The eighth edition of the Tauranga’s annual Nagar Kirtan (Sikh Parade) returned with enthusiastic participation from the members of the Sikh community on Sunday, January 10.

Thousands of members of Sikh community from Tauranga and the nearby Bay of Plenty region came out enthusiastically, dressed in traditional colourful dresses to be part of the customary procession that started from Gurudwara Sikh Sangat Tauranga and all the way to the CBD and circling back to the temple.

The annual Nagar Kirtan, which is held by Gurudwara Sikh Sangat Tauranga to mark the occasion of the birth anniversary of the revered tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh has slowly become one of the most popular events in the calendar of the Tauranga city.

The event marks a beautiful display of Sikh religion, culture and traditions in Tauranga and is warmly received by the local Kiwi community.

This year a local City of Tauranga Pipe Band led the popular Nagar Kirtan in a display of city’s celebration of multiculturalism and connection with the Sikh community.

Image courtesey City of Tauranga Pipe Band

The parade was led by the president of the Sikh Sangat in Tauranga, Pooran Singh, and was followed by a floral trailer and men, women and children who cleaned the road using a broom while others performed gatka.

Children and adults dressed in their ethnic bright yellow and indigo blue gatka uniform presented gatka in the background of soothing kirtan music much to the amusement of the public gathered on the streets, while the Sikh volunteers distributed free drinks and sharbat (traditional cold drink).

Gatka is a form of Sikh martial arts learnt and practised by the Sikh community.

Many members of Sikh and the wider Kiwi-Indian community also travelled from places far and wide to join this important Sikh community event in Tauranga.

Among others who travelled from regions further afar to participate in the annual Sikh parade, the key was Paramjeet Singh, Second Secretary, Indian High Commission, Wellington.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Paramjeet Singh said, “Both as a representative of High Commission of India and as a Sikh, I was privileged to be part of the birth anniversary celebration of Guru Gobind Singh ji, the tenth Sikh Guru, an icon of bravery and sacrifice.”

“I presented a beautiful Coffee Table book published by Govt of India to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji to the President of Tauranga Sikh community,” Mr Singh said.

Former National Party MP Kanwaljit Sikh Bakshi was also present in the annual Nagar Kirtan.