If you’re going to Saturday’s grand opening of the new Sikh temple in northeast Vancouver, don’t expect to leave with an empty stomach. One of the golden rules of Sikhism is to share your earnings and selflessly serve others. Saturday’s celebration at Guru Ramdass Gurdwara Sahib naturally includes a community meal, known as langar.
People are invited to walk around, enjoy the festivities and break naan bread with the Sikh community. There will be music and readings from the Sikh scriptures at the newly finished temple. Also, the congregation will honor community members and government officials who helped in opening the temple, a process that’s taken nearly a decade.
Spokesman Pawneet Sethi expects the gathering to attract at least 1,000 people with Sikhs traveling from as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, and as far south as Salem, Ore., to take part in the celebration.
At about 21,000 square feet, Guru Ramdass Gurdwara Sahib in Vancouver’s Landover-Sharmel neighborhood is the second largest gurdwara in Washington after Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Renton.
The congregation outgrew its facility at 3600 O St. in the Rose Village neighborhood. After purchasing the site of the shuttered Landover Athletic Club and nearly finishing remodeling the building, it burned in October 2012. Federal investigators determined the fire was not arson.
If you go
What: Guru Ramdass Gurdwara Sahib grand opening.
Where: 13400 N.E. 20th St., Vancouver.
When: 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
More info: Call 360-828-7328; heads of organizations and community groups should RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It took several more years and about $5 million to complete the new gurdwara. Sikh-owned Barrier Construction, based in Burien, was the general contractor.
“We are sincerely grateful to the Divine for pushing our community to the limits and for the strength and motivation to rise from the ashes of the fire in 2012 that destroyed our 95 percent ready to move in facility,” Sarbjeet Teja, the temple’s board chairman, said in a letter.
Sikhism is a fairly new and progressive monotheistic religion that denounces the rigid caste system. Sikhs are often misidentified as Muslims due to the turbans and head scarves they traditionally wear.
The Vancouver gurdwara’s opening coincides with Sikhs worldwide celebrating 550 years of their faith. Founder Guru Nanak was born in 1469.