Tongeren – Hoepertingen

22 February 2018

Tongeren NMBS Station

23 February 2018

Opposite the Gurdwara : For Sale

Opposite the Gurdwara : For Sale

Gurdwara Sahib
A recent fire has damaged the old wing of the Gurdwara

Guru Ram Dass Sikh Study & Cultural Centre
Smisstraat 8
B-3840 Borgloon

Truierweg : For Sale

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Man in Blue


Nottingham Post – Singing and sword displays as Sikh religious parade brightens city streets

Ben Reid

It marked the festival of Vaisakhi

Nottingham – Nottinghamshire – UK, 15 April 2018. Five temples [Gurdwaras] over four hours, and plenty of noise and colour, this was the colourful picture as a Sikh parade made its way through the streets of Nottingham today (Sunday).

The procession, named the Nagar Kirtan, was celebrating the religious festival of Vaisakhi.

It began in Church Street, Lenton, at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, and then moved through Radford, Hyson Green, Old Basford and New Basford – visiting another five Gurdwaras, along the way.

The celebrations involved singing, chanting, hymns and commemorative sword displays along to music being played.

Ravinder Patel, 27, from Forest Fields was taking part in the parade.

He said: “This is one of Sikhism’s most important days and I am very proud to be involved. It’s a day of great celebration and respect for everyone.”

Gurmeet Singh is president of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara where the procession began in Lenton.

He added: “This is a very big time of year for the Sikh community when all Sikhs congregate to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa.”

Vaisakhi  is NOT the Sikh New Year Festival. It commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith under the Khalsa.

The Khalsa, the community of all Sikhs, was created by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 and the five Beloved Ones – or Panji Pyare – who were represented by five Sikhs at the parade.

Harvey Singh, 42, from Radford, was volunteering at the event.

He said: “We do this every year, this is the biggest procession in Nottingham. It’s a great day for our religion.

“I’m honoured to help out in any way I can and the event is going smoothly. There is great respect and love here today.”

Staff from both Notts Police and Notts Fire were on hand to help the smooth running of the parade.

And Himat Taak from Carlton, was driving a minibus that elderly Sikhs could ride in to make sure everyone enjoyed the festivities.

He said: “This is a huge celebration of Sikhism, all over the UK and in India. I am taking our older population for Sewa (an act of kindness without expectation) so everyone can enjoy the celebrations.

The Tribune – Must implement 1974 Protocol on pilgrims: Pakistan envoy

Smita Sharma, Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 13 April 2018. Days after India and Pakistan agreed to mutually de-escalate tensions over the diplomats’ row, the Pakistani High Commission said both countries must “faithfully” implement the bilateral protocol of 1974 on pilgrimage.

As Sikh pilgrims from India poured into Pakistan on Baisakhi, which marks the 320th birth anniversary of the Khalsa, Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood said: “The Government of Pakistan makes assiduous efforts to preserve the religious sites and facilitate the visits of pilgrims of all faiths.

This latest visit of Sikh yatris to Pakistan is also consistent with the Government’s commitment and is in accordance with the provisions of the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines”.

“The desire of the pilgrims to pay obeisance is sacred, as they wait and prepare for their spiritual journey throughout the year. Both sides must, therefore, ensure faithful implementation of the bilateral Protocol of 1974.”

Pakistan High Commission has issued visas to nearly 2,100 Sikh pilgrims this year from India this year, as opposed to 1,600 pilgrims went last year.

Over 20,000 Sikh pilgrims from across the globe are expected to attend the Baisakhi festival with main celebrations lined up for Saturday in Pakistan’s Punjab province amid high security.

Sikh Jathas will visit various gurdwaras and holy places in Pakistan from April 12-21, including Hasan Abdal’s Panja Sahib Gurudwara and Nankana Sahib.

Relations between India and Pakistan had soured further amid bloodshed at LoC and International Border.

Recently, Pakistani Zaireens (pilgrims) were not allowed visas to participate in the Urs at Ajmer Sharif and Nizamuddin Aulia. Islamabad called it a violation of the 1974 protocol arrangement under which Indian pilgrims visit holy sites like Katas Raj temple and sacred gurdwaras in Pakistan during Guru Nanak Jayanti and Baisakhi.

Gent Gurdwara – Verenigde Protestante Kerk (VPK) – Faja Lobi Surinam Restaurant

Gent Gurdwara
18 February 2018

Kirtan Darbar

Two Granth Singhs singing

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

United Protestant Church
Verenigde Protestante Kerk (VPK)
20 February 2018

Protestant church on the Brabantdam

Brabantdam Kerk

Faja Lobi
Surinaams Restaurant
20 February 2018

Not a bad place, but why have an all-white staff in a Surinam Restaurant ?

