Sea of devotees throng historic Sikh shrine in Punjab
A sea of devotees from across the country thronged the historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib here on Monday, a day ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev.
The highly revered Gurdwara Ber Sahib is where Guru Nanak gained enlightenment at the end of the 15th century.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will pay obeisance at the shrine later in the day. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will also be present.
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the celebrations on Tuesday.
A majority of the pilgrims are coming from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra. Even devotees are coming from abroad, largely from Britain, Canada and the US.
"For the past one week, we are getting an average of 4-5 lakh devotees at the gurdwara every day. Today and tomorrow, we are expecting over 25 lakh devotees," an official at the shrine told IANS.
Ninety langars or community kitchens are running round-the-clock in the town to serve the visiting devotees.
A grand light and sound show is being conducted every evening here to sensitise the masses about the teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev. The show will continue till November 15.
Security has been beefed up and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed to manage the crowd in all the prominent places, a senior police official told IANS.
Organisers say the desire of devotees is to pay obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib and to have a 'shnaan' (dip) in Kali Bein. The devotees are feeling fortunate to have achoola' (sip of water) from the holy Bein.
It is believed that Guru Nanak disappeared into the waters of the Bein rivulet, reappearing three days later as the enlightened Guru. The ground of Gurdwara Ber Sahib marks the spot, where Guru Nanak entered the rivulet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 9 morning paid obeisance at the Ber Sahib Gurdwara, before heading for Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor and flag off the first lot of pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan's Punjab province.
The three-storey Gurdwara Ber Sahib was built by the ruler of Kapurthala in the mid- 20th century and features slender octagonal pillars, a marble sanctum and stucco designs at the entrance.
Sultanpur Lodhi, some 200 km from Chandigarh, is dotted with gurdwaras commemorating events from Guru Nanak's life.
Along with Gurdwara Bebe Nanaki, built to honour Guru Nanak's sister, is the Gurdwara Sant Ghat, about two km upstream of Ber Sahib, where he emerged from his three-day immersion in the Bein.
Hatt Sahib honours the grain store, where Guru Nanak was employed; and the 13 weights, used by the Guru Nanak to measure provisions are preserved here.
The prison cell, where the Guru was imprisoned under false charges is Gurdwara Kothri Sahib; and Guru ka Bagh is where Guru Nanak lived with his wife, Sulakhni, and their two sons, Baba Sri Chand and Baba Lakhmi Chand.IANS