Today the Nankana Sahib Estate consists of about 16,962 acres, mainly leased to farmers and residents of Nankana Sahib. Almost all houses in Nankana Sahib are built on the property donated by the Bhatti family. "Babaji" (as Guru Ji is affectionately called by the Bhatti family), says Rai Mohammad Saleem Akram Bhatti, the 19th generation descendant of Rai Bular, "is revered by all of us as our father."
The family had directly managed and looked after this property on behalf of Guru Nanak many years after him by the successive heads of the Bhatti family. Father-son duo Rai Rehmat Khan and Rai Anayat collected revenue after the Partition and deposited it with the Gurdwara Management, which was in turn used for the welfare and development of local Sikhs and the seven gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib.
The Rai Bular family has maintained the highest traditions of Muslim-Rajput culture. It is said that during the Partition, Rai Hussain, father of Rai Bashir, personally escorted to safety over 1,000 Sikhs during the Partition. Heartbroken by the Partition and the massacre of thousands of lives, he passed away in 1948.
The earliest historical reference to the city of Talwandi (now Nankana Sahib) is found in ballads. There’s mention of the first siege of Jaisalmer that occurred during the reign of Alla-ud-din Khilji (1295-1315). Khilji's Army had attacked Jaisalmer, a state in Rajputana, to avenge raids by Rajputs. It is said that after a bloody battle, one of the Bhatti Rajput prince who survived was taken hostage. He was sent to exile somewhere north of Punjab, near Kotli (about 40 miles from the present-day Lahore).
Folklore has it that Alla-ud-din Khilji was so touched by this boy's bravery that he paid a tribute to the young prince by giving him about 1,50,000 acres of Punjab's most fertile land as compensation for his loss and also as an enticement to keep him from rallying troops and building a new Rajput Bhatti Army. This exiled prince is said to have named the place Raipur and later Rai Bhoe di Talwandi (after his son). Nankana literally means Nanak da ana or the coming of Nanak.
In early 1994, a move was initiated to set up the Nankana Sahib Foundation. The purpose of the trust, which was to come up at Kot Hussain Khan, about 5 km from Nankana Sahib, was to generate revenue for the maintenance Nankana Sahib. The Bhatti family donated 10 acres for the same, but the Pakistan Government of Benazir Bhutto did not give permission for the trust and today the place has only a gate at the site.
Since almost all houses of Nankana Sahib are built on the property given to Guru Nanak by the Bhattis, the Nankana Sahib Estate is the property of the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara (Gurdwara Janam Asthan) and it cannot be sold to anyone. Today, about one lakh people reside on this property.
Though all members of the family have always been close to the Sikh community, Rai Hadayat Khan Bhatti, the 17th descendant of Rai Bular, deserves a special mention as he devoted a lot of time to strengthening Sikh-Muslim relations. He led the Sikh procession on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Guru Nanak. He inculcated the spirit of service in his two sons, Rai Aslam Bhatti and Rai Akram Bhatt, who conducted Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara and invited them for food at their house.