More than 5,000 Sikhs march from Barking to Seven Kings in honour of holy scriptures
PUBLISHED: 13:09 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:24 10 September 2018
Thousands from the borough's Sikh community sang hymns as they marched between temples in Barking and Seven Kings to mark the first revelation of holy scriptures.
Sikh movement Singh Sabha London East held a Nagar Kirtan - a procession involving the singing of holy hymns - from the Gurdwara in North Street, Barking, to the Gurdwara in High Road, Seven Kings on Saturday, September 9.
More than 5,000 Sikhs and non-Sikhs came together to celebrate the first revelation of the Guru Granth Sahib – which is considered the revealed word of God spoken through Sikh Gurus and other blessed saints – at the Golden Temple in Punjab during the year 1604.
The book was carried in the centre of the procession aboard a float decorated with an ornate golden-domed roof and cascading festoons of flowers.
Among the attendees were Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, Council leader Jas Athwal, Redbrige Mayor Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara, police officers and Sikh Women’s Alliance chairwoman Balvinder Saund.
Balbir Singh, treasurer at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, said: “It was overwhelming. We broke our previous records and had about 5,000 to 6,000 people attend.”
Mr Singh spoke of how the procession was led by five men clad in orange holding swords aloft know as Panj Piare - or “the beloved ones”.
Balvinder Saund told the Recorder of the significance of the Guru Granth Sahib.
“It is book of knowledge known as Gur Gyan ‘wisdom is forever light’,” she said.
She added: “Sikhs recite and read the verses to uplift themselves spiritually and pray for peace for all the world.
She spoke of how in 1604 head priest Baba Buddha Ji led the first Nagar Kirtan to transport the book from the Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib, in Punjab, to the Golden Temple.
Ms Saud said: “Today’s Nagar Kirtan was attended by thousands of Sikh families who lined up the route along Ilford Lane and High Road giving out free food and cold drinks.”
She added: “The weather was sunny and there was a celebratory air.”
The conscientious community members collected any discarded rubbish along the route, Ms Saund added.
A Singh Sabha London East spokesman added: “We are very passionate about the event along with all of the Sikh community, it was a very enjoyable event.”