Over 30,000 Sikhs Expected To Gather To Celebrate In Sandwell On Sunday
Sandwell Sikhs will be celebrating the birth of their first Guru and founder of Sikhism, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, by holding a procession from West Bromwich to Smethwick on Sunday 16th November 2014.
The procession (called a Nagar Kirtan) is a colourful Sikh religious event which will start from the Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji, High Street, West Bromwich at 9.30am and finish at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, High Street, Smethwick at 2.00pm.
The Nagar Kirtan is being jointly organised by the eight Gurdwaras in Sandwell under the umbrella organisation The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras. During the Nagar Kirtan, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Sikh Holy Scriptures) will be carried on a decorated float at the head of the procession.
One of the key event organisers and President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, Mr Malkit Singh Tehang said, “I am delighted that we have been able to organise this Nagar Kirtan at this very auspicious occasion in the Sikh calendar. This anniversary is an extremely important occasion to all Sikhs and is being celebrated all over the world. We have organised the Nagar Kirtan to visit five of the eight Gurdwaras in Sandwell and we look forward to meeting many other people along the way.”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in 1469 in a village called Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib and located in present-day Pakistan. During his lifetime, Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled thousands of miles spreading his teachings. Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught there is only one God, and that everyone is equal, regardless of gender, race, religion, caste or wealth. He taught his followers to live by a simple code, including:
Naam Japna: Remembering/meditating on God at all times.
Kirat Karo: Earning an honest living.
Vand Chakko: Sharing with others.
The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was compiled by the tenth Guru and includes the writings of several of the previous Guru’s including Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as well as saints and prominent religious people of other faiths. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is treated as a living Guru by Sikhs and the Nagar Kirtan (procession) will be held with a great deal of ceremony and reverence.
The Nagar Kirtan (procession) will be departing from outside Guru Har Rai Gurdwara, High Street, West Bromwich at 9.30am promptly, then travel through the following route:
Guru Har Rai Gurdwara, High Street, West Bromwich > High Street > Bull Street > Congregation Way > Chronehills Linkway > Bratt Street > Lombard Street > High Street > Lodge Road > Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Edward Street > Victoria Street > Price Street > Moor Street > Bromford Lane > Bromford Road > Church Street > Birmingham Street > Oldbury Ringway > Birmingham Road > Manchester Street > Gurdwara Amrit Parchar Dharmik Diwan, Birmingham Road > Rood End Road > Cemetery Road > Gurdwara Baba Sang Ji, St Paul’s Road > Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, High Street Smethwick.
Coordinator of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Sandwell, Mr Parmjit Singh Dhillon, said, “A great deal of work has gone into organising this event and I am grateful for the support of the members of the entire local community Sikh and non-Sikh, all related authorities, including Sandwell Council and West Midlands Police. The Nagar Kirtan will be a very joyous occasion and I hope we will be able to celebrate this event with minimum disruption to residents, business owners, services and other road users.”
The Nagar Kirtan is expected to arrive at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick at about 2.00pm where celebrations in the form of religious services shall be held. For the procession to proceed safely and with minimum disruption a plan has been developed after consultation with the Emergency Services, bus companies and the Highways Authority. This plan will require restrictions on vehicle movements along local roads at various times. To minimise disruption for other road users, the route has been divided into smaller sections and only one section at a time will be closed to traffic. This will reduce the amount of time disruption will occur in each section to around half an hour at the most.
There will be no restrictions whatsoever on pedestrian movement during the Nagar Kirtan (procession). There will be barriers at all road closures and these will be staffed by professional stewards.