El Sobrante Gurdwara Sahib also known as The Sikh Center, situated high on a hillside with a commanding view of the San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay and the San Pablo Bay.
About 20 miles north of Oakland and Berkeley and San Francisco another few miles across the Historic Bay Bridge, El Sobrante Gurdwara Shaib is located at the hilltop of the El Sobrante Valley hills. Serving the Sikh community in the Bay Area it is also known as the Sikh Center of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Gurdwara was built in late 1970s. Previously local Sikhs usually carried out their religious ceremonies in their homes; however, as more and more Sikhs immigrated to the Bay Area, the Sikh community decided that a Sikh Temple was necessary to serve local Sikhs in terms of carrying out general ceremonies such as weddings and Akhand Path ceremonies, etc.
Situated almost at the top of a steep hill with a driveway that ladder backs several times because of the steep incline, its architecture and uniqueness attracts many people (I-80, one of the main arteries between the Bay area and the State's capital in Sacramento passes by the hillside) to come and see the site. At the northeast wing of its second floor, a huge deck offers a breath taking view of the El Sobrante valley and San Pablo Bay.
The Golden dome Gurdwara Sahib and the fluttering saffron Nishan Sahib can be seen from all over the valley and in particular driving on Interstate I-80 and Richmond Parkway. Perched half way up the hill and given its unique architecture, the Gurdwara Sahib not only attracts many visitors but also had been the home for many wedding ceremonies for couples as far away as Hongkong. Large Darbar hall windows and the surrounding huge deck on the north side offers a breathtaking view of the El Sobrante Valley and San Pablo Bay. In summer when fog rolls in over the low hills into the valley and in the winter when low clouds move in, it is the most beautiful sight.
It was around the mid-1960s that a few Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay Area started discussing their vision of establishing a Gurdwara in their area, a vision that gave birth to an organization called The Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area, with its headquarters in Berkeley. In the year 1976, approximately 5 acres of a hillside in El Sobrante were purchased to house the envisioned Gurdwara. The access road and the parking lots were completed in 1977, marked with a Nishan Sahib installation. The first phase of the building was completed in May 1979. The present langar hall was used for prayer services and the present lobby, for serving langar. The building as seen today was completed in June 1992, becoming one of the most magnificent Gurdwara in the North America.
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