Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend will be the focus of celebrations to mark Bandi Chhor Divas and Diwali on Monday 24th October.
Bandi Chhor Diwas is the day on which Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh Guru, was released with 52 Kings from Gwalior Prison. The word “Bandi” means “imprisoned”, “Chhor” means “release” and “Divas” means “Day” and so “Bandi Chhor Divas” means Prisoner Release Day. It is celebrated with great joy as it was a time when “right” prevailed over “wrong”. The Mughals had held many hundreds of prisoners who were effectively “political prisoners” and were otherwise innocent leaders of their communities. They had been held without trial or any other legal process; jailed by brute force; held against their wishes. The Guru had found a way to get 52 of these innocent leaders released from the prison without a battle.
At the Gurdwara on Monday, there will be Kirtan (singing of Sikh hymns) and Katha (talking and preaching about Sikh philosophy and history) all day, from 10.00am to 7.30pm. The day will finish with fireworks which can be viewed from the Gurdwara grounds or car park. The fireworks, supplied by Phoenix Fireworks Ltd, will start at 8.00pm and last about 12 minutes.
New water fountains have been installed at the front of the Gurdwara, which will come into use for the first time on the weekend of 22nd – 23rd October. New lighting which will illuminate the beautiful marble features of the building at night will also come into use at the same time, in time for Bandi Chhor Day celebrations.
Visitors to the Gurdwara for the celebrations are asked to leave their cars in nearby public car parks, such as Lord Street, and walk to the Gurdwara via the main entrance in Guru Nanak Marg at the end of Saddington Street. The Gurdwara Car Park is likely to be full by about 6.00 pm. We will minimise traffic congestion in the area as far as possible. Traffic into Trinity Road and Wellington Street will be restricted to those requiring access to properties in Wellington Street, Trinity Road and the roads leading off Trinity Road from about 6.30 pm until the fireworks are finished and the area is clear, at about 8.30 pm.
All local residents are invited to come and join us in the celebrations at the Gurdwara. Langar (free vegetarian food prepared at the Gurdwara) will be served all day. Please note that alcohol, tobacco, any other intoxicants, as well as meat, fish and eggs are strictly forbidden from the entire Gurdwara complex and grounds, and this will be enforced. Also, for health and safety reasons, any personal sparklers or fireworks of any kind are prohibited. Please do not bring any such items with you if you are coming to watch the fireworks at the Gurdwara, but do come along and join us to celebrate.