Gurudwara Singh Sabha at Ferry Road Christchurch was abuzz with palpable energy as the Christchurch community came together to celebrate Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas with a special ‘divan’ on November 12. 

The gurdwara, which was beautifully decorated and illuminated with bright, colourful lights, overflowed with more than 5,000 people seeking blessings and immersing themselves in the joyous festivities.

For the Sikh community, Diwali holds a significant place, coinciding with Bandi Chhor Divas, a commemoration of Guru Hargobind's release from a 12-year imprisonment ordered by Mughal emperor Jahangir. Guru Hargobind's unwavering spirit and commitment to justice are deeply revered within the Sikh faith.

Volunteers could be seen working tirelessly to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on the road, assisting elderly visitors, preparing and serving langar.

The air was filled with unmistakable festival energy, uplifting sounds of kirtan and aromas of langar food. 

The gurdwara had set up special stalls offering delectable delicacies to the visitors, including kacchi lassi, fruit chaat, gol gappe and banana shakes. Queues formed outside the stalls as visitors eagerly awaited the opportunity to savour these treats.

Many visitors were lighting candles and diyas outside the gurdwara, symbolising the triumph of light over darkness. 

Kirtan Hall, packed to capacity, resonated with the sounds of kirtan, creating a peaceful and spiritual ambience. Inside Langar Hall, a delicious meal was prepared and served, ensuring that everyone was fed–embodying the essence of selfless service and community togetherness.

The distinguished guests who graced the occasion were Dr Vanessa Weenink, MP-elect for Banks Peninsula, and ACT party’s Laura Trask.

The highlight of the evening was a dazzling 10-minute fireworks display, illuminating the night sky and leaving the visitors awestruck by its grandeur. 

Jitender Sahi, Spokesperson for Gurudwara Singh Sabha, was delighted with the attendance from different communities. “It took us more than a month to get consents for fireworks. A lot of Kiwi neighbours have sent us congratulatory messages and everyone was quite excited to witness the fireworks.

“This is the first time in the history of Gurdwara Singh Sabha that the firework display was held and I thank everyone including volunteers and attendees who made it possible.”