The jathedars (head priests) of four Sikh takhts (holiest shrines) and a representative of the jathedar of the fifth takht on Sunday signalled the beginning of celebrations leading to the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in 2017.
The 350th birthday function of the 10th Sikh guru will be held at Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji in Patna, his place of birth, on January 5, 2017. Lakhs of Sikh pilgrims from across the world are expected to attend the event.
After two days of ‘akhand path’ at Takht Sri Patna Sahib the jathedars performed 'ardas' before announcing the celebrations at a joint press conference that was attended by members of the Takht Harmandirji management committee.
Present on the occasion were jathedars of Akal Takht (Amritsar), Kesargarh Sahib (Anandpur, Punjab), Patna Sahib, Hazoor Sahib (Nanded, Maharashtra) and a representative of jathedar of Damdma Sahib (Talwandi Saboo, Bathinda, Punjab).
Addressing reporters, AkalTakht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said the detailed programme of the celebrations leading to the main event in January 2017 would be released in the coming days.
Gurbachan Singh appealed to members of the Sikh community the world over to donate 10% of their income for making the event successful. He hoped both state and central governments would cooperate fully in making the event a success.
The Akal Takht jathedar said Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, president Avtar Singh, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK, had assured him of all help.
“We invite people from all sections of the society from all over the world to participate and contribute to make the the function in January 2017 a grand success”, the jathedar said. The head priest also asked to members of the Takht Harmandirji management committee to forget their differences and join hands for the function, which, he said, would be attended by more than 10 lakh devotees from all over the world.
Takht Sri Harmandirji general secretary Sarjinder Singh said a celebration committee would be constituted soon to oversee preparations for the main function and a series of programmes to be organised ahead of it.
Men, women and children had gathered at gurdwara since morning to attend the day’s events leading to ‘ardas’. Later, Guru ‘prasad’ was distributed among them.
President of Gurbani Prachar Seva Kendra LM Upadhay gave a copy of the book 'Guru Gobind Singh Ki Atamkatha to the priests of the five takhts.