SULTANPUR LODHI (PUNJAB): The Congress government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak committee are locked in a game of one-upmanship on who takes credit for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak making a joint event impossible. But for the three lakh devotees who have already visited the historic Gurdwara Bir Sahib, only devotion matters.
Thousands milled around the ‘Beri’- believed to have been planted by the Guru himself and then took the holy dip in the Kali Bein, announcing the start of the 13-day celebrations, on Saturday.
A whopping 1.5 lakh litre of paint was used to paint the Gurdwara complex all-white besides over one crore square feet of buildings, educational institutions, government offices and homes around — broken only by gaily painted frescoes depicting Sikh history.
In the main gurdwara, jathas are taking turns to recite the ‘Mool Mantra’, even as thousands join the heritage walk to the ancient complexes around. Local bodies have employed 4,550 sanitation workers for round the clock cleaning of some 70 tons of waste expected to be generated per day with 200 compost pits already dug and a separate landfill identified to dispose of it.
The government has erected a 60,000 square feet ‘Darbar Hall’— a replica of Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan with three special enclosures for the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book of Sikh), the Sant Samaj and dignitaries like the Prime Minister, President and Chief Minister, besides ministers and MPs to accommodate 60,000 people with eight big screens beaming the event.
The SGPC has also put up an 80,000 square feet AC pandal at the Guru Nanak stadium. Congress MLA, Navtej Singh Cheema said, “Over 20,000 people are arriving daily. It’s unprecedented.”