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Gravesend preparing for Diwali on Sunday

PUBLISHED: 12:09 24 October 2019

There will be plenty of fireworks in Gravesend to celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas and Diwali. Picture: Jagdev Singh Virdee

There will be plenty of fireworks in Gravesend to celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas and Diwali. Picture: Jagdev Singh Virdee

Archant

The annual Bandi Chhor Divas and Diwali will be celebrated in town on Sunday.

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend will be the focus of celebrations to mark the special events.

Bandi Chhor Divas is the day on which Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh Guru, was released with 52 Kings from Gwalior Prison, said Jagdev Singh Virdee, a spokesman for the Gurdwara management team.

He said the word "bandi" means imprisoned, "chhor" means release and "divas" means day and so Bandi Chhor Divas means Prisoner Release Day.

It is celebrated with great joy as it was a time when right prevailed over wrong.

He said the Mughals had held many hundreds of prisoners who were effectively political prisoners and were otherwise innocent leaders of their communities. They had been held without trial or any other legal process; jailed by brute force; held against their wishes.

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The Guru had found a way to get 52 of these innocent leaders released from the prison without a battle.

At the Gurdwara on Sunday, October 27, there will be Kirtan (singing of Sikh hymns) and Katha (talking and preaching about Sikh philosophy and history) all day, from 10am to 7.30pm.

The day will finish with fireworks which can be viewed from the Gurdwara grounds or car park.

The Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara management team said visitors to the Gurdwara are asked to leave their cars in nearby public car parks, such as Lord Street, and walk to the Gurdwara via the main entrance in Guru Nanak Marg at the end of Saddington Street. The Gurdwara car park is likely to be full by about 6pm and there will be some street restrictions in the area during the event.

And Mr Virdee added: "All local residents are invited to come and join us in the celebrations at the Gurdwara. Langar (free vegetarian food prepared at the Gurdwara) will be served all day."

Visitors are warned that intoxicants like alcohol, and tobacco, as well as meat, fish and eggs are strictly forbidden from the entire Gurdwara complex 
and grounds, and this will be enforced.

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