The Punjab's new Guru Gobind Singh Highway was inaugurated at Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib, near Chandigarh, on Tuesday (10 April) -- the eve of the great Punjabi festival of Baisakhi.
GV Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib (temple)
SV & GV Guru Gobine Singh's Golden Palanquin arrives on truck (2 shots)
LV Devotees arrive, gather outside temple (2 shots)
SV Musicians inside Gurdwara
SV Devotee dancing
SV & CU The Panch Payaras leave Gurdwara (2 shots)
GV First milestone unveiled
GV Crowd watch from bus top
TGV March begins
SV Drummers one elephants and horses (2 shots)
CU Women watch
SV Horses similar to Guru's on truck
SV ' LV Women watch as lorries pass (3 shots)
CU & SV Child watches as Golden Palanquin passes on truck (3 shots)
GV Traffic following procession
Initials ES. 1555 ES. 1620
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Background: The Punjab's new Guru Gobind Singh Highway was inaugurated at Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib, near Chandigarh, on Tuesday (10 April) -- the eve of the great Punjabi festival of Baisakhi.
The 640 Kilometres (400 miles) highway links more than 200 villages, with a total population of about half a million. It follows the 18th century route of Gobind Singh, a revered Guru, when he roamed from Anandpur to Dam Dama Sahib. The Guru broke through a Mogul army cordon, but lost his entire family to the enemy.
The commemoration of the Guru by the new highway is the latest in a series of moves by the Punjab government to boost religious observances in the state. Roads, hospitals, schools and even milk bars have been named after historic martyrs.
The Guru Gobind Singh highway has additional political significance. Until now the Akali sect had dominated the region, and had been regarded there as sole guardians of the Sikh faith. The state government can now claim to have done something substantial for the Sikh community, and hopes to win support away from the communally-orientated politics of the Akalis.
The road includes 90 kilometres (more than 50 miles) of link roads to places associated with the Guru.In all, 91 historical places sacred to his memory are linked by the highway. At 20 places there will be erected special pillars (patterned on Buddhist "stupas") which will act as "milestones". Each will have inscriptions explaining its history, and a saying of the Guru in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English.
The colourful inauguration ceremonies ranged from speeches by eminent politicians to the unveiling of the first road-side pillar by a labourer. A procession was led by elephants, and included trucks carrying sacred relics of the Guru. Among them was a horse, part of a special pure herd, bred from the Guru's own horse. These steeds are said to retain all the characteristics of the Guru's own mount. They stop to acknowledge salutes from the faithful -- and nobody has ever dared try to ride them.