At the Golden Temple, devotees throng to celebrate Guru Arjan Dev's Gurpurab.

At Golden Temple, devotees throng to celebrate Gurupurab.

30-04-2024, Tue.

Amritsar’s heart beats with a special rhythm today as the holiest Sikh shrine, the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, teems with devotees celebrating the Gurupurab of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru.

Every year, Gurupurab, the birth anniversary of a Sikh Guru, witnesses a surge of pilgrims flocking to the Golden Temple. This year, with it being the 400th anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev’s birth, the celebrations are expected to be particularly grand.

As the sun casts its golden rays upon the majestic gilded dome, countless devotees throng the expansive marble causeway leading to the sanctum sanctorum. The air vibrates with the soulful melodies of kirtan (hymns) emanating from the Darbar Sahib, the holy congregation hall.

Devotees, easily identifiable by their colorful turbans and headscarves for women, come from all walks of life and corners of the world. Many walk barefoot as a sign of humility and respect as they inch closer to the sanctum.

Inside the hallowed sanctum, the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture and the embodiment of the Sikh Gurus’ teachings, is adorned with fresh flowers. Langar, the community kitchen, operates in full swing, serving a never-ending stream of pilgrims a simple yet wholesome vegetarian meal – a testament to the Sikh principle of langar, where everyone eats together regardless of social status.

The entire complex resonates with an atmosphere of spiritual reverence and joyous celebration. Langar seva (service) is another important aspect of the Gurupurab celebrations. Devotees young and old volunteer their time and effort in chopping vegetables, preparing and serving langar, and cleaning the premises.

Guru Arjan Dev is revered for his immense contribution to Sikhism. He compiled the Adi Granth, the first authoritative edition of the Sikh scripture, and established Amritsar as a holy city. His emphasis on education, social equality, and interfaith dialogue continues to inspire Sikhs all over the world.

As the day progresses, the celebrations gain momentum. In the evening, the Golden Temple complex will be illuminated with thousands of flickering diyas (oil lamps), casting a magical glow on the sacred waters of the Amrit Sarovar pool. Community programs featuring kirtan performances, lectures on Guru Arjan Dev’s life and teachings, and langar partaking will continue late into the night.

The 400th anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev’s Gurupurab is not just a religious occasion; it’s a powerful symbol of Sikh unity and spiritual rejuvenation. The Golden Temple, bathed in the reverence of countless devotees, serves as a beacon of Guru Arjan Dev’s legacy – a legacy that continues to enlighten and inspire generations.

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