Around 20,000 devotees have already registered for accommodation in the three tent cities put up in Sultanpur Lodhi ahead of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.
The tent cities have a capacity of 35,000 persons — which includes 30,000 pilgrims and government staff. Online as well as on the spot booking for the same started just a few days ago.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will be inaugurating the main pandal on November 5.
“Till date around 20,000 pilgrims have availed our tent city accommodation for a day or two. There were 4,200 pilgrims in the tents on Saturday night, and several more are coming,” said Pankaj Sharma, project manager of the tent cities, adding that there will be a huge rush from November 7 to 12.
On Sunday, over 1.5 lakh devotees paid obeisance at the Gurdwara Ber Sahib and several of these pilgrims also visited other six gurdwaras in the town.
“Earlier, very few people used to come to Gurdwara Sant Ghat because most of the people used to visit only Gurdwara Ber Sahib. But now thousands of people are coming here daily as well,” said one of the ‘pathis’.
Gurdwara Sant Ghat was built where Guru Nanak Dev had given the ‘Mool Mantra’ (the basic tenet of Sikhism) after coming out of the Bein.
The district administration and Punjab Police have made elaborate arrangements to ensure that devotees have a hassle-free visit. Pilgrims are being facilitated through free bus service from outer parking to the inner parking nearby Gurdwara Ber Sahib. In the first phase, 60 buses have been deployed, which would be increased to 300 as per requirements on peak days.
Buses have been deployed on various roads connecting parking lots to Gurdwara Ber Sahib.
Nodal officer for transport Parneet Singh Minhas said the buses have been stationed at all outer parkings and there are facilitation counters at every parking lot. He added buses would ply regularly and also bring pilgrims back after their visit.
A heritage walk was organised on Sunday morning by the Punjab government to commemorate celebrations.
The walk — which started from Shaheed Udham Singh Chowk and culminated at Gurdwara Sri Ber Sahib — was led by Chief Principal Secretary to the Punjab CM, Suresh Kumar. The 3 km walk passed through Gurdwara Guru Ka Bagh, Gurdwara Kothri Sahib, Old House Bebe Nanaki, Gurdwara Hatt Sahib, Quilla Sarai etc. and was given a rousing reception by people from all walks of life. During the walk, people showered flower petals on the devotees participating in the event.
Langars of tea, lassi, fruits and other delicacies was also served to devotees on their way to the pilgrimage. During the walk, devotees were apprised of the historic importance of the gurdwaras.
Light and sound show
The Punjab government will also be organising a grand light and sound show, the first of its kind, at Sultanpur Lodhi from November 4. The show will portray the life and preachings of Guru Nanak through cutting ende technology. Punjabi artists like Lakhwinder Wadali, Harbhajan Maan and Kavisher Hardev Singh will also perform on stage.
Between November 4 to 9 and November 13 to 15, the show timings will be from 7 pm to 9.15 pm. In view of the large footfall of pilgrims on November 10, 11 and 12, the show will be organised from 7 pm to 10.30 pm.
The light and sound show between 4 to 6 November will be held at 7 pm to 8 pm, followed by a live performance by prominent Punjabi singer Lakhwinder Wadali.
A conference on environment was organised by environmentlist and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) member Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal on the banks of the Holy Bein.