Picture special: Luton crowds turn out for religious Sikh celebration through the town

A newly built Sikh temple in Luton played centre stage to special celebrations at the weekend.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:33 pm

The Luton Sikh community came together to celebrate Vaisakhi at the weekend.

Vaisakhi is a religious festival to celebrate the historic 1699 birth of Khalsa, a collective of committed Sikhs (male and female) who are mandated to fight oppression and uphold freedom and work to provide basic needs of all people – serving everyone, regardless of their background, recognising humanity’s oneness.

The ceremony of Nagar Kirtan, meaning town/city and the singing of devotional hymns, took place on Saturday.

The Sikh religion believes that deep down in everybody's heart, there is thirst for God and as we get busy with our daily life, the materialist world takes us away – but if we sing devotional hymns in Sangat (congregation), it is the quickest way to reach God.

Community spokesman Ashwinder Singh said: “The procession was led by our living Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Panj Piare (5 beloved ones). It started from our new Gurdwara, through Bury Park, then to New Bedford Road and then town and back to Gurdwara. Before we started we offered prayer and one minute’s silence was observed for the Ukraine war. We had very positive responses from other communities and they supported us all the way. We had about 2,000 people attended the Nagar Kirtan.”

He added: “This year there was huge interest from youth and people generally who do not come to Gurdwara and we believe it is due to the new Gurdwara built (on Dallow Road).

"As we have the new building now, we want to use the facility to engage with the different Luton communities. There is huge interest and we had so many queries.

"I myself am heavily involved with Luton Punjab Music School and we have about 130 children where we have families coming from Bedford, Hatfield, Harpenden and Hitchin.

"We also run the Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen every Sunday from 5pm to 6pm in partnership with Luton Food Bank, Luton Council and local food store.”

Work on the new Gurdwara started in 2020 on the site of the old temple.

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