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Sikh heritage celebrated
Thousands enjoy rain-free parade
Nevi Bhati stood on the roof of a car on the side of Tierra Buena Road Sunday afternoon dancing to the music and waving as floats passed her by during the 29th annual Sikh Parade in Yuba City.
The 2-year-old was dressed from head to toe in an orange salwar suit. She laughed as her mother, Venu Bhati, 25, pointed to the floats and spoke to her in Punjabi.
Bhati said she and her daughter were visiting Yuba City from the Bay Area. They were joined by several family members, she said with a discernible accent from her native India.
Nearly 80,000 people from all over the state and the country joined the Bhatis to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.
The three-day festival concluded with Sunday's parade that took the holy book around four miles of Yuba City.
The event also included fireworks on Friday and an open house at the temple on Tierra Buena Road on Saturday.
Sunday's parade featured nearly 50 floats from local schools, businesses and Central Valley temples. Each float was designed to depict an event in the Sikh scriptures.
One of those events is known as the "Golden Temple."
The Golden Temple is a famous pilgrimage place for Sikhs in India. During a battle between Sikhs and Muslims in the 1700s, Baba Deep Singh, known as a Sikh martyr, fought to protect the temple from the Muslims.
It is believed during the battle a Muslim cut off Singh's head. Singh, though, continued fighting, holding his head in his hand and his sword in the other. He walked to the temple to place his head on the steps. The spot his head fell is marked in the Golden Temple complex.
Preeti Grewal and members of the Yuba City High School Punjabi American Club recreated the Golden Temple for their float.
"It's a celebration of who we are," Grewal said of the float and the parade.
Many floats donned depictions of the Golden Temple, but the Sikh Student Association decided to go with something different, Ajitpal Singh Dhami said.
Dhami said their float, which is created by Sikhs attending California universities from Chico to Los Angeles, shows the holy book shining its light on Ik Onkar, the symbol meaning "God is one." The artist rendition was etched in glass with a water feature below it.
"It feels great to see everyone come together," Dhami said on the parade route. "It's the biggest gathering in Northern California."
While many walked the parade route, others watched from the street shoulders or stayed at the temple to eat food and shop.
Jag Sidhu, 40, of Live Oak, said he comes every year and is even able to catch up with some friends he'd lost touch with over the years.
"To me it's like a big festival," he said. "But I get to see people I used to know and have not seen in awhile."
Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Andrea Koskey at 749-4709 or email@example.com