These include swords, palkis, decorative goods and cloths; a large collection of such material attracts visitors from around the world
Being the axis of Sikhism, the holy city of Amritsar offers a range of religious material including swords, palkis, decorative goods and cloths around the Golden Temple complex. A large collection of such material attracts visitors from around the world. The city is famous for such religious material and Sikhs from around the world prefer to buy these goods from Amritsar. The manufacturing units of these holy goods also contribute to the local economy. Tribune reporter Charanjit Singh Teja and lensman Sunil Kumar together bring out this informative piece.
Kakars (five Ks): Amritsar is one of the major markets in the world for Sikh articles. The Kakars — physical symbols worn by Sikhs who have been initiated into the Khalsa — are always in demand. A large number of manufacturing units of Kirpans (swords), Kara (bracelets), Kanga (wooden comb) and Kachera (cotton underwear) are established in the city.
Shastar (weaponry): In Sikhism, Shastar commonly refers to the weaponry used by the ancient Sikh warriors or collections and display of ancient, modern and ceremonial weaponry. Sikhism has a martial tradition dating back to the time of Guru Hargobind. Khalsa warriors fought using a wide variety of Shastar weaponry.
Kanga – a wooden comb: The Kanga is also included in the Sikh Kakara. Every baptised Sikh keeps Kanga in his hair 24×7 following the Sikh code. This symbolises a clean mind and body, since it keeps the uncut hair neat and tidy. Hand-made wooden Kangas are always in demand.
Kara – a steel bracelet: It is included in the five Kakaras which are essential to wear for every Sikh. People wear it on wrists. Preferably, people wear iron bracelets but the range of stainless steel and designer bracelets is available in the market. Kara acts as a reminder that a Sikh should not do anything which the Guru would not approve. Non-Sikhs also buy these bracelets during their visit to Amritsar.
Kachera: Kachera cotton underwear which is also part of the Sikh code.
Simrana: Sikhs use it for meditation. Meditators wear it on the wrist and use it for counting the repetition of Waheguru Gurmantar. Youngsters wear it as a fashion trend as some Punjabi singers and actors wear it in movies and music videos. Simrana is in high demand nowadays.
Dhal (Shield): It is used to protect the body and deflect enemy weapons. However, in modern times, Sikhs display swords and shield in Gurdwara in front of Guru Granth Sahib. Shields of metal, wood and leather are available in the markets.
Models: A range of replicas of the Golden Temple is available in the market around the shrine. Several local artists and traders are involved in this business. Models of Golden Temple are exported to several foreign countries.
Chaur Sahib (Royal Whisk): Chaur was used by the kings during the monarchy era. For Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is the true king. They do Chaur (move it left to right) during the daily prayer. Amritsar offered high-quality whisks especially manufactured for the Guru. Sometimes, the Chaur Sahib was made from peacock feathers.
Chandoa (royal umbrella): For high respect of Guru Granth Sahib, Chandoa (royal umbrella) is also used to cover the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib. Women buy the Chandoa at a shop.
Palki Sahib: The Palki Sahib (or Manji Sahib) elevates the Guru Granth Sahib above the Sangat in religious gatherings. A number of manufacturing units make these palkis around the Golden Temple. They decorate these palkis by carving silver and golden sheets.