Some travelers swear by road trips. Others shudder at the thought. And with unpredictable traffic delays on Kenyan roads, driving anywhere from five to eight hours from Nairobi to Mombasa is usually meant for only the patient and intrepid types.
Hot, irritable and mentally fatigued from being hyper-attentive avoiding risky motorists that seem to only overtake at the worst places along the road; it seems that only a hot smooth cup of chai and some delicious wholesome food can calm your spirits.
And what better way to calm your spirits than paying a visit to Sikh Temple Makindu?
Enter: Sikh Temple Makindu
Just off the main road, the Makindu Gurudwara, a place of worship for Sikhs, which can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Sikh flag, is a must-visit for weary travelers.
Once past the gate, leaving the dusty, chaotic and overcrowded road behind; colourful peacocks and clean, tranquil and pristine lush grounds greet you, reminding you that paradise is always just around the corner.
Upholding to the philosophies of Sikhism, free food and shelter is provided to anyone who passes through the gates of the Gurudwara – regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. Promoting ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness, and oneness of all humankind, the Langar Hall is a canteen where volunteers from the community prepare delicious vegetarian food. Accommodation is also available for travelers up to two nights. There are no charges for these services, but since the Gurudwara is sustained by solely community contributions, visitors are encouraged to donate whatever they can manage.
A heritage and culture fix
Referred to the Golden Temple of Africa, Harmandir Sahib, the Sikh Temple Makindu is one of the most beautiful and unique ones outside of India. Located about 160km from Nairobi on the main Nairobi to Mombasa Road, the compound was built in 1926 by Sikhs who were constructing the railway line from Mombasa to Lake Victoria, connecting to Uganda. Many of the artisans and train drivers were Sikhs and the station at Makindu became a place of religious fervour. Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus would gather together in the evenings and sing praises of God under a tree, at the very spot where the current Gurudwara now stands.
Opened to everyone, the Sikh Temple Makindu is a great place where you can withdraw from the mundane and reflect on the spiritual, and also explore a piece of Kenya’s history.
Head coverings are made available outside every entrance, and abiding to such customs is encouraged. The Sikh Temple Makindu’s fabled ambiance of peace and bliss, tranquil setting and historic significance makes this a ‘must’ on road trips to Mombasa. Head back on the road feeling calm, refreshed, and spiritually and physically satiated.