The Basant Panchami mela at Gurdwara Chheharta Sahib is the most famous festival of Amritsar that is held on the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Magh (January- February).An annual fair is held in which lakhs of people from various cities of Punjab get together. Devotees take a dip in the holy sarovar of the gurdwara that is believed to cleanse the soul and cure the body of ailments. The gurdwara complex is adorned with yellow-hued kites, while outside enthusiasts hold kite-flying competitions.The gurdwara authorities and local residents claim that this tradition of celebrating Basant Panchami is almost a century old . “The preparation of the fair starts a week before the festiv ities,” says Prashant Singh Sewadaar of the gurdwara.Outside the gurdwara, there are shopping kiosks, swings and food stalls that attract the devotees.
Eat, pray and love
On this day, the special langar organised by the gurdwara management and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee includes khichdi, karhi, pakode besides jalebi and kheer made from sugarcane juice. Devotees believe that if a couple is not being blessed with a child then they should pray for one on this day.Jagtar Singh, a resident of Chhehrata, shares , “On Basant Panchami, we start our day by taking a holy dip in the sarovar. Enthusiasts flying kites outside the gurdwara is a sight to behold. We relax and watch the fun from our terraces .”Meanwhile, a kirtan samagam has been organised at the Deewan Hall of the Chheharta Sahib gurdwara on Saturday and Sunday. Eminent raagis are expected.