Bidar, a town in northeastern Karnataka, holds a special place in the history of the Sikh faith as it is connected to the life of Guru Nanak and a few other religious figures.
As the faithful celebrate Prakash Purab, the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on Tuesday, Bidar town is marking the event with special fervour, under the aegis of the Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee and the Guru Nanak Foundation.
Guru Nanak is believed to have visited Bidar during ‘dakshinapatha’ or his southern sojourn. Legend has it that he stopped in the hilly town of Bidar while returning from Sri Lanka in 1512. The people of the parched land asked him for water and he moved a stone with his toe and an eternal spring came alive there. The spring (jhira) that bears his name still exists in the town near the Gurdwara.
The main Prakash Purab events in Bidar, which began on November 9 and will culminate on Tuesday, are being held in the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Jhira in Guru Nagar, which includes prayers, sermons, mass singing, processions, demonstrations of martial arts, and so on.
As a precursor to the festival, a pan India rally was held from June to October. A team of around 100 devotees travelled to all places associated with the life of Guru Nanak and other places of religious importance.
They carried copies of the Guru Granth Sahib from the Gurdwara Huzur Sahib in Nanded and held meetings with the youth to create awareness about Guru Nanak’s philosophy.
Balbir Singh, president of the Prabhandak committee said that lakhs have visited Bidar since November 9, coming in from various States and Punjab, besides international destinations.
Deputy Commissioner H.R. Mahadev said the district administration had also set up a control room to help pilgrims and tourists.