First in Virginia: 1978
The Sikh Foundation of Virginia was founded in the early to mid-1970s. At that time, there was no Gurdwara in Virginia, and families used to go to either the Gurdwara on Military Road in Washington, DC, or the Guru Nanak Foundation of America, Silver Spring, Maryland.
Once the number of families in Northern Virginia reached a critical mass, about a dozen like-minded Punjabi families came together to explore the idea of building a gurdwara in Northern Virginia to meet the religious, cultural and social needs of their community. The first meeting was held in Fairfax County Library in Fairfax City in 1978. An Ad hoc Committee was formed and tasked with writing the Constitution and Bylaws of a religious non-profit organization, and looking for a property to build the gurdwara.
Inauguration: Baisakhi 1989
Over the next three years, the Committee launched a membership drive, selected and registered the name of the organization as Sikh Foundation of Virginia, and approved its Constitution and Bylaws.
The organization purchased a five acre piece of land in 1981, but design, permits, and fundraising took another 5-6 years. In the meantime, the community started holding kirtan diwan and langar on Sundays at various members’ houses. The groundbreaking for the building was held in 1987, and the present Gurdwara Sahib was inaugurated on Baisakhi day in 1989.
Upgrades accommodate growth
Since then, the Sikh Foundation of Virginia Gurdwara Sahib has been serving the community by holding regular diwans, and catering to various religious, spiritual, and cultural needs of the community. Over time, to keep up with the growth of the congregation and its concomitant demands, the original building has been renovated and upgraded by enlarging stairs, expanding kitchen, adding lobby/ patio/Porch, and building an additional room upstairs for Akhand Paths.
The Sikh Foundation of Virginia Gurdwara Sahib has the distinction of being the oldest Gurdwara established in the Commonwealth of Virginia.