Grand celebrations for Guru-da-Gaddi in Nanded

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Nanded, Maharashtra, Oct 26: The tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, before departing this world on November 3, 1708, had conferred the status of 'eternal Guru' to Shri Granth Sahib. To mark the event, 'Guru-da-Gaddi' is organised every year on the same day with this time being its 300th anniversary.

Shri Granth Sahib contains verses written by saint from all section of the society depicting secularism in real sense.

The congregation will begin with the Takhat Snan of the Huzoor Sahib Gurudwara on Oct 27. The Gurudwara Takhat Sachkhand Shri Huzoor Sahib, also known as 'Dakhan Kashi' of the Sikhs, in Abchal Nagar here is one of the five 'Takhats' (seats of authority) in India. It will be followed by the Deep Mala (a series of lamps), a procession carrying the palanquin of the Guru Granth Sahib, Kirtan Darbar, Kathas and others. The celebration is commenced from October 13 and it will be concluded on November four. Almost 10 lakh devotees will join the celebration till its end.

Being the 'Dakhan Kashi', the Sikh pilgrimage is not complete unless they visit the Sachkhand Gurudwara. Guru Gobind Singh had came here, along with Bahadur Shah, through Agra, Ujjain, Balapur, Akola, Badnera, Amravati, Hingoli and Vasmat and was pleased to see the beauty of the place. As a political rivalry, to end the influence of the Guru, the Nawab of Suba Sarhind Wajid Khan sent two Pathans, including Attaulla Khan and Gulkhan, to kill the Guru.

Both of them came to Nanded and started to serve the Guru as if they were his ardent devotees. One day, when the Guru was resting, both of them attacked him and in his defence, the Guru also killed them. Later, in a short period of time, the Guru also died.

To worship the Guru, Maharaja Ranji Singh built Gurudwara Sachkhand from 1832 to 1837.

The city has following eight Gurudwaras:

The Gurudwara Sachkhand: This is the main Gurudwara where the Guru breathed last. Its tomb is decorated with golden plates. The Nishan Sahib attracts, erected at the Gurudwara, attracts the devotees. The Parikrama and other premises have been beautifully built.

Gurudwara Maltekadi Sahib: It is in the Northeast, located two km away from the Gurudwara Sachkhand where the Guru used to meditate.

Gurudwara Sangat Sahib: It is located on the bank of river Godavari and at the centre of Brahampuri locality.

Gurudwara Shikar Ghat Sahib: It is located on the bank of river Godavari at six km distance from the main Gurudwara. It has a beautiful lake.

Gurudwara Heera Ghat Sahib: This is a place where Bahadur Shah presented a valuable diamond to the Guru but the latter threw it into the river Godavari. When Bahadur Shah looked at the river, he found thousands of most valuable diamonds.

Gurudwara Mata Sahib: This is the place of penance of mother of Khalsa, Mata Sahib Kaur. It is located between Gurudwara Shikar Ghat Sahib and Gurudwara Heera Ghat Sahib.

Gurudwara Banda Ghat Sahib: It is located at a km distance form the Gurudwara Sachkhand Sahib on the bank of the river Godavari where one Lakshmandas, in his attempt to defeat the Guru, failed and surrendered himself to him.

Gurudwara Nagina Ghat Sahib: It is close to the Gurudwara Banda Ghat Sahib. Here pride of one wealthy Banjar Sikh was removed by the Guru.

Along with these Gurudwaras, other places of importance are Gurudwara Bhai Daya Singh, Buna Mata Bhago, Angitha Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh.

To administer the shrine, an act was passed on September 20, 1956, in the then Hyderabad State entitled 'The Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hujur Abchal Nagar Sahib Act 1956'.

During the Nizam regime, the place was used as a central and local committee for the administration of the Sikh Gurudwaras. The then Hyderabad based Inspector General of Police used to be the president of the Central Committee. The Act has a provision of constitution of a Gurudwara Board consisting of 17 members, of which three are elected directly through election procedure from amongst the Sikhs of Maharashtra.

Of the remaining 14 members, two are nominated by the Maharashtra Government, one by Andhra Pradesh government, three by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhar Committee Amritsar, one is nominated the chief Khalsa Diwan of Amritsar, two are selected amongst the Sikh MPs and four are nominated by the Sachkhand Hujuri Khalsa Diwan, Nanded.

The nominated members of the Gurudwara Board are spread all over the nation. There is no provision of reservation of seats for women.

The Managing Committee consists of the collector or state government nominated person as its chairman, the superintendent of the Gurudwara Sahib as secretary and three members are nominated by the Gurudwara Board form amongst the Nanded Sikhs.

Being the largest ever celebration scheduled in the city, the district administration has made boarding arrangements by acquiring 56 schools and colleges here and around. In addition, five special camps have been erected around the city to accommodate at least five lakh devotees. Five thousand toilets have been made on the basis of Kumbha Mela and to face any casualty, arrangement of 1060 beds have been made at different hospitals.

