Sahib Singh, one of the `Panch Pyares' of Sikhism, was born in Bidar. That is why it attracts devotees from far and wide, he says. The gurudwara trust runs a hospital and a free canteen for tourists.
`Nishan Sahib,' the flag of Sikhism, which is treated as a symbol of the gurus, enjoys a special place during the celebrations of Guru Nanak Jayanti. Every year, hundreds of flags are brought from various gurudwaras in the country. Devotees from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh walk along with the Nishan Sahib and take turns to carry it to Bidar. The faithful start reading sacred texts on the eve of Kartik Purnima. The chanting of songs and couplets goes on till 2.30 a.m., when firecrackers are burst to celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak. People take a dip at Amrit Kund, a small artificial pond in front of the gurudwara. They join in the singing of bhajans. Next day, they take out a procession in town.
"Bidar has come to be known as the Amritsar of the South and has become a compulsory stopover for Sikh tourists," says Bidar-based businessmen and gurudwara volunteer Manpreet Singh Khanuja. "It draws not only Sikhs living in different parts of the country, but also people of other faiths. The State Government needs to promote Bidar as an important tourist destination and provide more facilities," Mr. Khanuja said.