As the Covid-19 wave has receded, thousands of devotees rushed to gurdwaras across Punjab and Haryana on Thursday to celebrate Baisakhi, one of biggest festivals that marks the foundation day of the 'Khalsa Panth' (Sikh order) by the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh. Also it marks the start of harvest season. The Golden Temple in Amritsar, one of Sikhism's holiest shrines, saw a heavy rush to offer prayers. As per gurdwara officials, nearly two lakh devotees visit the Golden Temple on the occasion of Baisakhi. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, has deployed task force staff to manage crowds. Barricades have been put up at all roads leading to the Golden Temple to prevent overcrowding, a police official told IANS.
A sea of devotees was also witnessed at the Takht Kesgarh Sahib in the holy city of Anandpur Sahib, where the Khalsa Panth was founded in 1699. "It is after a gap of two years we came to offer prayers and partake a 'langar' in a gurdwara," a devotee said in Anandpur Sahib. A jatha of 1,949 Sikh pilgrims this week left for Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib in Pakistan to participate in the religious congregation to be held to mark Khalsa Sajna Diwas (Baisakhi). Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann extended greetings on Baisakhi and on Sajna Diwas of Khalsa Panth. Baisakhi has a special significance for the people of Punjab, particularly for the Sikh community as the Khalsa Panth was born on this day, Purohit said. "Baisakhi also marks the commencement of the harvesting season, when farmers reap the fruit of their hard work," he added.