Amritsar, Oct.26 : A group of 370 Sikh pilgrims from Pakistan and some foreign countries crossed over to India on Saturday at Attari border in a religious procession to attend the Guru Ta Gaddi Diwas celebrations at Nanded in Maharashtra.
The group arrived to mark the tercentenary of Guru Granth Sahib at Takht Hazoor Sahib at Nanded. The holy book of Sikhs is revered as living Guru in Sikhism.
Five Sikh Priests as per the Sikh tenets led the religious procession.
The Pakistani group was accorded a warm welcome at the Attari border, by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the governing body of Sikhs, State Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranikey, troops of Border Security Force, Punjab Police and senior police and administrative officers.
"We had a long desired to celebrate the Guru Purab festival here in India so that we can embrace our brethrens openly in the country. We can also visit the Gurusthan (the place of Guru) in India. There is no limit of my ecstasy today. It is the kindheartedness of the lord that I have been bestowed with this opportunity to visit the site and pray for fulfilling all my wishes before the lord," said Dr. Sahib Singh, one of the devotees from Pakistan.
Hundreds of Sikhs, who had arrived to receive the religious procession from Pakistan, showered rose-petals on the members of the group. Band troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Punjab police played religious tunes to welcome them.
Guard of Honour was also given to the Guru Granth Sahib at the border.
Besides the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee organised a 'langar' (community kitchen) for the religious delegation.
The religious group was led by the acting President of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Bishan Singh along with five Executive members.
"I am very happy that such a Jatha has come to India for the first time. The government of India and the Sri Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee have accepted it. I want that such groups should come from Pakistan as well as be allowed from India. So that the love and affection between the Sikhs in India and Pakistan also grows," said Bishan Singh, Organiser of the Sikh Jatha.
Sawroop of Guru Granth Sahib was also brought from Pakistan with utmost respect being escorted by the five Sikh priests amidst the rain of rose petals.
The procession was later taken to the Harminder Sahib (Golden Temple) by the SGPC in special buses amidst the religious slogans 'Boley So Nihal Sat Sri Akal'.
People from all walks of life and religious faith attended the function along with senior government functionaries. By Ravinder Singh Robin