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gent Gurdwara

Gent Gurdwara
18 February 2018

Kirtan Darbar

Tabla and wajas (small harmoniums)

Harpreet Singh and daughter

Guru Granth Sahib

Two more young ladies doing kirtan

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

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The Tribune – Sikh jatha leaves for Pakistan tomorrow

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 10 April 2018. An SGPC-sponsored jatha will leave for Pakistan from here on Thursday to celebrate Baisakhi. SGPC additional secretary Diljit Singh Bedi said the Pakistan authorities had denied visa to 41 devotees without citing reasons.

“We had sent 758 passports to the Pakistan Embassy, of which 717 got visa. They should contact our office on Wednesday to collect passports,” he said. (TNS)

The Tribune – Baisakhi in the City of Bliss

Guru Gobind Singh chose Anandpur Sahib to be the venue of a transformative movement in Punjab. Today, we see teaming masses march up to Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib on the Baisakhi day

Roopinder Singh

What is it that is raising so much dust? Is it an invading force of raiders?

No, that’s just a poet blessed with wealth by Guru Gobind Singh going home after attending the darbar.

The couplet attributed to one of the court poets of Guru Gobind Singh speaks of the dignity with which they were treated and also the magnificence of his gifts to the gifted. A flourishing cultural milieu came up wherever Sikh gurus set up camp.

Guru Gobind Singh inherited many of the poets in his darbar from his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and we find compositions in Braj bhasha, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and Punjabi from the period in different manuscripts.

The village of Makhowal became Chakk Nanki when Guru Tegh Bahadur christened it after his mother. He had bought the village and surrounding areas in 1665 and it became his headquarters.

He was to live here for 10 years before undertaking the fateful journey to Delhi and facing martyrdom while defending religious freedom for the adherents of other religions, not just his own.

It was this ethos that Guru Gobind Singh evoked in his fight against the repression of the day, personified by the Mughal rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. “I will make sparrows fight the hawks,” said Guru Gobind Singh, after he formed the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib on Baisakhi in 1699.

Lakhs of Sikhs go to the birthplace of the Khalsa to celebrate Baisakhi, even as it is celebrated on a grand scale at other places too, notably at Talwandi Sabo.

The collected hymns of his predecessors and his own compositions were the guiding force for all.

The annual gathering at Anandpur Sahib became the focal point of a renaissance that had as much to do with the transformation of religious beliefs, a push towards an egalitarian society and a firm belief in the oneness of the Almighty, as it had with military preparation.

The Baisakhi of 1699 threw up a vision of a new and regenerated humanity. Today, all those who visit Anandpur Sahib go to Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, and rightly so.

Rich in history, the present gurdwara, however, is relatively recent. It was built in the mid-1930s. It houses a collection of relics associated with the Gurus, especially Guru Gobind Singh.

These relics draw us to the magnificent heritage of the City of Bliss, as Anandpur literally translates into. It is here that the Gurus and their families lived. A thriving trade was provided for the inhabitants and visitors and the Guru’s darbar attracted the hordes, especially during festivals like Hola Mohalla and Baisakhi.

Guru Gobind Singh spent some years of his childhood and later raised his family at Anandpur Sahib. It was here that he created the Khalsa. It was from here that he lost his family and his home, but never relented in his fight against tyranny. It was he who re-named Chakk Nanki as Anandpur. His Sikhs suffixed the honorific Sahib.

“Redemption comes through knowledge,” said the Guru and the sheer volume and quality of literature that was created in the city became the stuff of legends. Going by what Bhai Santokh Singh says in Suraj Parkash the manuscripts weighed around 350 kg!

All except the small volumes that had been taken out earlier were lost when the Khalsa forces evacuated Anandpur Sahib in December 1705. They had to go through the Sirsa stream that was in spate.

The eldest two sons of Guru Gobind Singh were killed in the battle with the Mughal forces at Chamkaur Sahib. His two younger sons and his mother were separated from him, and much of the treasures, including the literature, were lost in the melee.

Anandpur would later be taken over by the Raja of Bilaspur and bought by the cousins of Guru Gobind Singh whose families ran the local gurdwaras. The family’s writ ran over various institutions.

One of the descendents, and it was under Sodhi Kishan Singh, a descendant, that the town became a municipal committee in the last decade of the 19th century. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) took over the gurdwaras in 1923 and has managed these since.

Over the years, Hola Mohalla became a festival associated with the city and its people. On this day, Nihangs, resplendent in cobalt blue tunics and turbans, horses and other accruements of warriors, perform death-defying feats.

Crowds gathered for Baisakhi, too, but not in such great numbers. Anandpur, the sleepy town at the foothills of the Shivalik Hills, remained out of public eye and missed much of the boom that other cities in Punjab benefited from.

Having, in Giani Zail Singh, a Chief Minister who was an MLA from Anandpur Sahib, helped. The Guru Gobind Singh Marg celebration in 1973 brought focus back to the city.

This route traced the 47-day journey of Guru Gobind Singh from Anandpur Sahib to Talwandi Sabo, and the joint effort of the SGPC and the Punjab Government resulted in a major up gradation of infrastructure around the area.

The Anandpur Sahib Resolution, adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal that year, lit a political fire that would soon ignite passions far beyond the town.

