I went to Houston,Texas last week to take part in a wedding. My dad’s first cousin’s son was getting married and we wanted to be part of the celebration. Since I am not a huge fan of wedding celebrations, I will just skip to the part about the adventure I had with my cousin (the groom’s sister).
We decided to take a walk in her neighborhood and small white domes caught my eye from the distance. I asked my cousin if it was a mosque and she informed me that it was actually a Gurdwara (Sikh temple).
I got excited. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a look inside a place of worship belonging to a religion so similar to the one I follow (i.e. Islam). So, we embarked on a journey. The Gurdwara seemed close enough from where we were, but getting there took a while. We ran into two or three dead ends before we finally figured out how to get there.
We found a nice man inside who gave us a tour of the building. We saw a shrine that holds the Holy Book called the Guru Granth Sahibji. Sikhs show utmost respect to their Gurus (religious leaders, including the last one-Guru Granth Sahibji) and when our guide entered this room, he prostrated before this shrine.
^shrine with Guru Gobind Sahibji
Sikhs also have the concept of ‘seva’, which means to volunteer services to their community.
We were given prashad (food served at religious ceremonies). While I devoured the prashad, I talked with a sweet lady who told us that there was a religious service every Friday for kids and every Sunday for adults. They teach the kids to play tabla (drums) because the religious ceremony often involves singing from the Scriptures.
^Parshad-made of flour and sugar
Here’s some other tidbits I’ve learned from Dr. Google:
-The members of the Sikh congregation that have been baptized are referred to as a ‘Khalsa’. These sikhs carry the Five K’s or ‘panch kakke’ as they are called-kara (bracelet), kanga (comb), kes (uncut hair), kachha (undergarment), and kirpan (dagger).
-There are eleven gurus, of which the last one is the Guru Gobind Sahibji. The tenth guru established that the last and final guru be the Holy Text that he left behind.
Here’s to a new year with many new adventures to come! =)