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Guru Nanak: Historic Sikh celebrations take place in India and Pakistan

Guru Nanak: Historic Sikh celebrations take place in India and Pakistan

Image copyright EPA Celebrations have been taking place in India on the eve of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism. Sikhs have also been celebrating in Pakistan following the historic opening of the Kartarpur corridor, which allows Indians access to one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines without having

A young Sikh wearing an orange turban joins in celebrations

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EPA

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Celebrations have been taking place in India on the eve of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism.

Sikhs have also been celebrating in Pakistan following the historic opening of the Kartarpur corridor, which allows Indians access to one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines without having to apply for a visa.

Tensions between the neighbours have made it difficult for Indian pilgrims to visit the site in Pakistan in recent years but an agreement reached last month allows Indians to make the 4km (2.5-mile) crossing to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur – where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

An Indian Sikh pilgrim visiting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartapur on Saturday

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Reuters

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Devotees from across the world visit the shrine for every year to commemorate Guru Nanak’s birth. Indian Sikhs will now be able to visit with just their passports, but they will not be allowed to leave the site or stay overnight.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, in north-western India, is the holiest Gurdwara (where Sikhs worship). It was lit up to host processions as Sikh worshippers took part in the three-day celebration of Guru Nanak’s birth.

The Golden Temple lit up as Sikhs watch from a window

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Reuters

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On the first day of celebrations (10 December) Sikhs read the Sikh holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib – from beginning to end.

The book was paraded through the streets of Amritsar on Monday in a hand-held carriage, as traditionally happens on the second day.

These processions are led by five people representing the original Panj Pyare – the Five Beloved Ones – who helped shape the religion.

Sikh devotees carrying the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji - the holy book of Sikh religion - in a hand-held, golden carriage

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EPA

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Five Beloved Ones, wearing orange robes and purple turbans and holding swords, lead a procession through the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India

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EPA

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Devotees of all ages also enjoyed colourful martial arts performances known as Gatka.

A man performing Gatka - the Sikh martial art - as part of a procession in Amritsar

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EPA

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A Sikh boy performs Gatkha - a traditional form of martial arts during a religious procession

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Reuters

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In New Delhi, armed Sikh warriors known as Nihangs paraded through the city on horseback, dressed in colourful turbans and robes.

A Nihang - a Sikh warrior- rides his horse through New Delhi

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Getty Images

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On Tuesday, the day of the anniversary and the final day of celebrations, gurdwaras will be decorated with flowers, flags and lights while worshippers sing hymns, recite poems and listen to lectures on Sikhism.

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Media captionFind out more about the Kartarpur corridor, which leads to one of the holiest sites in the Sikh religion

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Susan E. Lopez
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