The Singh Sabha Shatabdi Committee, led by Hukam Singh and Giani Gurdit Singh, made a concerted effort to revive the spirit of Baisakhi at Anandpur Sahib. Scholars read out research papers to massive audiences.

Some of them were honoured publically for their contribution to history and understanding of religion. Like in much of Punjab, the decade between the mid-1980s and 1990s was largely lost.

Celebrations to mark the tercentenary of the Khalsa in 1999 saw the city being painted white. Lakhs of people, hundreds of langars and massive functions marked the occasion on which the establishment of the Virasat-e-Khalsa museum was announced by the then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Giani Tarlochan Singh’s appointment as Jathedar of Keshgarh Sahib in 2003 was another milestone. He had spent much of his life at Anandpur Sahib, and served as a catalyst to growth till his death, in harness, in 2013.

The Virasat-e-Khalsa museum, which opened in 2011, is now a major tourist attraction. Today, the celebrations have evolved too. People on horseback could well be polo players, not just Nihangs. The SGPC and the city administration play a major role in directing the festivities, with kirtan darbars and katha sessions dominating the discourse.

Relative newcomers like the Anandpur Sahib Foundation and Sikh Chamber of Commerce have planned a half-marathon, a movie festival and knowledge sessions, activities reflecting an evolving spirit of Baisakhi.

Baisakhi at Anandpur Sahib reflects the egalitarian ethos of the Gurus, who re-kindled the spirit of the downtrodden and the battered and made them stand up for the rights of others, as well as their own.

Evening Times – Vaisakhi 2018: Glasgow Sikh community takes part in annual festival procession

Aftab Ali

Glasgow – Scotland – UK, Glasgow’s streets were awash with colour on Sunday as Sikhs from across Scotland celebrated the festival of Vaisakhi.

Thousands in the community took part in a four-hour-long procession through the city.

The festival marks the beginning of the Sikh new year on April 14* and commemorates the birth of the Sikh Order of the Khalsa, after Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, passed.

The procession always takes on the Sunday before Vaisakhi each year.

Participants marched from the South Side at 9.30am, making their way to all four of the city’s temples, also known as Gurdwaras.

They finally came to a stop at the Central Gurdwara on Berkeley Street at 1.30pm.

Each Gurdwara in Glasgow then served up a free community meal to all visitors, regardless of race, religion or social status.

Scotland currently has eight temples [Gurdwaras] with half of those in Glasgow.

Charandeep Singh, general secretary of Glasgow Gurdwara in Pollokshields, described how the festival is always a highlight for Scottish Sikhs.

He added: “It has a special place in all our hearts because of its ability to bring people together from diverse backgrounds and communities.

“On behalf of the Sikh community, I would like to wish everyone a happy Vaisakhi 2018 and hope that we strive to embody the Sikh values of equality, humanity and justice into all of our lives.”

* Neither the Bikrami nor the Nanakshahi year start with the month of Vaisakh.
  Man in Blue – Takht Jathedars announce to hold conference at Talwandi Sabo on Vaisakhi

Sikh24 Editors

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 06 April 2018. Sarbat Khalsa appointed Takht Jathedars Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and Bhai Baljit Singh Daduwal have called upon a conference at Talwandi Sabo on the eve of Vaisakhi celebrations.

The Takht Jathedars underwent meeting with the leaders of Shromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sikh Sadbhavna Dal, Panthik Sewa Lehar, Sutantar Akali Dal, Satkar Committees on April 5 in this concern.

After meeting leaders of several Sikh bodies, interim Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Bhai Baljit Singh Daduwal informed that all the religious and political outfits except the SAD (Badal) have been invited in this conference to chalk out strategy for tackling emerging challenges before the Sikh community.

They added that the Shromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee have been also invited attend this conference.

Replying to a query about screening of controversial movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’, the Takht Jathedars clarified that they won’t let the movie hit screens at any cost.

SAD (Amritsar) president S Simranjit Singh Mann, HSGPC president S Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Baba Baljit Singh Burj Naklia, Baba Ajit Singh Dialpura, S Paramjit Singh, Baba Nacchhattar Singh Kallar Bhaini, S Balwinder Singh Boparai, S Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala, Professor Mohinderpal Singh, S Karnail Singh, S Gurjant Singh Kattu, S Harbhajan Singh Kashmiri, S Rajinder Singh Fauji, S Nirmal Singh Toor etc. were present on this occasion.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Gent Gurdwara – Gent Portus Ganda

05 February 2018

Track 11 IC train to Eupen via Brussel – Leuven – Luik (Liège)

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
05 February 2018

Granthi Singh Gursharan Singh :
Bringing the Guru Granth Sahib to its place of rest

Granthi Singh carrying the Guru Granth Sahib
Gursharan Singh follows with Chaur Sahib

Granthi Singh carrying the Guru Granth Sahib

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Portus Ganda
06 February 2018

Traditional sailing vessel
Ganda means confluence, in this case of the Schelde and the Leie

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue