Vaisakhi is an event celebrating and commemorating the birth of the Sikh Religion. It signifies the time when the 10th Sikh Guru, Shri Guru Gobind Rai Ji Maharaj, created or founded the Khalsa Panth.

The birth of the Khalsa Panth was on 13th April 1699 at Sri Kes Ghar Sahib, Anandpur in India. In response to his call hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country gathered around his divine temporal sect at this hillock near Anandpur in the Himalayan foothills.

He addressed them by explaining with a moving speech, his divine mission of restoring their faith and preserving the Sikh religion for evermore. He asked for 5 true Sikhs who were willing to sacrifice themselves to Him and the Sikh Faith. Nobody came forward as they interpreted his meaning of sacrifice, as meaning with their life (he is shown standing with his sword unsheathed in many pictures depicting this event).

His repeated calls brought forth five volunteers -

Lahore's Daya Ram stepped forward and was immediately led into the Guru Ji's tent. He belonged to the Katri caste. Moments later Guru Gobind Rai emerged carrying a bloody sword.

Hassan Pur's Dharam Chand next stepped forward on Guru Gobind Rai's next call. He was a farmer by occupation and therefore, caste and was led into the tent. Moments later Guru Gobind Rai emerged again, with more blood on his sword. Then came

Saheb Chand (Barber)

Himmat Rai (Water-bearer)

Mokham Chand (Tailor)

Only when the 5th had been "sacrificed" did Guruji reveal that each had not been slain but that the blood on his sword was animal and not human. He had been testing those who called themselves Sikh but did not understand what being a Sikh meant.

He baptized these five calling them His Five Beloved - Panj Piari - and as a sign of humility and placing them above Him, asked them to baptize Him.

In doing so he renamed them as DAYA SINGH, DHARAM SINGH, SAHEB SINGH, HIMMAT SINGH and MOKHAM SINGH and He was renamed as Guru Gobind Singh.

This holy day is thus celebrated with a procession in which the Sangat from Sikh Temples take part and an integral part are the Panj Piari.

Procession of the Panj Piari as part of the Vaisakhi celebrations.
Procession of the Panj Piari going past the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple (Foleshill) as part of the Vaisakhi celebrations.

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5 May 2005