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The stunning beauty of Golden Temple in the thin early morning fog combined with the hymn recitation on the loud speakers is a unique, ‘one of a kind’ spiritual experience. Celebrations are for a period of 3 days. During the first two days Akhand Paath (a non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, sikhs’ holy book) is held in all the gurdwaras. The day prior to the birthday, a procession is taken out on the streets. The procession carries the sikh flag called Nishan Sahib and the Paalki (Palanquin) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is one of the cultural highlights of this festival. The Golden Temple procession includes singers, brass bands, ‘Gatka’ teams (martial artists) who display their swordsmanship and hundreds of devotees. The entire city of Amritsar is decorated & lit up and Harmandir Sahib itself is transformed into a heavenly abode. It is a wonderfully managed event - the streets and Golden Temple were kept absolutely spic and span by both, authorities and devotees. Drinking & smoking are strictly forbidden, not only inside Harmandir Sahib but also anywhere within the site.