A ‘Chabeel‘ is the place where one can take water. Chabeels are organized all over Punjab and Northern India by Sikhs as a remembrance of the torture meted out to their Fifth Guru, Arjan Dev Ji. The story goes like this…
The Guru was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet with Mughal soldiers pouring burning hot sand on his body. The guru was dipped in boiling water. The torture went on for five long days. A Sufi approached the guru and requested the Guru to allow him to undo the burns with his mystic powers. Guru Arjan Dev told him that one must accept the will of God; not a leaf moves without his will.
All of this torture because the Guru had declined the marriage proposal of the daughter of one Chandu Shah, a successful banker with the Mughals. When Chandu’s daughter-in-law heard about the torture, she bribed the jailor and came to the prison with sherbet and other delicacies to serve the Guru. The Guru declined to accept anything from Chandu’s house but blessed the lady for her faith and devotion.
When the tyrants did not know how further to torture the Guru who had borne all of it with complete equanimity, the Guru asked for a bath in the river Ravi by the side of the Mughal fort in which he was imprisoned. Thousands of his followers watched the Guru walk to the river with tears in their eyes. His bare body glistened with blisters. There were blisters on his feet and he couldn’t even walk properly “Sweet is Your will, O God; the gift of your Name alone I seek.” said the Guru again and again.
Chabeel marks the remembrance to the torture meted out to Guru Arjan Dev Ji and finally the relief that river Ravi provided to him. On any other Gurparv, Langars are organized but it is Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s martyrdom day when Symbolically, sikhs setup Chabeels on the roadsides to provide relief from the hot scorching sun to travelers.