comment 0

The Golden Temple

By Raminder Pal Singh

Devotees offer prayers in front of the illuminated Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, seen in the backdrop on the occasion of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 16 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

Devotees offer prayers in front of the illuminated Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, seen in the backdrop on the occasion of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, in Amritsar, India, 16 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

Each year, the birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, is celebrated in Amritsar in the state  of Punjab, Northwest India. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is the holiest of Sikh places in the world. The religious procession is carried out on the eve of the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji who was the tenth Sikh Guru and initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. The procession is carried out in many parts of India as well but holds special significance in the state of Punjab where the population of the Sikhs is bigger.

This year marked the 351st birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh. Sikh devotees carry the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy book of Sikhs, in a special golden palanquin from inside the Golden Temple premises.

Sikh devotees carry the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy book of Sikhs, in a special golden palanquin at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines during a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

Sikh devotees carry the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy book of Sikhs, in a special golden palanquin at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

Then a religious procession starts from the streets outside the Golden Temple in which school children and devotees take part. Devotees sing Sikh religious hymns and children from different schools, wearing traditional, religious and school uniforms take part in the procession as it passes through the streets.

A vendor sells flowers , placed on a cart in a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

A vendor sells flowers in a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016.  epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

Because I have shot these kinds of processions many a time, every time at the back of my mind I am led by this thought how to shoot the occasion differently this time. I try to avoid cliched shots and shoot from angles which are not so common or at least which differ from what I had captured before.

Sikh children, dressed as 'Panj Pyare' or 'The Beloved Five', wearing religious attire, take part in a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

Sikh children, dressed as ‘Panj Pyare’ or ‘The Beloved Five’, take part in a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

For instance in above image, I preferred to take the shot from behind the children as the circular metal ‘Chakkar’ they wore on their turbans, to me kind of looked like halos over their heads.

A young Sikh girl, dressed in religious attire, performs the Gatka, a form of Sikh martial art during a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa / Raminder Pal Singh

A young Sikh girl performs the Gatka, a form of Sikh martial art during a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

In this one, I was trying slow shutter speed to go with the fast motion of the girl performing Gatka. Luckily her face came out to be still whereas there’s kind of a blurred effect in the backdrop because of slow shutter speed.

Some Sikh groups who have trained themselves, exhibiting their skills with various weapons like swords, Chakar, sticks etc. as they perform Gatka, a form of Sikh martial art. The Sikh martial art was very popular during the era of Guru Gobind Singh and still holds a very important place in Sikh culture and religion.

A Sikh man holds a sword, partially covered with a cloth, in his mouth to exhibit his skills as he performs the Gatka, a form of Sikh martial art during a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

A Sikh man holds a sword as he performs the Gatka, a form of Sikh martial art during a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. epa/Raminder Pal Singh

 

Sikh children, dressed as 'Panj Pyare' or 'The Beloved Five', wearing religious attire, take part in a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

Sikh men dressed as ‘Panj Pyare’ or ‘The Beloved Five’ take part in a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016.  epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

While shooting them this time, I got hit by a sword on my hand while a group of students were playing Gatka at the religious procession. While I was shooting, they suddenly became a bit more “aggressive”, trying to outscore the opponent and in the haste, they unintentionally hit my hand. (they didn’t even notice that someone was hit). Thankfully, it was just a minor cut and some bruises.

My favorite shot in the series, however, is this:

Indian children, wearing religious attire, take part in a religious procession on the eve of the 351st birth anniversary of the tenth Guru or master of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the tenth Sikh Guru who initiated the special order or sect of the Sikhs called the Khalsa Panth. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

Indian children, wearing religious attire, take part in a religious procession in Amritsar, India, 15 January 2016. epa/ Raminder Pal Singh

The innocence on their faces was something so adorable and divine.

People usually are happy when I point my camera towards them during such events. Little kids are happy and when sometimes I show them their pictures after taking them, their faces are all smiles.

The atmosphere in general is obviously religious with sounds coming from different speakers playing Sikh religious hymns. It’s a happy atmosphere altogether.

Leave a Reply