Chandigarh: Thousands of devotees thronged the holiest of Sikh shrines, 'Harmandar Sahib', popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar and other gurdwaras across Punjab and Haryana Thursday on Gurpurab - the birth anniversary of Sikhism's founder, Guru Nanak Dev.
Gurdwaras were illuminated since Wednesday with an atmosphere of festivities to mark the 545th birth anniversary of the Guru.
'Langars' (community kitchenes) were arranged at several places in and around gurdwaras.
At the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, thousands of devotees lined up since early Thursday to offer prayers at the shrine. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) volunteers could be seen managing the rush of devotees.
"We came here at 3 am. There were scores of devotees already. The whole atmosphere was very spiritual," Adhiraj Singh, a student, said.
Hymns were rendered at the holy shrine and hundreds of other gurdwaras across the region to mark the occasion.
A contingent of over 1,500 Sikh devotees had arrived in Nankana Sahib, 100 km from Lahore, in Pakistan Wednesday for 'Gurpurab' celebrations at the birthplace of the Guru Nanak Dev, who was born in 1469 at Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan's Punjab province) and who founded Sikhism later.
There was tight security at all leading Sikh shrines in Punjab and Haryana.
Religious processions were taken out by the Sikh community in most cities and towns in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in the last two days.