Amritsar, Punjab: Thousands of pilgrims from India, Pakistan and other countries participated in Guru Nanak Dev birth anniversary celebrations at Nankana Sahib amid tight security arrangements by Pakistani agencies.
Talking to The Tribune on phone from Pakistan, former Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Mastan Singh said the programme started with the Akhand Path at Nankana Sahib, followed by Gurbani recital.
A ‘nagar kirtan’ was also taken out from Gurdwara Nankana Sahib to Gurdwara Tambu Sahib with a tight security blanket thrown around it. He said the chairman and members of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, which looks after gurdwara affairs in Pakistan, were also present.
Legislators from Pakistan’s Punjab Province, including Ramesh Singh Arora, too participated in the celebrations. He said around 25,000 Sikhs had gathered for celebrating the event at the holy shrine.
Prof Kalyan Singh, a resident of Nankana Sahib, said thousands of Sikhs from different parts of Pakistan had already converged at the holy town as there were a couple of Muharram holidays prior to the Gurpurb.
He said around 1,000 pilgrims had arrived from Australia, USA, Canada and Norway. Besides, the Sikh jathas led by the SGPC, DSGMC and American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) had also reached. He said the Pakistan government had made “unprecedented” security arrangements, leaving nothing to chance, as policemen from the special branch as well as elite force were deployed during the ‘nagar kirtan’ and other programmes. He said the Sikh Sangat from the UK, Peshawar, and other places also put up ‘langars’ at different points around Nankana Sahib.
Prof Kalyan said while the programmes scheduled for the day had completed smoothly, ‘Gurbani Kirtan’ would be organised at the holy shrine in the evening, which would continue past midnight.
The Gurpurb was celebrated with religious fervour in Amritsar with a large number of pilgrims paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and taking a holy dip in the ‘sarovar’.
Long queues of devotees were witnessed at the holy shrine since morning. The ‘bhog’ ceremony of the Akhand Path took place at Gurdwara Manji Sahib Diwan Hall. The SGPC also put up ‘jalau’ (show of splendour) inside the sanctum sanctorum in which rare artifacts presented to the holy shrine were displayed.
‘Langars’ were organised in different parts of the city to mark the occasion. The evening witnessed ‘Gurbani Kirtan’ at the holy shrine with spectacular fireworks culminating the celebrations.
Source: The Tribune