By the end of 15th-century Sikhism emerged in India that spoke of generosity, equality, bravery. Since then, the founder of Sikh faith, Guru Nanak has been in every Sikh followers’ home in a form of invisible protector and guardian. Every year, to honour his birthday, massive procession and festivity is held in various Gurudwaras across the world. In India alone it is considered an opportunity to display love and affection to the Guru so the entire temple is decorated in colourful fairy lights and candles. Guru Nanak Jayanti is also known as Gurpurab and also Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav, it is celebrated on 12th November every year and this year is going to be his 550th birthday. It is one of the holiest festivals for the followers of Sikhism. As Guru Nanak Jayanti is being celebrated across the globe, let us take a pilgrimage tour to some of the most popular Gurudwaras in India that are associated closely with Guru Nanak himself.
Sultanpur Lodhi for Gurudwara Sri Ber Sahib
Sultanpur Lodhi is located in a sleepy little town in Kapurthala district, Punjab and it is a historical town where Guru Nanak spent more than 14 years of his early life. During Guru Ji’s time spent here, he was employed as the person in-charge of the civil supplies store. He also married Bibi Sulakhani and raised his children. It was here that he attained enlightenment. As the history goes, while bathing in Bein River he disappeared and went missing for three days, he returned at the place where Gurudwara Shri Santghat Sahib is situated now. Guru Nanak then began his lifelong mission of preaching Sikhism. He also planted a Ber Tree in Gurudwara Shri Ber Sahib which has grown into a large tree. Today, Sultanpur Lodhi has many gurdwaras each commemorating events dedicated to the life of Guru Nanak. And on his 550th Birthday on 12th November, 2019, Sultanpur Lodhi is going to be the centre stage of a grand event held from November 1st to 12th, (the last day to be the main event). It is said to be such a festive celebration that even the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and several other officials will attend Guru Nanak Jayanti.
Amritsar for Golden Temple
Gurpurab is a very auspicious celebration for Sikhs, which marks the birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru. In Amritsar the entire city is adorned in beautiful decorations. And the Harmandir Sahib better known as the Golden Temple is overlaid in beautiful gold foil, it is truly a beautiful attraction widely known across the globe. Built in 1604 by Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru, people are welcomed here irrespective of cast, creed or race to seek solace and enjoy the holy existence. If you visit the temple during the auspicious celebration of Gurpurab, you’ll witness parade with religious processions carrying the Sikh flag, known as the Nishan Sahib. The festival begins with ‘Akhand Path’ prior to Gurpurab. It is said that the gurudwaras recite 48-hour long verses from the Guru Granth Sahib which is the holy book of Sikhs without interruption. This reading is called Akhand Path. There are no time restrictions here, it is open for all at any time of the day. People come from various parts of the country and seek refuge in the Gurudwara. It also offers rooms to rest and free meals to uphold the principle of equality among all people.
New Delhi for Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Coming to Delhi will give you an opportunity to explore Gurudwaras but two of the must visits are Bangla Sahib in New Delhi and Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib Ji in Old Delhi. If you come during the month of November, you can experience the holy festival of Gurpurab, the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. This Gurudwara is one of the most spectacular religious places in Delhi with interesting looking gate and a museum/art gallery on your left as soon as you enter. On the special event of Guru Nanak’s Birthday, the entire complex is beautified with fairy lights and candles everywhere. This holy ground is religiously significant for Sikhs and it has an expansive sarovar which is a sacred pool where people can take a dip to cleanse their sins. It also contains large gold fishes that help cleanse the water. The entire complex is perfect for every travellers coming to see the grand Gurudwara. It contains “Yatri Niwas” which is a Travellers Hostel and also a large hall where people can sit down to practice langar, where free food is prepared by gursikhs who work and also volunteer. Before Bangla Sahib was a religious temple, it was a residence which belonged to Raja Jai Singh. It was formally known as Jaisinghpura Palace located in Jaisingh Pura. This was a historic neighbourhood which was demolished in order to create a shopping district now known as the Connaught Place.