Smashing way to mark Sikh festival

These Sikh devotees are performing Gatka, a traditional martial art form, during celebrations to mark the 414th anniversary of the installation of the holy book of Sikhs, in Amritsar, India, on Monday.

According to The Hindustan Times, the Punjab government declared a holiday on Monday in the state for the first time.

This was done to commemorate the anniversary of the day in 1604 when Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, installed the religious book Guru Granth Sahib at the holiest Sikh place of worship, the Golden Temple.

In Gatka, wooden sticks are tra-ditionally used to simulate swords in sparring matches, although several other weapons are also used nowadays.

Historically associated with the Sikh gurus and popular among the masses, the martial art form is now being recognised as a sport across India, reported The Hindustan Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'Smashing way to mark Sikh festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe