Baba Deep Singh is one of the most revered martyrs of Sikh history. Paintings show him fighting with his head on his left palm, still wielding his sword with the right. He laid down his life to protect the sanctity of. the Golden Temple.
Not much is known about the early life of Baba Deep Singh. But during the hey-day of Dal Khalsa he was the leader of Nishan Walia Misi which was entrusted with the care of Gurdwaras, including the Golden Temple.
Ahmad Shah Abdali had come to Punjab again in 1762 AD. On the eve of Baisakhi he came to Amritsar with a large force and blew up the Golden Temple and the adjoining bungas. With the rubble he got the sacred tank filled. He wanted to crush the Sikhs and to annihilate their holiest place which had become their rallying point.
Coming immediately after the Ghallughara (massacre), the demolition of the Golden Temple was like adding salt to injury. The Khalsa all over but particularly in Malwa region was furious. Baba Deep Singh felt that it was his responsibility to protect the Golden Temple and he must now atone for destruction. He had gone into seclusion and was making copies of the Adi Granth. He came out and proclaimed his intention to rebuild the Golden Temple. The Khalsa also came out of their retreats. Many villagers joined Baba Deep Singh as he moved towards Amritsar. By the time he reached Tarn Taran, he had over five thousand followers with him. They halted there for some time to take rest and also to pray at the Gurdwara.
Jahan Khan, the local commander of Amritsar was bent upon preventing the march. With a force of 20,000 men he met the Khalsa, 6000 strong, at village Golerwal about 8 km from Amritsar. It was a bloody battle. Jahan Khan rode an elephant and was watching the operations. Dayal Singh, a lieutenant of Baba Deep Singh with a party of 500 companions cut his way to where Jahan Khan was standing and killed him. Thus Khalsa got the initial advantage.
The second encounter took place at Ramsar in the city. The result was a terrible massacre. Jamal Shah, one of the commanders, challenged Baba Deep Singh to a hand-to-hand fight. The challenge was accepted. Both fought bravely till they were fatally wounded. Baba Deep Singh was wounded in the neck and was barely able to get to the Golden Temple to keep his tryst with death.
The reconstruction work at the Golden Temple which gave it its present form was started by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in 1764 A.D.