Chandigarh, Nov 9 (UNI) Diwali, the festival of lights is being celebrated across the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal with religious fervour and enthusiasm.
The celebrations began with devotees making a beeline to temples and gurdwaras to offer prayers. People greeted each other and exchanged gifts.
There was a large rush of devotees at the Golden Temple in Amritsar since morning. The devotees took a dip in the 'sarowar' (holy tank) and offered prayers at the Harmandir Sahib, the sanctum sanctorum.
Diwali is an important festival for the Sikhs as it was on this day that the sixth Guru Hargobind was released from Gwalior fort by the then Moghul emperor Jehangir. It was Guru Hargobind who got the Akal Takht constructed inside the Golden Temple complex. The Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
As is customary, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vidanti read out his message for the Sikh community after the evening prayers at the Golden Temple. He called upon the Sikhs, particularly the youth to shun all forms of intoxicants and called upon them to get themselves baptised.
The holiest Sikh shrine was brightly illuminated with lights and the traditional 'diyas'. A large number of devotees from all over the country have assembled at the Golden Temple to witness the display of fireworks later in the evening.