Guru Ram Rai  

Sikh Guru Har Rai died in 1661 leaving behind two sons, Ram Rai and Harkishen. Both claimed succession, but because Ram Rai was son of a handmaiden, Harkishen was preferred over his brother (Ram Rai). Ram Rai, however, refused to abide by the judgment and differences ran so high that the matter was referred to Aurangzeb for arbitration. Aurangzeb also cast his vote in favour of Harkishen and sent Ram Rai away. He, however, did not abandon the pretension of Ram Rai to the spiritual leadership of his sect. Harkishen died in 1664 and was succeeded by his uncle Teg Bahadur. Ram Rai again pressed for his claim and posed a threat not only to his position but also to his life. Teg Bahadur was however, arrested and executed in 1675. Aurangzeb also directed Ram Rai to retire to wilderness and refrain from meddling in public affairs or face the same fate. Following the emperor’s directive Ram Rai came to Dehradun and resided for a short time at Kandli on the Tons and then settled down in Kharbara. He built his temple at the village of Dhamawala which even today hosts the famous Jhanda Fair on the fifth day after Holi in the sacred memory of the revered Guru.

The art form of the region have greatly influenced the wall paintings at the Durbar Sahib, the seat of Guru Ram Rai, which were painted in three phases, from early 17th century to middle of the 19th century. They are a sight to behold. The Archaeological Survey of India has taken up the restoration of Darbar Sahib’s wall paintings depicting the Mughal, Rajasthani and Kangra style of mural paintings.

The walls of the Guru Ram Rai complex present richly decorated paintings on various subjects. Most prominent are scenes from the Mahabharat, Gita, Ramayan and Krishna Leela.

Besides Noor Jahan, Heer-Ranjha and Laila-Majnu, some Britishers also find place in the paintings of the famous Durbar Sahib."

Shri Darbar Sahib
(Mural) Wall-paintings based on religious stories