Sohan Mudhar and Avtar Thind are members of the 100 Mile Sikh Society. They are looking forward to regular gatherings at the temple again. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Sohan Mudhar and Avtar Thind are members of the 100 Mile Sikh Society. They are looking forward to regular gatherings at the temple again. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Everyone welcome at Sikh temple in 100 Mile House

Members hope they can soon reopen for weekly prayers

Shoes sit inside the door of the 100 Mile House Gurdwara, but no one is praying. Vaisakhi came and went with barely a whisper, the birth of Guru Nanak acknowledged in quiet prayer at home.

But if all goes well, Sohan (Sonny) Mudhar hopes they will soon welcome back members for weekly prayer or gatherings, maybe even get a priest in full-time again.

“When the restrictions lift we will go back to reopening our temple,” said Mudhar, 79, adding they will also open their langar (kitchen). “Everyone is welcome.”

Some 50 Sikhs, including children and students, call the South Cariboo home. It’s a far cry from the 1970s when 100 Mile House had about 55 Sikh families, drawn here by the area’s sawmills and small-village vibe. The 100 Mile Sikh Society was formed in 1973, the temple on Blackstock Road opened six years later on Nov. 9, Guru Nanak’s birthday.

“We decided we needed a temple,” said Mudhar, who came here in 1965 and was one of the first Sikhs in the area. He worked as a skidder for what is now McNeil and Sons Logging Ltd. “We built it by hand.”

For years, the Gurdwara was the gathering place for the community, until slowly the sawmills started shutting down, or the original Sikh families left, following their children to the city. As the population dwindled, full-time priests were hard to keep, and local members had to scramble for a priest for their weekly, or sometimes only monthly, prayer.

“They move away from 100 Mile because they follow their kids. They end up in bigger cities,” Mudhar said. “It’s a tradition that kids and all the families live together.”

Most usually return, at least for religious celebrations, like Vaisakhi in the spring and birth of Guru Nanak in November. At times, 500 people would fill the temple over the three-day religious events.

READ MORE: Northern B.C. Sikh community donates thousands to charity after sale of temple

“We still have members who have gone and come back for these two gatherings, they come here to celebrate with us,” Mudhar said. “They really miss 100 Mile because it’s more like a village and most of our people come from villages.”

Although the Sikh population has been declining over the years, Mudhar senses change is in the air.

While Sikhs are no longer coming for the logging industry, they are slowly returning to the South Cariboo, lured by the small-town atmosphere that brought Mudhar here more than 50 years ago. They are buying motels and gas stations in 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache and the Interlakes. Students also come here to study, working in various jobs until they can get Canadian citizenship and practice qualified trades.

“It seems we are getting people coming back. There’s too much pressure in Vancouver so people want to move out here,” Mudhar said, adding they have about 25 students living in the area. “We don’t know where they are going to end up. They are really hard workers.”

Mudhar, whose son is still in the 100 Mile area – his daughters have moved to Kamloops and Surrey – said he loves this community. Despite a situation in 1994, when the temple was vandalized by local youth, costing Mudhar $20,000 in repairs, he said it’s a great place to live and work. He looks forward to getting back to regular prayer and gatherings.

The temple, on its large grassy lot, has room to expand if needed. “I really like it here. The jobs are good, the people are nice. We’re getting some families back so it’s good for our temple.”



kelly.sinoski@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

100 Mile House

Just Posted

Miguel and Krista Vieira are looking forward to being able to spend more time with their girls Makayla, left, and Hanna. (Mandy McLelland Photography - submitted).
70 Mile General Store owners moving on

Change comes after 34 years in the family

Sophie Rywaczuk mixes cake batter while making a birthday cake for a client. (Photo submitted)
Young entrepreneurs set up shop, sell local wares

Farmers’ market launching pad for young bakers

Jasmine Kreschuk, PSO's music director, speaks to Grade 5 and 6 students at 100 Mile Elementary about changes to the band program. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Collective band program planned for South Cariboo schools this fall

Elementary students in 100 Mile area can opt to take part in after school band at PSO

John Archie plans to share his experiences of residential school and life on the rez at an event on June 19. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press)
Tsq’escen to share stories of ‘life on the rez’

John Archie to share his experiences in event Saturday

100 Mile House Fire Rescue responds to a grass fire on private property near Canim-Hendrix Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Small fire off Canim-Hendrix Road extinguished

The small grass fire was reported by neighbours and quickly brought under control

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Most Read