Kirtans, langar and charity marked the Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations in the city on Tuesday.
The biggest gathering was on the Maidan around Shahid Minar.
The celebrations were tempered in the past two years because of the raging pandemic. The Shahid Minar programme itself resumed after a two-year break.
Over 60,000 people had turned up by 6pm on Tuesday, said organisers. The day started with kirtan, musical recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of the Sikh faith.
The langar, which went on through the day, was a spectacle to behold as around 1,000 people ate together in every batch.
The city’s roads were less crowded on account of a public holiday but even then, many people who happened to pass by the Maidan dropped by for a quick meal at the langar.
The Maidan air was thick with the aroma of daal, subzi and kheer.
“There is God in every one of us. To get God’s love, we must love people first. We should love each other irrespective of the differences in our religion. Guru Nanak’s message is wonderfully manifested in the celebrations. Many non-Sikhs are celebrating along with us,” said Satwant Singh, president of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, the main organiser of the programme at Shahid Minar.
At Gurdwara Behala on Diamond Harbour Road, the celebrations started with a prabhat pheri (musical parade) in the morning.
The celebrations lasted well beyond midnight.
“Sri Guru Nanak Devji always advocated equality and service to humanity. More than any other period of human history, the need for unity today is most urgent. It is important to note that the first words the Guru uttered after his enlightenment were ‘na koi Hindu, na koi Musalman’ clearly indicating that his mission was to unite humanity,” said Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, chairman of IHA Foundation and general-secretary of Gurdwara Behala.
Many Sindhis and Bengalis were part of the celebrations at Behala in southwest Kolkata.
A group of friends visited the gurdwara in the evening to serve langar. “This is my first time in a gurdwara on Guru Nanak Jayanti. I feel service to humanity is the most important virtue,” said Anyaita Datta, a first-year-BBA student.
To mark the 553rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak,wA Foundation distributed ration kits to more than 553 underprivileged and needy families.
At Gurdwara Sant Kutiya on Harish Mukherjee Road, people from all faiths kept dropping by since morning. A delegation from the Golden Temple in Amritsar came down to lead the kirtan at the Bhowanipore gurdwara.
A dhadi jatha (a band of singers) from Punjab was one of the highlights of the celebrations.
“The pandemic had stifled the celebrations in the past two years. This year, the spontaneity is back,” said Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Bhowanipore gurdwara.
This picture of the eclipse was taken in Esplanade at 5.56pm.Picture by Pradip Sanyal
A cloud cover turned out to be a thorn in proper viewing of the total lunar eclipse for Kolkatans on Tuesday. The eclipse, in terms of the darkness of the moon, was maximum at 4.29pm, when the moon was deep inside the shadow of the earth. The total eclipse ended around 5.11pm.
“But from the reports that I have, the sky was clouded and visibility was hampered at that time. I could see the first glimpse of the eclipsed moon after 6.15pm, minutes before the eclipse came to an end,” said Debiprosad Duari, director, Institute of Astronomy Space and Earth Science, Kolkata.
A lunar eclipse occurs during a full moon night because the sun, earth and moon align almost on the same plane in a straight line. The moon passes through the shadow region of the earth and is eclipsed for some time.