Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrated with fervour

Sunday, November 21, 2010

AMRITSAR/CHANDIGARH - The Golden Temple complex in Amritsar Sunday shimmered with tens of hundreds of lights put up to decorate the holiest of Sikh shrines to mark Gurpurab, the 541st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Sikhism’s founder.

Devotees in their thousands gathered at the complex, where the Harmandar Sahib is located, to offer prayers on the auspicious day.

“This is a very auspicious day for us. Gurpurab is celebrated with full fervour and enthusiasm by people, not only here but in other countries as well,” Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar said.

“Guru Nanak Dev showed us the path of truth and commitment. We have celebrated this festival with full devotion, rising above the close-minded considerations of caste, colour and religion,” he added.

Guru Nanak was born in 1469 at Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan’s Punjab province).

Hundreds of devotees lined up at gurdwaras across Punjab and in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh since early Sunday.

“Guru Nanak Dev was a great spiritual ambassador who showed us the path of salvation by spreading the cult of devotion to God and message of love, compassion and spirituality amongst the mankind. He envisioned a casteless society, free of any ritual,” Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Sunday.

“Guruji’s teachings are still relevant, especially in the present complex and materialistic society. I appeal to the people to imbibe the spirit of service and humility as preached by Guru Nanak Dev,” Badal stated.

Huge crowds thronged the Nada Sahib gurdwara at Panchkula, 15 km from Chandigarh.

Langars or community kitchens were organised at all gurdwaras across Punjab and even along major highways to serve traditional food.

In Pakistan’s Nankana Sahib district, over 15,000 Sikh pilgrims from Pakistan, India, Canada and other parts of the world gathered for the celebrations.

The three-day celebrations at the Gurdwara Janam Asthan concluded Sunday with a special procession and recitation from the Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.

Around 4,000 Sikhs arrived from India alone for the anniversary celebrations in Nankana Sahib, considered the most revered pilgrimage for Sikhs.

The pilgrims will also visit religious sites in Hasan Abdal, Aimen Abad and Lahore before returning to their respective countries Nov 29.

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