The gurdwara, in Hassan Abdal, Pakistan, before pilgrims start to arrive from India, Afghanistan, Africa, North Africa and Australia for the Vaisakhi Festival. Photo by Naveed Ahmad
Two children enjoy baptizing with their fathers at the gurdwara, in Hassan Abdal, Pakistan. Photo by Naveed Ahmad
Two young boys show off their skills with real swords and armor amid drumbeat during a parade on the third day of Vaisakhi festival. Photo by Naveed Ahmad
A young girl with her mother, who covers her face from the camera, wears glittery gold bangles and Henna during the Vaisakhi Festival in Hassan Abdal, Pakistan. Photo by Naveed Ahmad
Women and men huddle together in a bid to get ‘holy’ drinking water from a fountain in Hassan Abdal, Pakistan, presumably discovered by Guru Nanak himself. Photo by Naveed Ahmad
HASSAN ABDAL, Pakistan (RNS) Sikhs from all over the world assemble at Gurdwara Panja Sahib each year for a religious ritual on the eve of Vaisakhi (sometimes known as Baisakhi), a centuries-old festival that also marks the spring harvest. This year, some 8,000 Sikh pilgrims arrived from as far as Scandinavia and Australia to spend 10 days of religious pilgrimage in three cities. Pronounced “VA-sock-ee,” the festival, which fell on Monday (April 14), marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year and commemorates the founding of the Khalsa (spiritual sister- and brotherhood) in 1699.
YS/AMB END AHMAD