Over the weekend many many people travelled far and wide from around Australia and beyond to come to Shepparton for the annual Akhand Kirtan smagam. At the Gurduara Sahib Sikh Temple on Sunday night it was a night to remember the sacrifice of the ninth prophet Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and his wife and grandsons who sacrificed their life to save other religion and against injustice.
The night ran until 5am the next morning which concluded a four day gathering. There was also a private baptism in the evening and even a wedding at 3am in the morning. (I did get invited to the wedding but sadly I turned my alarm off, went back to sleep and did not get back to the wedding. I hope to attend another one some day)
Although both Jill and I have been to the temple and other temples before we did feel honoured to be invited by our Sikh friends to join them on such an important night. I am not sikh but I do feel incredible peace when listening and joining in with the kirtan especially in such a large gathering with the energy even stronger. The words are found on the screens. They are written how they are said so it is very easy to join in. If you are ever thinking of visiting a Sikh temple I know you would be welcome. All people are welcome. Just remember to cover your head with a scarf or a bandana is usually fine for a man.There is usually a basket offered if you don’t have one.
Whilst you are there you will most probably be offered a meal which will be vegetarian and incredibly delicious. This is called langar. Langar is the term used in the Sikh religion for common kitchen/canteen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors (without distinction of background) for free. At the langar, only vegetarian food is served, to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat as equals.
To see more of my Shepparton community blogposts go to http://www.lizarcus.com/category/community
And to see a blog post from a few months ago from a very different day at the sikh temple – please have a look at this cooking class http://www.lizarcus.com/documentary/an-indian-cooking-class-yum
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