This is probably the most special day in the calendar of the Sikh community. It marks the birth of Guru Nanak, the first of the Sikh gurus. Known also as Gurpurab, it has come to mean ‘festival of the gurus’. Amongst the devout, preparations begin days in advance and in the run-up to Guru Nanak Jayanti there are rituals to be followed such as uninterrupted readings of the Guru Granth Sahib, processions carrying the holy scripture and displays of ‘gatka’ with traditional weapons. Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, draws scores of devotees, not only from India, but from across the world, who come to partake in the ceremonies and the festivity. Amritsar comes into its own too at this time of the year, and the illuminated Golden Temple is a sight to behold. In fact, gurudwaras across Punjab and Haryana are wrapped in a unique festive air as they celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti.
New Age Guru Nanak Jayanti
* Enjoy Amritsar: Even with the milling crowds, this is simply the best time of year to visit the city that revolves around the magnificent Golden Temple. For one thing, winter is just arriving and the weather is lovely in this part of the North. Spend hours at the Golden Temple, lit up brilliantly, teeming with the devout and still tranquil at its core. With the soul nourished, step out and indulge in Amritsar’s culinary extravagance – from the famed kulcha to the heart-stoppingly rich lassi and sweets.
* Savour the pleasures of seva: Service is a way of devotion in the Sikh tradition. Volunteer time in the langar kitchen or chip in with other tasks in a gurudwara. It’s a humbling, rewarding, enriching experience.
* Listen to some spiritual music: This is a good time to get acquainted with Shabad Kirtan or Sikh spiritual music. It’s a musical expression of mystical poetry, not unlike Sufi music. Feel the healing power of music, seek your balance and find yourself in a good place.
Wear it right
If you are going to be in the Golden Temple or any other gurudwara for that matter, slip into the right mode with traditional wear. This is a good time to indulge your penchant for loose, flowy Patiala pants and dupattas.
Getting Lucky at the Modis
Only in our family
Priyanka says that they mark the last get-together of the Diwali season with the game Lucky 7! “A sum of money is bet on any of the three columns on a chart. In the left column, you have numbers from 1 to 6; on the right, from 8 to 12,” she explains. “The middle column has the number 7. Your money is doubled if the two dices together throw up a number that falls under the column you bet on. However, if you bet on the number 7 in the middle column and the dices show a perfect 7, your money is tripled!”
And this year…
“The last 10 days of December have already been blocked for a holiday so we can all go diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia,” says Ankur.
– Vidya Prabhu