In addition to this, a chain of 40 temporary hospitals, having capacity to treat 50,000 patients, has been established. A facelift is also given to the Nanded Railway station, along with constructing well furnished and lavish waiting rooms.

A private air service Kingfisher, having a capacity to carry 66 passengers, was launched on the route of Mumbai-Latur-Nanded-Mumbai from October six. The aerodrome has been constructed by incurring an expenditure of Rs six crore. The devotees will be provided food through langars (free community meal). Over 15,000 Kar Sevaks (volunteers) have joined the work to serve the devotees. To propagate the message of Sikhism that others should be treated as brothers and sisters, the food is served to all people irrespective of caste, religion or creed. The meals will be continued till November 10. The district administration and the corporation have left no stone unturned to provide all amenities to the devotees. To avoid delay or any disturbance in the task, the corporation has cancelled all holidays of the employees form October one to November 15. They have been deployed at various camp sites to provide facilities including water and medicines. Various buildings in the city are also being decorated to welcome the devotees.

An important task of cleaning the huge premises is being done by the Pune based Bharat Vikas Group (BVG).

The police administration is fully prepared to maintain law and order situation during the celebration. A challenging job of maintaining law and order in the city has been shouldered by the District Superintendent of Police Ravindra Singal with implementing an innovating way. He has successfully convinced the students to render cooperation as tourist guides. The students will jointly shoulder responsibility of keeping an eye on suspicious persons, showing direction to the devotees, informing about unattended articles to police and others. Considering the ever increasing threat of bomb explosion, eight bomb detection and diffusion squads, equipped with advance technical assistance, have been deployed in the city.

As a precautionary measure to avoid food poising, the Department of Prevention of Food and Drug adulteration, has constituted 12 squads consisting of 76 inspectors and articles required to collect the sample.

A horse race was also organised as a part of the celebration. It was witnessed by thousands of people at Guru Gobind Singh stadium.

To propagate the importance and spiritual value of the celebration, a campaign was launched during the last year in which a Yatra pilgrimage of ''Guru Maniyo Granth'' (the holy scripture should be accepted as Guru) was taken out on November 15, 2007.

The chariot carrying the weapons including a gun used by Guru Gobind Singh has been brought to the city by the Anant Sahib-Punjab based Sant Baba Seva Singh along with a palanquin having Guru Granth Sahib in it. A wooden cot used by Guru Gobind Singh has already been brought here. All weapons have been kept in the premises of Bawali Sahib for darshan.

To mark the celebration, as a part of the Shri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa Sports Festival, an international tournament of Kabbadi and wrestling between India and Pakistan has been organised on Octorber 31 and November one by Gurudwara Sachkhand Board and the Sandu Group.

The Takhat Sanan (holy bath to the seat of authority) on October 27, Hall Bol (mock attack) on October 29, procession of palanquin carriying Guru Granth Sahib and Guru-da-Gaddi Shaba Kirtan on October 30, Parlokgaman Kirtan (living for abode by the Guru) on November three and again procession of the palanquin and Nagar Kirtan on November four.

The Takhat Sachkhand Gurudwara will be showered with flowers on October 28, 30 and November one by using a helicopter. This will be a special attraction of the festival. A Nagar Sankirtan has been organised on November four from 0300 hrs along with a firework display that will go for 15 hours.

Development of the city is the result of a unique blend of co-operation and co-ordination among the central government, state government and the Nanded Waghla Municipal Corporation. To facilitate the celebration, the political leaders, joining hands with the officials and the people, did justice with the amount received form different sources to make the infrastructure available including roads, buildings, and others. The city, having a population of about six lakh, turned miraculously beautiful with incurring an expenditure of about Rs 500 crores out of Rs 2000 crores sanctioned.

The work of progress will continue till the year 2012.

It is interesting to know that the original plan of providing infrastructure was chalked out in year 2003 was only of Rs 50 crores but later on due to different suggestions it was extended to Rs 2000.

Help of the Forteres Infrastructure Advertisory Services was also sought in this matter. To pave a way to progress 251 residences were to be demolished and 2500 were partially changed. Within 11 months the dispersed families were allotted newly constructed residences.

It is amazing that, to remove hindrance, people rendered their whole hearty cooperation to shift 20 places of worship. There was, and is, no grievance regarding the celebration and work of the celebration amongst the people of all religions.

In spite of having a criteria of population of 10 lakh or to be a capital city of a state, due to the continuous persuasion of the Minster of Industry Ashok Chavan, at the central government, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh included Nanded city in the jurisdiction of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renovation Mission (JNNURM) as a special case. Cooperation of the vice-chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia proved invaluable.

Where there were only two flyovers, now the city has eight flyovers and two subways constructed for the celebration.

UNI

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