilities for the teaching of Punjabi, Kirtan, Akhand Path, Tabla and Harmonium. A senior designer with Caltrans, Patricia West is an outstanding student of Punjabi and Gurbani. In the gurdwara, congregations (diwans) are held regularly every morning and evening. As a Di Var and Rehras paths are recited in the morning and evening respectively on every Saturday large diwans is held.

Two special events that are observed every year have become very popular all over North America, Guru Granth Sahib Gurgaddi Diwas and the sports tournament.

Sports tournament is held in the 1st week of April in which teams from and far and near participate. This tournament is open to all communities and is observed in the same spirit as Baisakhi in Punjab.

Guru Granth Sahib Gurgaddi Diwas, which is observed on the Ist Sunday of November every year, has become the most popular event of the Sikhs in the whole of North America. Kirtan Jathas and Sikh scholars come from all parts of the world to participate in it. A colorful religious procession on the pattern of Nagar Kirtan is taken out which goes winding around its well defined course. Colorful floats depicting scenes from Sikh history and culture are the special highlights of the occasion.

Other important activities:

Memorial services (Ardas) were held in memory of the victims of the space shuttle tragedy.

During the unprecedented floods of 1986 that were caused by the breach in the levee, this gurdwara building served as a refugee center. Nearly 300 flood affected people were provided with shelter and free food (langar) was served to them for three days. In addition, the gurdwara management donated $5000.00 towards relief for the flood victims through the local Red Cross.

On the occasion of Lady Liberty’s celebrations in July, the gurdwara sangat presented a huge National flag which was presented to the Mayor by the Management Chairman S. Gurpal singh Bains while ceremonial salute was presented by four Sikhs dressed in traditional Sikh attire with swords etc. The flag was hand prepared by S. Kewal Singh Purewal, a local Sikh resident.

In recognition of Sikh community’s contribution in the socioeconomic field of the County, the Sutter County Library arranged a special exhibition of paintings, books, handicrafts relating to Sikh religion and culture. A video on Taj Mahal prepare by H.S. Chahal was shown on October 2, 1986. Importance of turbans and the technique to tie it was also demonstrated. Nearly 150 Americans also tried turbans on their heads.

Yuba City Council declared November as Guru Granth Sahib Month and displayed Sikh books and paintings in the City Hall. Sutter County also dedicated the first week of November to Guru Granth Sahib. Local Assemblyman (now Congressman) Wally Herger steered the resolution in the Board of Supervisors. Gurdwara was also given a facelift.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 6, 1987