Significance of the Palki Sahib!


Significance of the Palki Sahib

It is well known that the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, was bestowed the title of the eternal Guru by Guru Gobind Singh himself, giving it the same aura and celestial light that shone on the original Sikh masters.

In keeping with tradition the Guru Granth Sahib is carried with respect in a special palanquin, a palki, befitting a Sikh Guru.

We look at the origin and significance of an age-old tradition, of the 'palki sahib'.

Its at the centre of every gurudwara, the resting place of the eternal Guru. 'Waheguru', 'wonderful lord', engraved on the canopy of the Palki from which he presides, says it all.

Seated atop a raised platform, the Manji Sahib, the Guru Granth Sahib is fanned by the Chauri, made especially of animal hair, an ancient tradition reserved for royalty.

That aura and respect accorded to the Palki goes back to the birth of this holy text.

"The Fifth Guru Guru Arjan Dev had gone to the Gobind Darbar to compile together the various works that formed the Guru Granth Sahib."

"There Guruji prepared a palki, a palanquin, for the Guru Granth Sahib to be carried in. History has it that Guru Arjan Dev carried this 'Palki' himself bare feet. People urged him to sit on a separate Palki himself, as he was a Guru too. But Guru Arjan Dev refused, saying he would carry the Guru Granth Sahib himself as its religious reign would be eternal," a priest at the Harmandir Sahib tells us.

It is the wee hours of the morning, and the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is alive with chants and hymns in preparation for the grand daily Prakash ceremony, the reinstallation of the Guru Granth Sahib.

To the singing of Sat Nam Wahe Guru or a gurbani, the Palki Sahib of gold and silver carries the Guru Granth Sahib from its residential chambers to the shrine, to preside over the Sadh Sangat.

A series of deep, resonant drum beats of the nagara heralds its arrival to the assembled worshippers who, even at this hour, fill the large plaza to capacity.

This passage to the Harmandir Sahib, though short, sometimes takes upto half an hour while as many worshippers as possible share the honour of carrying it.

"At Nanded, Guru Gobind Singh gave up his physical existence, passing away into eternity. In the presence of five of his followers, he performed five rounds (parikrama) of the Guru Granth Sahib and bestowed eternal guruship on the Guru Granth to be followed by Sikhs forever.

In its construction at specialised workshops in Amritsar, the Palki as used at homes of Sikhs around the world, is made generally of wood-teakwood and shisham-of varying degrees of quality and expense.

Significantly, each piece made is given a unique design of canopy. The cost starts from 40 dollars, and an entire industry thrives on it.

These palanquins are exported to the U.S.and to other parts of the world in large numbers.

Devender Singh, a palki manufacturer in the city says, "Amritsar is famous for the manufacturing of the 'palki'. Here we make them in a collapsible form, which can be carried more conveniently to anywhere in the world."

"Devotees from all over the world who come to the Golden Temple, buy the Palki here," he adds.

The final finish turns out to be the most important part of the entire process, and completion of the wooden structure, the platform and stilts, takes two to three days.

The canopy made of gold or silver or any other metal depending on the costing, is added on later following necessary engravings.