Guru Nanak Dev 550th Birth Anniversary: 84 Heads of Foreign Missions from New Delhi Visit Amritsar
On reaching the temple, they first visited the interpretation centre at its entrance, also known as Golden Temple Plaza.
Amritsar: A display of 'Jalao' (Sikh symbolic items), inside the Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) on the occasion of the 550th birthday anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith, in Amritsar, Friday, Nov 23, 2018. (Image: PTI)
Amritsar: As many as 84 heads of foreign missions from New Delhi led by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday visited the Golden Temple to take part in celebrations of the 550thbirth anniversary of Sikhism's founder, Guru Nanak Dev.
The countries whose heads of foreign missions visited the shrine included Afghanistan, Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, USA, Nepal.
On reaching the temple, they first visited the interpretation centre at its entrance, also known as Golden Temple Plaza. There they were received by SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal and given robes of honour with replicas of the shrine, woolen shawls and a set of Sikh religious books.
Inside the plaza, they watched four short documentaries about the Sikh religion and its history, the history of the Golden Temple and the role of the Sikh community for the well-being of humanity.
All the foreign mission heads paid obeisance at the temple's sanctum sanctorum and spent a few minutes inside. "All of them experienced a spiritual ambience as Sikh priests recited religious hymns," a SGPC official said.
The dignitaries also visited the langar (community kitchen) hall where they saw how langar is prepared for thousands of devotees each day. Some foreign mission heads cooked chapattis with Sikh devotees and also partook in 'langar' while sitting on the floor.
Inside the temple plaza, Puri in a brief address said, "We are thankful to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) which invited heads of foreign missions in New Delhi to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar."
"This visit of envoys to the sanctum sanctorum of Sikh faith is a befitting mark of respect to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji who during his five 'udasis' travelled to several parts of the world with his eternal message of peace and oneness of humanity," he tweeted later.
"Since time immemorial, seekers of spirituality and solace have headed to Guru Di Nagri Sri Amritsar Sahib and the holy city has always welcomed humanity with an open heart. The residents of Guru Di Nagri extended a very warm and enthusiastic welcome to the delegation of foreign envoys," he tweeted.
Following the Union Cabinet's decision to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev across the globe, the ICCR had invited heads of foreign missions in New Delhi to visit the Golden Temple.
The visit was organised by the ICCR in collaboration with the Punjab government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). Puri and ICCR President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe were accompanying the heads of missions.
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