Amritsar, Nov 24: Sikh devotees in different parts of the country are celebrating the 538th birth anniversary of founder leader Guru Nanak Dev. Scores of devotes have gathered at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to participate in the celebrations.
Devotees carried the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, amid chanting of hymns. The procession was led by "Punj Piaras" or the beloved five. The procession started from the Akal Takht, the highest spiritual seat of the Sikhs, and passed through the decorated streets and bazaars of the city.
"The Nagar Kirtan started from the Akal Takht will pass through the streets and bazaars, spreading the holy message of Guru Nanak Dev," said Giani Gurbachan Singh, a priest of the Golden Temple.
Devotees organised 'langar' or community meal on the occasion during which "chapatis" or bread and dal, a pulse preparation, were distributed. "On this auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak birthday, I want to wish everyone. We pray to the almighty that this holy celebration passes off peacefully," said Chaman Sabharwal, a devotee.
Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion, was born in November 1469 at Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib. The anniversaries of Sikh Guru"s are known as Gurpurabs (festivals), and celebrated by Sikhs with devotion. Gurpurabs mark the culmination of Prabhat Pheris, the early morning procession that starts from the gurdwaras and then goes around localities singing 'shabads" (hymns).
The celebrations also include the three-day Akhand path, during which the Guru Granth Sahib is read continuously, from beginning to end without a break. On the day of the festival, the Granth Sahib is also carried in a procession on a float, decorated with flowers, throughout a village or city.
Five armed guards, who represent the Panj Pyares, head the procession carrying Nishan Sahibs (the Sikh flag). Local bands play religious music as a special part of the procession.