In 1705 Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji went towards Machiwara after leaving The Fort of Anandpur Sahib. His two younger sons Baba Zorawar Singh Ji (9 years) and Baba Fateh Singh Ji (7 years) and his mother Mata Gujri Ji, got separated from him while crossing Sirsa nadi (river) during a dark cold night of December. Guru Sahib lost his two elder sons Baba Ajit Singh Ji (19 years) and Baba Jujhar Singh Ji (15 years) who attained Shaeedi (martyrdom) in the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib. In Machiwara, Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan, two Muslim horse dealers helped Guru Sahib by declaring him "Uchh Da Peer", a very famous Muslim saint from South Punjab, providing him with essential items and carrying him with great honour and respect on a Palki, assisted by a few Sikhs and Muslims so that Guru Sahib leaves the area respectfully.
In those days of severe hardship, some Rajas refused even to offer help to Guru Sahib due to fear of death as Aurangzeb was after the life of Guru Sahib and his family. When Guru Sahib reached Raikot state, the Muslim Rajput Chief, Rai Kalha welcomed him and felt honored in offering his services to Guru Sahib as his guest for as long as he wanted to stay. Guru Ji spent a few days with Rai Kalha.
Guru Sahib on reaching Raikot asked Noora Mahi who was grazing Buffaloes in the fields, to serve him milk in Ganga Sagar which was a part of his personal belongings. Noora Mahi said that his buffaloes did not give milk. Guru Sahib told him to utter the name of God and start milking a buffalo. To the surprise and amazement of Noora Mahi, the buffalo gave milk and he collected it in the Ganga Sagar.
On Guru Sahib's desire Rai Kalha sent his trustworthy servant Noora Mahi to Sirhind, who brought the most tragic news of the martyrdom of Guru Sahib's mother, Mata Gujri Ji and his two minor sons.
Before leaving Raikot, in recognition and in appreciation of the services and hospitality extended by Rai Kalha, a Muslim Chief who risked his and his family's lives, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji presented Ganga Sagar to Rai Kalha as his personal gifts.
The present custodian of Ganga Sagar is Rai Azizullah Khan (the 9th generation descendant of Rai Kalha III), grandson of Khan Bahadur Rai Inayat Khan and the heir of the Rai family who have kept this sacred gift of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji with great respect and care for more than 300 years.
Khande di Pahul (Amrit ceremony) was initiated in the times of Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji when Khalsa was inaugurated at Sri Anandpur Sahib on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. The beloved Panj Pyare Bhai DayaSingh Ji, Bhai Mukham Singh Ji, Bhai Sahib Singh Ji, Bhai Dharam Singh Ji and Bhai Himmat Singh Ji were the first to receive Amrit and they later gave Amrit to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Sikh men were then given the name "Singh" meaning "lion" and the women received the last name "Kaur" meaning "princess.
A Sarb Loh (Iron or steel) cauldron (Bata or bowl) is filled with clean water. Some Patashas (sugar crystals/plums) are poured into the water. The Five Beloveds then sit in Vir Asan ( seated on the ground with left knee down and the right knee up) around the cauldron.
The mixture of Amrit is stirred with a Khanda while the Panj Pyares recite path of five Banis (Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Sawayae, Chaupai Sahib andAnand Sahib) .
The various ingredients and the aids to the preparation of this Holy Nectar are symbolic of a few things that are held in the highest regards by theKhalsa. The "Sarb Loh Bata" (Iron cauldron) signifies the strength of heart and mind. The chanting of hymns signify strong faith and cohesion in the devotees. The Khanda (the two-edged sword) signifies a spirit of valor and bravery.
Five handfuls of Amrit are given for drinking, five handfuls are sprinkled over the hair and another five are sprinkled into the eyes of each of the devotee who offer to be initiated.