Satnam Kaur and her family members are all done with their preparations to mark the festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti which is going to be celebrated tomorrow on 10 Nov. 2011 on the full moon day of Kartika as the Birth Anniversary of the first Sikh guru and founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. It is one of the most sacred festivals of the Sikhs.
Satnaam Kaur ( in photo below), a housewife from Guru Ramdaas Colony, Udaipur said, “Celebration of Guru Nanak Jayanti starts a few days after Diwali, people take out Prabhat Pheris or the early morning processions from the Gurdwaras for 11 days. They go around their locality singing shabad (the religious hymns).”
in photo: Satnam Kaur with her Grand Daughter – photo by Kali Garg
About the preparation of celebration Satnam said, “Our day begins early in the morning with prayers that are held at Gurudwara at around 5 am followed by tea and snacks that are served at 7 am. Preparation of Langar starts early in the morning, men volunteer the cooking and chopping work is taken up by women of the community which is called sabzi seva.”
Inderpreet Singh Saluja, a businessman told UT, “In the day, we attend the kirtan at Gurudwara which is followed by Ardaas (Sikh prayer). Atoot Langar Seva starts at around 1:30 pm where everybody can come and eat irrespective of class, caste or creed.”
The followers of Sikhism, the 5th largest religion of the world, have marked their presence in Udaipur from pre independence time.
According to Navpreet Singh (in photo above), Secretary of Gurudwara Committee, “In 1945 a person named Sujan Singh Saluja migrated from Jehlum in Pakistan to a small town of Amet in Rajasthan and later on in 1950 Sujan Singh shifted to Udaipur. He is among the first Sikh to relocate himself in Udaipur.”
At present, there are nearly six to seven thousand Sikhs living in Udaipur and there are 5 Gurudwaras in different locations of the city namely: Sikh Colony, Shastri Circle, Hiran Magri Sec-11, Sec-14 and Pratap Nagar.
The oldest among all is one at Shastri Circle and biggest is Gurudwara Sachha Khand Darbar at Sikh Colony.
While elaborating the perception of Sikhism and its followers, Navpreet said, “Sikhism is based on the strong teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and the holy Guru Granth Sahib but we equally respect all other religions and also believe in them.”
The Sikh colony has been decorated beautifully, all men, women and children are busy in preparing for tomorrow’s Langar (Communal Feast) which is all prepared by volunteers of the community.
The chapatis served in the Langar are prepared by devotees at their home with the flour and the pouch of Ghee provided by the committee.
in photo: Sikh kids helping in langar preparations – photo by Sayeed Ahmed
Kids are very excited about the festival because of the fair that is organized outside the Gurudwara in the evening tomorrow. The evening prayers at Gurudwara are from 8 pm to 12 am and then prasad will be distributed.
Satnam Kaur said, “We offer Rumala Sahab(gifts) to god. At mid night Guru Nanak ji is born, that moment is of great joy to us. We give wishes to our friends and relatives and enjoy the fireworks that are arranged by Gurudwara.”
Guru Nanak Jayanti is a day of prayers and celebration. The sacred scripture ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ is read non-stop from the beginning to the end for two days preceding the festival. This Akhand Paath culminates on the day of the Guru Nanak Jayanti and the holy book is then taken out in a procession.