Sikh new year Vaisakhi celebrated at Portsmouth temple with calls for more events in public

A TEMPLE in the city has welcomed Sikh worshipers from across the area to celebrate a major religious holiday, with calls for council to help the community put on more events across Portsmouth.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 3:53 pm

The Guru Nanak Sar Gurdwarawa, the Sikh temple in Margate Road, was full of people celebrating Vaisakhi with music, prayers, and food on Sunday.

Vaisakhi is a spring festival which happens around April every year, when worshipers celebrate the birth of Sikhism as a collective faith in 1699.

People gather together to prepare a large communal meal, which is free and open to non-worshipers.

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Kamaljit Kaur (28) chanting the Guru Granth Sahib Sukhmani Sahibji. Picture: Mike Cooter (010522)

Now the temple’s members are hoping the council will help them put on more events in public across the city.

Sandesh Kaur, a 20-year-old from North End who was helping prepare food for the celebrations, said: ‘I wished we celebrated a bit more with the community. We do get people from outside the community come in – local people or friends – but I wish we could get more people involved.

‘It’s a fun celebration.’

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Jaswant Singh-Digpal (60, secretary of the Guru Nanaksar Gurdwara in Margate Road). Picture: Mike Cooter (010522)

Jaswant Singh, secretary of the Gurudwara, said the temple had previously received grants from the city council for community events in the 1980s.

He said: ‘We like to think of ourselves out there, but we would like to be a little more out there, more in line with the bigger towns.

‘Over the years we have been given some help from the city council, but it would be nice to be part of the yearly plans...to be recognised that the Sikhs are celebrating their festivals would be a very good thing.’

Members of the Gurudwara have previously put on free community meals at Park Community School with great success, according to one temple member.

Sandeep Kaur (20) making pooris in the kitchen of the Guru Nanaksar Gurdwara in Margate Road. Picture: Mike Cooter (010522)

Bakohnt Singh said: ‘I believe that there is a lot more that could be done to support the community.

‘I believe that we should be getting more from the council as I believe that we put a lot into the community.

‘We put on a meal at Park Community School and we fed over a 100 people. They really did embrace it – we would love to do something similar somewhere like the Guildhall.’

The Gurdwarawa was set up in 1962 with just eight worshipers, and it now has more 150 members.

The Sikh temple is open every Sunday and anyone is welcome to join its regular meals.