Guru Nanak Jayanti
The land of colors, inspiration, and diversity, India is a cultural melting pot even as it charges ahead in technology and global leadership. Festivals and ceremonies are an integral part of the country’s cultural fabric, not least because it brings people together across the peninsula. For Sikhs, one such felicitous occasion is Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurupurab.
About the Festival
Guru Nanak Jayanti goes by many other names such as Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab and Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti among others. In essence, the festival marks the birth of Guru Nanak, the first-ever Sikh Guru. Guru Nanak Jayanti is also a gazetted holiday in India, considering the intensity of celebrations and devotion of Sikhs to the remembrance of the founder of Sikhism.
If you have searched for the Guru Nanak Jayanti date 2021 and looked back on other years, you would have noticed that the date changes every year. This is because different organizations and scholars cite different dates as the birth date of Guru Nanak. The Bhai Bala Janamsakhi states that Guru Nanak was born during the month of Kartik on the full moon day in the lunar calendar. However, yet others claim that he was born in April, in time for Baisakhi. Regardless, most Sikh devotees continue to observe Guru Nanak Jayanti in November. Guru Nanak Jayanti 2021 is slated to fall on 19 November.
How it is Celebrated
Celebrations begin 48 hours before the actual day of Guru Nanak Jayanti. Devotees flock to Gurudwaras to participate in Akhand Path, a non-stop recitation of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib. On the penultimate day, the Nagarkirtan procession takes place, where the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a palanquin and carried. The procession meanders through streets and is led by the Panj Pyare, five men.
On the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, celebrations usually kickstart at 4/5am, during a time called the Amrit Vela. Many areas also conduct Prabhat Pheris, which are processions that begin from the Gurudwara and snake through the localities to spread the cheer.
After this ceremony, devotees begin reading from the scriptures and continue singing hymns, praising the Guru. This goes on well into the afternoon until it is time for Langar. This community lunch concept is one of the most awaited portions of the Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations because it is a celebration of togetherness without considering gender, caste, creed or class. The free lunch is organized by volunteers and consists of simple yet piping hot fare.
Some devotee groups also host night prayers in Gurudwaras on Guru Nanak Jayanti. They begin at sunset, after the first evening prayer, and sing hymns well into the night. Congregations often sing Gurbani (hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib) at around 1.20 am, which is popularly considered as the birth time of Guru Nanak.
The History of the Festival
Gurupurab is the common term used to denote celebrations in the name of the 10 Sikh Gurus who shaped Sikhism as we know it. Guru Nanak Jayanti is in celebration of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism who was born in 1469 in the Nankana Sahib district in erstwhile Punjab (today’s Pakistan).
The 2019 celebrations of Guru Nanak Jayanti was commemorative of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
How to Get There
To mark the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, celebrations are held in several states across India, even abroad. These festivities are especially dynamic in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh. If you’re planning to make a trip to these areas in time for Guru Nanak Jayanti, traveling with redBus will get you there in safe hands.
redBus is an award-winning, internationally-recognized travel company with thousands of routes crisscrossing India. You can book a bus journey from Delhi to Chandigarh and Bhuntar to Chandigarh. It’s also that much more convenient to travel from the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan to Chandigarh on board a Jaipur to Chandigarh bus.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is also the perfect time to witness Harmandir Sahib–popularly known as the Golden Temple– in full glory. Whether you’re traveling to see the beautifully-lit temple, participate in the rituals or take a dip in the holy waters, you reach Amritsar on board a comfortable bus from any major city. Routes on redBus include Delhi to Amritsar, Jaipur to Amritsar, Katra to Amritsar, even Chandigarh to Amritsar.
The perks of traveling with redBus in time for Guru Nanak Jayanti are many and widespread. For starters, redBus has a ‘track my bus’ feature through which you can get the details of 60,000 routes and 10,000 buses being live-tracked. This way, even if you’re on unfamiliar territory, you can make sure you and your loved ones board the right bus and reach your destination safely.
Traveling with redBus also means convenience on the go. The redBus app is perfect for those last-minute Guru Nanak Jayanti trips. You can book seats on a bus only a few hours before its departure and use the boarding point navigation to find your stop. You don’t need to fiddle about with your cards and payment methods either– the app securely saves your preferred payment options so booking tickets become seamless.
Where to Stay
Thousands of people from all over the country and the world flock to Gurudwaras in time for Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations. If you’re planning to make the journey too, consider booking accommodation well in advance. Chandigarh, Haryana, Amritsar and other hubs have no shortage of accommodation that play along with any budget.
If you prefer to stay close to the Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations, consider booking a stay closer to the main Gurudwaras. If you don’t mind the travel, the main cities have plenty of business and family hotels to suit your needs. Backpackers can find lodges and hostels that’ll keep your bank account happy without compromising on fun. Enjoy your journey with redBus this Guru Nanak Jayanti!
NOTE: In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we at redBus would like to urge you to take all necessary precautions when you travel and follow every instruction provided by your local government. If you're not planning on traveling, practice social distancing and stay indoors to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease and prevent it from spreading any further. Stay safe!