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This Press Release may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-10-08-2009-00.htm

Press Release: 10th Aug 2009,          30th Saavan (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi )

Press Release

Miri Piri Campers Visit Maharaja Dalip Singh’s Former House

London, UK – On 2nd August 2009, Miri Piri campers marched up to see the former home of Maharaja Dalip Singh at 53 Holland Park, singing “We are Mighty Khalsa, Mighty Mighty Khalsa, Everywhere We go, People Want to Know , Who We Are, So We tell Them.”

The campers were on their way to a picnic at Holland Park on the second day of UNITED SIKHS’ Miri Piri weekend camp that was hosted by the Central Gurdwara London, the oldest Gurdwara in Europe, also known as the Shepherd’s Bush Gurdwara.

My Family and I came from Greenwich to take part in this Camp, once we got there we realised that other people had come from a distance too. Other participants came from Essex, Berkshire, Middlesex, Birmingham, Hitchin and Wolverhampton, to name but a few. There were a wide age range for participants, there was no age limit so everyone was welcome.

After Registration we all sat down and did Jap Ji Sahib led by Bibi Sukhi Kaur, which was followed by Ardaas and Hukamnama which was lead by Bhai Amardeep Singh. We were divided in two groups - for 7 – 11 and the other was 12+. Our mum and dad also participated all day and so did the resident Giani Ji . Throughout the day many talks and discussions, led by Butta Singh, Lakhvinder Singh and Amardeep Singh, were given on Sikh Philosophy, Meaning of Khalsa, Sant Sapahi and Miri Piri. These talks were lead by the Sevadaars; Bhai Lakhvinder Singh, Bibi Sukhi Kaur, Bhai Butta Singh and Bhai Amardeep Singh. We learnt the Sikh Martial Art Gatka, which was taught by all the Sevadars led by Butta Singh, Gurjit Singh and Palveer Singh. We were all put into groups and we had a competition to prove who had learnt best. The day was full of spiritual energy as well as fun and we all soon became friends and part of one family.

On the second day of the camp we had a picnic at Holland Park. We marched two-by-two from the Gurdwara which was a 10-minute walk away. On the way, we did the Miri Piri march and sang ‘We are Mighty Khalsa, Mighty Mighty Khalsa’. Enroute we stopped and saw the residence of Maharajah Dalip Singh’s house where he lived for 5 years in the 1800s. It was very grand and impressive and in a very posh street of Holland Park. I could see that our elders looked sad and we learnt why when we read the English Heritage Blue Plaque on the house which read – “The last Maharaja of Lahore”.

In the park we got the chance to play in, what Wikipedia describes as, ‘one of London’s best equipped children’s playground”, whilst the elders laid on the delicious picnic and we explored the beautiful park which included looking for the ‘water feature’ in the Japanese gardens. We took part in a quiz to to test what we had learnt at the camp. We also played football organised by Balwinder Kaur (William) and both teams won (there was no loser) a jute bag full of chocolates and sweets. The prizes were donated by Waryam Singh.

We all got a chance to display our new skills at Gatka in the park as well as sing keertan on what turned out to be a very warm and energetic day, watched by peacocks whose favourite paddock we had occupied all day. The peace and rest from the keertan was most welcome and people stopped to listen to our keertan that was accompanied by an harmonium and tabla.

On both days very tasty langar was prepared by Sarvinder Kaur, Manjeet Singh and Manjeet Kaur, sevadar of the Central Gurdwara. Sira Cash and Carry and Quality foods donated ready to eat snacks and fruit juices (there was no coke to be found) and Harbans Kaur brought home made cookies, sandwiches and pasta. Throughout the day many photographs were taken by our own photographer and camper Jasdeep Kaur.

Overall my family and I found that the camp was very successful and enjoyable and it added meaning to my life as a sikh.

We have been assured by Gurpreet Singh, assistant secretary of the Central Gurdwara who attended the camp with his family, that Gatka classes will take place at the Central Gurudwara so we can continue from what we learnt at the camp and build on our new found friendships. We hope one day there will be a Gatka Akhara at the Central Gurdwara. Next year we hope to attend this Camp again and make it be even more successful than it was this year.

Issued by:
Camper Inderpreet Kaur, Age 14
For more inquiries about the camp you may telephone 07709830442 or email at camp-uk@unitedsikhs.org

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