Amritsar: The Golden Temple complex, where the holiest of Sikh shrines, ‘Harmandar Sahib’ is located, was illuminated on Sunday and fireworks display took place to mark the ‘Bandi Chhor Diwas’ and Diwali.
There was festive spirit at the shrine complex in this Sikh holy city as tens of thousands of people came here to offer prayers and seek blessings.
With millions of lights around, the whole complex presented an attractive look.
However, due to environmental and pollution concerns, the fireworks display by the shrine management was a reduced one.
“We had less fireworks this year due to pollution concerns. But all traditional and religious rituals were followed. There were concerns about damage to the sanctum sanctorum and other buildings from chemicals of fireworks,” said a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) official.
The domes, buildings and floors of the shrine complex were cleaned for the festive occasion.
The shrine complex wore a new look on the outside as the whole market and residential area around the shrine has been renovated and given a fresh look.
“Dal roti ghar di, Diwali Amritsar di (food from home and Diwali of Amritsar) is the popular saying. Lakhs of people have come to mark the occasion. There is festive spirit,” said SGPC member Manjit Singh.
The day is celebrated in Sikh religion as ‘Bandi Chhor Diwas’ (prisoner liberation day) as on this day in 1619, the sixth guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind, returned to Amritsar after being released along with 52 princes by Mughal Emperor Jahangir from Gwalior prison.
The guru and the princes arrived in Amritsar during Diwali festivities. Since then, the Bandi Chhor Diwas and Diwali celebrations coincide at the Golden Temple complex.
Elsewhere in Punjab, markets wore a festive look on the occasion of Diwali. Hundreds of people thronged various markets in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and other towns.
The festival spirit for Diwali could also be seen in Chandigarh and towns and cities in Haryana.