According to the Nanakshahi calendar, 5 January 2017 is the 350th anniversary of the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Celebrations are expected to be special this year as it is the 350th Prakash Parv. So, how are important Gurudwaras associated with the life of Guru Gobind Singh gearing up for the event? Let us take a look.
Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Patna, Bihar
It is believed that this gurudwara was built at the exact site where the tenth Sikh guru was born. Guru Gobind Singh spent the first four years of his life in a house that stood at this spot. So, Patna will be the centre of attraction during the 350th Prakash Parv celebrations. Thousands of devotees from all across India would be visiting this holy shrine. To manage the rush, railways would run special trains between Patna and Patna Ghat stations, many state transport buses would run up to the Gurudwara, multiple tent cities would be set up to accommodate the influx of devotees and tourist information centers at strategic locations would be set up. As a herald to this mega event, the Bihar state government has declared three-day public holiday. In addition to this, major renovations to the Gurudwara and its adjacent areas have been carried; the city would be decorated with lights and lamps.
- Trivia 1: Most of the vegetables (Sarson da Saag) and pulses (ghee) used to prepare Langar food would be brought in from Punjab.
- Trivia 2: Guru Gobind Singh was actually born on December 22, 1666 but the date was standardized to January 5 after much deliberation.
- Trivia 3: Many personal belongings of the Sikh guru (such as (wooden sandals, kirpan, etc.) are preserved within the Gurudwara.
Prakash Parv Rituals
- Akhand Panth: The festivities begin two days earlier from (on January 3), when the holy priests start reading the holy Shri Granth Sahib (written by Guru Gobind Singh himself). The Akhand Panth (non-stop reading) will culminate on January 5.
- Prabhat Pheri: A procession or Prabhat Pheri will be held today (January 4). In this procession, the devotees are seen singing hymns while many other devotees standing by the road offer sweets and tea to the procession attendees. The procession is marked by a float that carries the Shri Granth Sahib. This float is guarded by five armed guards or Panj Pyares.
- Kirtaans & Langar: On the birth anniversary, Kirtans and Kathas are organized within the Gurudwara. Apart from this, the devotees can have delicious Langar food to their fill. A special Karah Prasad (made of equal parts of butter, sugar and flour and water) will be served before the afternoon langar.
Other religious places associated with Guru Gobind Singh
While Patna is the go-to destination to enjoy the fervor of Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th Prakash Parv, there are many other Gurudwara’s that are integrally associated with the life of this great preacher, soldier and politician.
Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Bathinda, Punjab
It is an important place in the life of the tenth Sikh Guru, for here he finalized the full version of the Shri Granth Sahib. Damdama means ‘breathing place’ and the Guru relaxed here after fighting many defensive battles against Mughals and hill men.
Gurudwara Bhangani Sahib, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh
The Gurudwara signifies victory, power and unity of the Sikhs. It was erected at the exact location where the Battle of Bhagani was fought between Raja Bhim Chand and Guru Gobind Singh. This was Guru Gobind Singh’s first battle victory and that too at the tender age of twenty. Standing in the middle of a paddy field, it looks stunning with its white-marble work.
Takht Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Gurudwara, Nanded, Maharashtra
Feeling insecure of his position, the Nawab of Sirhind commissioned two people to assassinate the Guru. One of the attackers stabbed the Guru and he himself died few days later at Hazur Sahib. The Gurudwara built on the banks of River Godavari is situated at the place where the Tenth Guru died after declaring Guru Granth Sahib as his successor.
Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib, Chamoli, Uttarakhand
Guru Gobind Singh stayed at this site while camping for his battles in the Shivaliks. Hemkund finds a mention in the Dasam Granth of Granth Sahib. Though situated in the Himalayas at an elevation of 4,632 meters, and largely inaccessible through the year, this is an important pilgrimage destination for Sikhs.
Gurudwara Sri Paonta Sahib, Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh
It was here that the Tenth Guru finished composing the Dasam Granth of Shri Granth Sahib. It holds great importance among Sikhs world over. There is a golden Palki, dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh at this Gurudwara.
Apart from the usual rituals associated with Prakash Parv, these Gurudwaras will be decorated with light and lamps, there will be kirtaans and kavi melas organized on the eve of the event. So, celebrate the special day in style by visiting one of these Gurudwaras.