New Westminster Sikh temple welcomes community to celebrate its centennial anniversary

A four-day celebration of the Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar aims to bring the community closer together.

The Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster is inviting community members to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar in Queensborough. Since opening in 1919, the temple has become an integral part of the Queensborough and New Westminster communities, and has provided a place for Sikhs from New Westminster and the Lower Mainland to gather and to worship.

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“It is starting up on Thursday and it will be four days, with the main event on Sunday. It’s open to anyone within the community – in Queensborough and in New West. It’s to show support, learn about each other and the heritage,” said Jag Sall, a member of the committee that’s organizing the celebration. “I don’t think a lot of people know that the Sikh community has been in Queensborough for over 100 years, and/or the gurdwara itself has been there that long. Not just the Sikh community, but other communities in Queensborough have been living there for a century.”

While the gurdwara opens daily to serve meals, many people have never been inside the building at 347 Wood St. The anniversary celebration, which begins on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. and ends with a plaque-unveiling ceremony on Sunday, March 3 at noon, gives community members a chance to visit the temple and see a variety of events firsthand.

“There is going to be a lot of volunteers. If you have questions, they will be there to answer them,” Sall said. “There will be people there who can speak English. They will be there for the weekend if anyone has questions. That’s all part of it – learning about each other so we can realize that we are pretty much the same. We have similar outlooks on life, goals in life, wants and needs.”

Music, history and spiritual programs will be held at the temple during the four-day celebration, which features a 48-hour continuous reading of the Sikh holy book starting at 9 a.m. Friday and continuing until 9 a.m. on Sunday. After the closing of the reading of the book on Sunday, hymns will be sung at 10 a.m., local dignitaries will attend an official ceremony at 11 a.m. and an unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary will take place at noon.

“During the whole time there is going to be langar served – free food,” Sall added. “It is always being served throughout all the events, which it is every day anyways.”

The Khalsa Diwan Society started in 1906 in Vancouver, but opened on the Queensborough site after New Westminster resident Bhai Bishah Singh bought the lot next to his home at 344 Boyne St. in 1919 and donated it to the Khalsa Diwan Society to be used as a gurdwara. After several renovations to the original temple, the society purchased two lots on Wood Street and built a larger temple.

Details about the anniversary celebration can be found on the Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar (Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster) page on Facebook.

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© New West Record
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