The History of Sikh Community goes back to Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, 500 years back. Ten gurus tried to
take the teachings of the religion further through a pain-staking compilation of "Guru Granth Sahib", the religious book of the Sikhs. On April 13, 1699, at Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, the tenth guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, founded the Khalsa Panth, (literally, Khalsa means pure) which
indicated that from then on the Guru Granth Sahib would be the Guru and guide the way, and the Khalsa Panth shall try and spread the teachings of the gurus amongst all. This Historic event is since then celebrated as a Foundation day of Khalsa Panth.
Vashakhi, has a special relevance to Sikhs from both religious as well as cultural point of views. This day is marked by the celebrations of the harvest day by the farmers and also called Hola Mahalla to celebrate spring festival. It is
believed that Guru Gobind Singh used to train the Sikhs in the art of mock battles on this day at Anandpur Sahib. Literally Hola means Hamla or Halla (Attack). It also has a great historic importance - On the Vaisakhi day 1801, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was coronated. It is on this day that the heinous
massacre at Jaliawala Bagh in 1919 happened, where lakhs of innocent men, women and children were killed by General Dyer. It is on this day that the Khalsa Panth was also formed.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed the Punj Piyara's - a Kshatriya, a Calico printer, a Jat, a Water
bearer and a Barber with holy water to establish the Khalsa Panth. To ensure the compliance of the same, Rahat Maryada (Code of Conduct) was laid down, by the Guruís and whoever practiced the same, was to be called a Sikh. A person who vowed to confirm to all the teachings by taking the
holy water of Amritrar is called " Amrit Dhari". Five K's were the prescribed identity of every Sikh - Kada ( Bangle), Kangha (Comb), Kesh (Hair), Katch (Long Underwear) and Kripan (Sword).
The Gurudwara was the prescribed home of the new guru for all Sikhs - Guru Granth Sahib. The divine doctrine of the gurus, is very well composed in the form of hymns called " Shabad". Each shabad is composed in a certain " raga" and is supposed to be sung at a particular period of a day, or a particular phase of the life cycle. The recital of the same is called " Gurbani Jap". When sung in a community gathering, it is called " Kirtan". The teachings have a wide coverage of all aspects of life and include philosophy, Spirituality and directions to lead life. It is one of the diverse rich Punjabi cultural heritage (Music) in the form of pure devotional music. A rich
collection from various Hindu and Sufi saints like Kabir and Rehman have been included, in Guru Granth Sahib. The language in which Guru Granth sahib has been written, is called "Gurmukhi" (literally meaning coming from Guruís mouth).
A Gurudwara is not only a religious place of worship, but also a community meeting place. A free
kitchen (Langar) is always a part of a Gurudwara. The Gurdwara is also used for performing the birth, marriage and death ceremonies of the Sikhs. Most of the Gurudwaras have an attached school, a library and reading room. The belief in providing shelter to the downtrodden, food to the hungry
is sacrosanct in the Sikh religion.A Gurdwara is always open to everyone, whichever religion or cast they may be.
Kesgarh Sahib, the main Gurudwara at Anandpur Sahib, assumes a great significance because of the launch of Khalsa Panth from here. Located at a distance of about 85 Kms. from Chandigarh, it is a famous landmark, because of its pure white beautifully architechured structure. Please click to find out directions to reach Anandpur Sahib. http://www.nic.in/apsf/af1.htm.
Celebrations at Anandpur Sahib at launch of the ter centenary celebrations were undertaken at a
mass footings. A special committee had been set up by the Punjab government for the celebration arrangements for the Ter Centenary of Khalsa Panth, called Anandpur Sahib Foundation. The major activities taken up by various governmental and private organisations to mark this occassion are:
- Launch Celebrations at Anandpur Sahib
- A Commomerative stamp released by department of posts
- A movie "In the foot steps of Guru Gobind Singh Ji"
- A serial " Wahe Guru" by renowoned B.R. Chopra, which was telecast by DD
- A Sound, light and multimedia presentation " Bole Sone Hal", which has been enacted at various Indian, US, Canadian cities and at Bangkok.
- Kirtan Darbar at various Gurudwaras worldwide, from famous ragis like Bhai Chaman Singh, Bhai Gurbhajan Singh and many more.
- Shastra and Ancient Relic Pradarshani at Delhi
The ceremonies of Ter Centenary celebration have been covered with a picture gallery at
and the BBC Coverage on Tercentanary (300 Years) of Khalsa Panth has a
rich audio/visual content at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/religion/sikhism/audio.htm#top.
The closing ceremony of the ter centenary celebrations is being marked by a month long celebration
at Delhi, which shall conclude on the Vaisakhi day, 2000.