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A Granthi reading from the Guru Granth Sahib

A Granthi (Punjabi: ਗ੍ਰੰਥੀ, IPA: [ˈɡɾəntʰi]) is a person, female or male, of the Sikh religion who is a ceremonial reader of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is the Holy Book in Sikhism, often read to worshipers at Sikh temples called a Gurudwara. The name Granthi comes from the Sanskrit granthika, which means a relater or narrator. Any Sikh individual appointed the title of being a Granthi is considered a principal religious official of Sikhism. Although they are considered religious officials in Sikhism, they are not considered to be the equivalent of a priest, as the belief is that there are no such religious intermediaries.[1]


To be appointed a Granthi, one of the main qualifications is the commitment to the Sikh religion by becoming an Amritdhari Sikh. This is an acceptance of the full physical and spiritual discipline outlined in the Sikh Reht Maryada through a religious ceremony performed at the Gurudwara called an Amrit Sanchar. This ceremony is approved and conducted by the Panj Pyare, the Five Beloved Ones, who have themselves committed to the religion by becoming an Amritdhari Sikh. The five who are selected to perform this ceremony are chosen by the holy congregation referred to as the Sangat.[2]

Other important qualifications include being able to read the holy scriptures of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is the duty of a Paathi in the Gurudwara. A Granthi must be able to interpret the sacred hymns written in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, referred to as Gurbani, and must be able to fluently deliver sermons to the Sangat at the Gurudwara. Another important qualification is the ability to complete all duties related to taking care of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib at ceremonies as it is referred to as the "living Guru" in a Gurudwara and by Sikhs worldwide.[2]

A Granthi has to spend a few years as an assistant to a qualified reputable Granthi, who will act as a mentor and pass on his or her knowledge to teach ceremonial aspects of his or her duties. Assistant Granthis must possess the skills to play tabla, which is a pair of percussion drums use in classical Indian music. This is a necessity as they are required to join the head Granthi during Gurmat Kirtan, which is the rendering of verses from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Ragas in the Guru Granth Sahib, Taalas, and musical scores composed in the scripture, considered the most important aspect of a prayer gathering.[3]

It is expected that an assistant Granthi looking to become a qualified Granthi be mentored for a minimum of three years so that they learn all aspects of the ceremonial procedures and that they build up their ability to become a head Granthi at a Gurudwara who can recite prayers to a medium- to large-size Sangat.[3]


  1. ^ "Granthi". Sikhi Wiki - Encyclopedia of the Sikhs. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Sikh Religious Titles, Duties and Related Skills". Gurmat - Sikh Missionary Society (U.K.). Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Functions, Duties and Qualifications of a Granthi - 3.2 Professional Qualifications" (PDF). Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Medford, USA. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

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