Monday, September 19, 2011

A Visit to the Sikh Temple

On Sunday, our group headed to the Sikh temple to observe a sunday service and share langar, or lunch, with our new Sikh friends. Here are some photos from our trip.

The Sikh population here in Coimbatore is fairly small. We were welcomed on Sunday by the president of the gurudwara, who also provided us with some general information on the Sikh faith. There are around 25 million Sikhs worldwide, and 75% of Sikhs live in and around Punjab, a state in North India.

 Headcoverings are required for men and women alike. Sikh men wear large turbans  (pictured below) to cover their hair, which they don't cut and wear in a topknot. Here is Program Assistant Jonathan Pinckney and Director Kirk McClelland sporting their borrowed headscarves, available to those who come to the gurudwara without a turban. 

 This is our friend Simran. She's the gurudwara president's daughter. She was kind to show us around the temple and explain to us a little but more about the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, and answer our questions.

Students wearing their dupattas (the scarves which come with their Indian dress) on their heads to enter the temple.

 Observing the service. the man in the middle-right of the picture is reading scriptures from the holy book. the covered heads in the foreground belong to Amanda, Erin and Renee.

 Reading from the Guru Granth.

 Sharing the langar, or communal meal, after the service with our newfound Sikh friends.

Becky, Melissa, Erin, Renee, Kali, Natasha, Brooklyn, Calla, Sarah
Mariah and Amanda
posing outside the gurudwara.

 the president of the gurudwara

Some of the biggest things we learned: the Sikh faith is monotheistic, peaceful and simple- free from idols and superstitions. Sikhs don't discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or even faith. Anyone is free to join them for temple and lunch.

Thank you, Coimbatore Sikh community, for allowing us to share your space with you this Sunday!

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