AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—On the eve of the beginning of the new lunar year on March 14, hundreds of thousands of devotees thronged to the holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandir Sahib to receive blessings of Guru Sahib. According to the amended Nanakshahi calendar, this was the beginning of the 553rd Nanakshahi year.
Due to the large rush within Sri Harmandir Sahib complex, devotees had to wait for several hours in long queues to get their turn for paying obeisance inside the sanctum sanctorum.
It is pertinent to note here that seasonal changes in the Indian sub-continent occur as per the lunar months.
A lunar year remains 10-12 days shorter than a solar due to which mapping lunar and solar calendars become an impossible task.
As the Sikh scriptures portray dates of Gurpurabs according to lunar year so the dates of Gurpurabs keep on changing on the prevalent calendar based on the solar year.
The basic Nanashahi calendar prepared by Pal Singh Purewal had fixed the dates of several Gurpurabs while trying to comply Nanakshahi calendar with the prevalent Gregorian calendar based on the solar year. After imposing this calendar in 2003, the SGPC kept on celebrating several Gurpurabs on fixed dates like Parkash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh on January 5.
However, the SGPC amended this calendar in 2016 after which the dates of Gurpurabs started changing on the Gregorian calendar and controversy erupted over this issue.
Amendment in the basic Nanakshahi calendar caused a vertical division in the Sikh community. Unlike SGPC, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee celebrates Gurpurabs as per the basic Nanakshahi calendar due to which the visas of Sikh pilgrims often get rejected by the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi.