London, UK: A gurdwara in West London is expected to be the focal point of celebrations here on October 9 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Ram Dass.
Founded in 1978 and redesigned and expanded in 1992 and 2003, the Sri Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Hounslow, close to the Heathrow airport, is visited by Sikh devotees from the surrounding London boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond, Spelthorne Borough and Kingston. It also attracts Sikhs from the rest of the UK.
Head Granthi of the gurdwara Bhai Karnail Singh told The Tribune it would be a full day of kirtans, kathas and lectures on the life of Guru Ram Dass on Wednesday. On Friday, the gurdwara is organising a 48-hour ‘akhand path’ for the same purpose.
“The planning of the Harmandar Sahib and the excavation of the sarovar around it was carried out during his time,” says UK-based Giani Jaswant Singh Markhandwale. “Before that, the area was simply a collection of villages. It was the Guru who bought the land and created the sarovar.”
Giani Jaswant Singh says all the 300 UK-based gurdwaras, which cater to the spiritual needs of some 4,30,000 Sikhs, would be celebrating Guru Ram Dass’ birth anniversary, but the Sri Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Hounslow would witness major celebratory activities. The gurdwara attracts an average of 500 visitors on a week day. The number rises to around 2,000 on Sundays. On special occasions, the gurdwara is known to attract as many as 8,000 visitors.
Source: The Tribune