In summers, when people feel hot and tired, Sikhs stand there to spread positive energy and pour chilled flavoured 'chabeel' in glasses that are distributed with full fervour.
'Chabeel' is a Punjabi word referring to sweet, cool, non-alcoholic drink.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet with Mughal soldiers pouring burning hot sand on his body. He was dipped in boiling water and the torture went on for five long days. It is said that Mian Mir (a Muslim Sufi Saint and friend of Guru Sahib) tried to intercede on behalf of the Guru, but Guru Ji forbade him to interfere, saying that it is the "Will of the Almighty"
All this torture because Guru Sahib had declined the marriage proposal of Chandu Shah’s daughter. Chandu Shah was a successful banker with the Mughals. When Chandu’s daughter-in-law heard about the torture, she bribed the jailor and came to the prison where Guru sahib was kept. With sherbet and other delicacies to serve the Guru, she offered him to sip the sweetened water. The Guru declined to accept anything from Chandu’s house but blessed the lady for her faith and devotion.
When the tyrants failed to find more ways to torture the Guru who had borne all of it with complete equanimity, he was asked for a bath in the river Ravi by the side of the Mughal fort, in which he was imprisoned. Thousands of his followers watched the Guru walk to the river with tears in their eyes. His bare body glistened with blisters. There were blisters on his feet and he couldn’t even walk properly “Sweet is Your will, O God; the gift of your Name alone I seek.” said the Guru again and again.
Guru Sahib took the holy dip and was never seen again.
Chabeel marks the remembrance to the torture meted out to Guru Arjan Dev Ji and finally the relief that river Ravi provided to him. On any other Gurparv, Langars are organized but it is Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s martyrdom day when symbolically, sikhs setup Chabeels on the roadsides to provide relief from the hot scorching sun to travelers.