Baisakhi begins: A celebration of purity and faith

Celebrations begin with colourful rituals; some 10,000 pilgrims are expected.

April 13, 2011


The three-day Baisakhi festival of the Sikh community started here on Tuesday at Gurdawara Punja Sahib with the participation of around 1,400 Sikhs from India, and 5,000 from Pakistan and other countries.

Over 10,000 people are expected to come at the gurdawara to celebrate the 312th Besakhi festival by the last day of the festival on April 14. Baisakhi is an ancient harvest festival which the marks the beginning of a new solar year and harvest season.

Chaudhry Tanveer from Evacuee Property Trust Board said they had made “foolproof” security plans. The board is also providing visitors with boarding, lodging and medical facilities, he added.

The pilgrims will perform their final rituals on April 14, and will visit Nankana Sahab before returning to Lahore.

The festival started with the recital of passages from the Granth Sahib. People, wearing traditional jewellery, beautiful clothes and turbans, lined up to receive delicious kada prasad and perform kar sewa, while volunteers served them.

The celebrations start early as devotees, with flowers and offerings in their hands, proceed towards the gurdwaras before dawn. In Punjab, Baisakhi is widely celebrated with festivities centred on Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal, numerous shrines in Nankana Sahib, and in various historical sites in Lahore.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India arrive each year to commemorate the day at the sacred Sikh sites of Nankana Sahib and Hasanabdal in the country. A survey by APP revealed that the Sikh pilgrims from India this year were happy with the arrangements. They said the arrangements this time were better than the previous years.

Balmindar Singh, who was visiting Punja Sahib for the second time, said that Pakistani government is taking good care of their sacred places. He appreciated the fact that the gurdwara in Hasanabdal had been renovated for the festival.

Others, however, were unhappy over the visa policy between the two countries, saying fewer pilgrims were given visas this year.

One pilgrim said, “Pakistan is a sacred land having the footprints of several religions and such festivals are a source of creating interfaith harmony in this region.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2011.


Cheryl Petersen | 11 years ago | Reply I hope the people who couldn't attend this event, because of visa problems, were still able to spiritually participate celebrating purity and faith.
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