Guru Nanak traveled vast distances in four major journeys with his MuslimMinstrel, Bhai Mardana. During one of those journeys, he traveled across the Muslim world and at one point stayed outside of Baghdad. According to historical sources he held a dialogue with Sheikh Bahlool Dana, a Sufi saint. At some point, a shrine to Guru Nanak was built alongside Bahlool Dana's tomb. In the chaos following the 2003 invasion of Iraq looters or vandals stripped the monument of religious texts and a plaque commemorating the meeting.
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During both world wars Sikh soldiers in the British Army were posted in Iraq. During World War I the shrine to Guru Nanak was rediscovered by a Sikh captain, Dr Kirpal Singh, after being forgotten for centuries. In the early 1930s Sikh soldiers repaired the shrine and during World War II continued its upkeep.