Sikh temple welcomes new ‘guru’ to Southsea for first time in 60 years
THE SIKH community in Portsmouth has welcomed a new ‘guru’ to the city for the first time in more than 50 years.
It comes in the form of a new copy of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text.
It will be housed at at Gurudwara Guru Nanak Sar, the temple on Margate Road, Southsea.
The book is treated as a living guru, including being put to bed every night in a room behind the temple's main hall.
More than 40 members of the community attended the ceremony at the Gurudwara, which was established in 1962.
Jaswant Singh Digpal, 59, a property developer and secretary of the Gurudwara, was filled with a ‘massive sense of achievement’ in organising the rare occasion.
He said: 'This is the first time a new Guru Granth Sahib has come to Portsmouth in nearly 60 years. It's a historic day.'
The holy text started its journey in India, which has the only printing press in the world authorised to produce new copies.
It was was delivered to Portsmouth by a delegation from the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, London's largest Sikh temple.
The welcoming ceremony included readings from the holy texts by the Granthi, a priest who acts as a custodian of the book.
Buksis Singh Digpal, 61, a retired revenue officer and member of the temple, said: 'It's like a new opening.
'Today is very, very special.
'The Guru Granth Sahib is treated like a living being, and its presence here is what makes this a holy place.'
The old Guru Granth Sahib will 'lay in rest' in the bed at the Gurudwara, according to Jaswant.
It came to Portsmouth in 1963, when the temple's congregation consisted of 13 members.
Jaswant sees the ceremony as a symbol of the Sikh's community 'integral part of the city.'
He said: 'We have grown into the city.
'I was born and brought up in Southsea.
'Our temple is now well established – for everyone, whoever they are.'
The temple has more than 120 members today.