Chandigarh: Despite the cold weather, tens of thousands of devotees visited gurdwaras across north India on Saturday morning to offer prayers on the occasion of the 349th birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh guru Gobind Singh.
Hundreds of devotees thronged the holiest of Sikh shrine 'Harmandar Sahib', popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar and the Takht Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, the second most important Sikh shrine where the guru spent a number of years and founded the 'Khalsa Panth' in 1699, to offer prayers.
Devotees could be seen visiting other gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to offer prayers despite the cold weather. The maximum temperatures ranged from 10 to 16 degrees in the region on Friday.
"This is an important year. Next year will mark the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. This whole year will mark celebrations of the 10 master," Gurbaksh Singh, a devotee visiting the Anandpur Sahib shrine, 80 km from here, said.
The Punjab government is already working on plans to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of the guru in January 2017 in a big way.
The main celebrations next year will be in Bihar's capital Patna, the birth place of Guru Gobind Singh. Special celebrations will be held in Anandpur Sahib and Harmandar Sahib.
"The Punjab cabinet has accorded the approval for constitution of a foundation for celebration of 350th Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji from 4th to 6th January, 2017," a Punjab government spokesman said here on Saturday.
"Memorable festivities will continue throughout the year during which seminars will be conducted on history and philosophy of Sri Guru Sahib. The meaningfulness of dissemination of Guru Sahib's ideology has increased during the present era of rising communalism and social partitions," the spokesman said.
It was at Anandpur Sahib on April 13, 1699, that the 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh baptized the first five Sikhs (Panj Piaras - the chosen and loved ones of the guru) and founded the Khalsa.
The Takht Keshgarh Sahib gurdwara is known as the birthplace of the 'Khalsa' (pure) - the modern-day Sikh religion.
Guru Gobind Singh had declared that Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs, will be the eternal guru and no person will be appointed guru after him.