Devotees throng Bihar gurdwara for Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary

Patna, Dec 27 (IANS) As thousands of devotees arrive here to participate in the celebrations to commemorate the 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, dozens of cooks and volunteers are busy preparing nearly 12 lakh packets of special ‘prasad’ for pilgrims.

Officials at Takht Sri Harimandir ji Patna Sahib gurdwara near here said on Tuesday that each 60-gm packet of ‘panjeeri prasad’, prepared from pure ghee, flour, semolina and sugar, will cost Rs 15.

Cooks from Amritsar in Punjab have arrived at the historic gurdwara near here to prepare this special ‘prasad’ for devotees,” gurdwara management committee official Ishpal Singh said.

The ‘prasad’ will be available at gurdwara counters during the ‘Prakash Parv’, or birth anniversary celebrations, slated to be held from January 1 to 5.

Devotees, meanwhile, are offering prayers at Takht Sri Harimandir ji Patna Sahib — the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh — as well as other Sikh holy places. The gurdwara is situated about 10 km from state capital Patna.

Several langars (community kitchens) for devotees — who are mainly from Punjab, Delhi and Haryana and foreign countries like the United Kingdom, Canada and Nepal — are being run in tent cities and other places.

Tight security is also in place for the safety of devotees coming from outside Bihar.

The government expects more than five lakh devotees to visit Patna for the religious event.

The main function of holding special prayers and ‘kirtan’ (singing of hymns set to music) will be held on January 5, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a large number of Sikh dignitaries from India and abroad will participate.

Earlier, the Bihar government had announced a three-day holiday during the ‘Prakash Parv’ celebrations.

Guru Gobind Singh was born on December 22, 1666, to ninth Sikh master, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and Mata Gujri. He was annointed the supreme leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, becoming the last of the living Sikh gurus.