This gurudwara in Ulhasnagar uses headphones to keep chaliya hushed

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This gurudwara in Ulhasnagar uses headphones to keep chaliya hushed
This gurudwara in Ulhasnagar uses headphones to keep chaliya hushed

Those resisting the government’s efforts to curb noise pollution caused by religious celebrations could do with a page out of Amritvela Gurudwara’s book. To not disturb the neighbourhood with its ‘chaliya’, the gurudwara in Ulhasnagar, near Mumbai, will be conducting the programme using bluetooth heaphones.

Sikhs congregate to sing devotional songs in the wee hours of morning in the Chaliya, which begins 40 days before Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday. The Amritvela Gurudwara holds the programme, called Sikh Bhakti Sangeet, in Gole Maidan between 3 am and 5 am, and close to 10,000 people take part in it. As many as two lakh devotees participate in the congregations that span the entire period by the chaliya, which ends with a big celebration.

For the past two years, they have been distributing bluetooth headphones so that devotees are free to move around, and yet listen to the Gurbani and sermons.

“Earlier, we used to conduct the satsang over loudspeakers,” says Hoshiar Singh Labana of the Amritvela Pariwar, “This would disturb the residents, as the locality is densly populated. So we introduced headphones and now people come to see this novel practice. We also use instruments that make a softer sound.”

Devotees also welcome the innovation. “We enjoy the same experience we would get through a loudspeaker. We are happy with the use of technology,” a disciple says. “The effort has helped notably in reducing noise pollution and its definitely an example to others,” says another devotee.

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