Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrated

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(Clockwise) Thousands of Sikhs take part in events marking the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib on Tuesday; women and girls line up to take part in the rites; a pilgrim shows the commemorative coin issued on the occasion; and Sikh boys participate in a ritual.—APP / White Star
(Clockwise) Thousands of Sikhs take part in events marking the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib on Tuesday; women and girls line up to take part in the rites; a pilgrim shows the commemorative coin issued on the occasion; and Sikh boys participate in a ritual.—APP / White Star

SHEIKHUPURA: Over 10,000 Sikh pilgrims from around the world gathered at Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib on Tuesday to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev — the founder of Sikhism.

The anniversary comes just after the historic opening of the Kartarpur Corridor allowing Sikhs in India to visit one of their most sacred shrines without applying for a visa.

Clad in traditional attire and sporting swords, the devotees from India, Canada, the US, the UK and the UAE paraded their holy book Guru Granth Sahib in a traditional palki procession leading from Gurdwara Janam Asthan through the streets and moving towards eight other smaller gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. The entire two-kilometre route was carpeted in red and dotted with buntings and pennants.

Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in present day Pakistani city Nankana Sahib and is believed to have gained enlightenment in Sultanpur Lodhi in the Indian state of Punjab. He was the first of ten gurus who developed Sikhism.

Sikh leaders such as Sardar Gurmit Singh, Sardar Gurchand Singh from the US and others expressed their gratitude and satisfaction over the security measures and hospitality extended to them by the government of Pakistan.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Federal Religious Affairs Minister Syed Noorul Haq Qadri and Interior Minister Syed Ijaz Shah also paid a visit to Gurdwara Janam Asthan.

The governor said Kartarpur corridor’s opening in such a short span of time was historical and Mr Shah said his country had given a message of peace by inaugurating the corridor. Nankana deputy commissioner Raja Mansoor and district police officer Ismael Kharak were also present.

According to Indian media, gurdwaras across the country offered prayers and prepared langars to mark the occasion.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019