Heavenly Light Continues To Shine On Richmond’s Highway To Heaven As Holy Visitors Make Their Multi-Faith

By Balwant Sanghera

Richmond’s Highway to Heaven is a very popular place for visitor from all over British Columbia and Canada. Recently, BBC did an excellent piece on it. This story has received wide coverage. Also, our local media in generaland The Link in particular hasbeen veryhelpful in its coverage of the activities along this very special stretch of #5 Road in this community. For this, ,on behalf of the Highway to Heaven Association, I am very thankful to my friend and Link editor R. Paul Dhillon and his team.

India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas (8600, #5 Road in Richmond) has been playing a key role in bringing to-gether people of different faiths in order to promote intercultural and interreligious harmony. With the unfortunate developments in the United States, Canadians need to be more proactive to ensure that racism doesn’t raise its ugly head here. In order to address these issues effectively we need to start working with our children and youth from a very early age. In this context, it is very encouraging to see a lot of educators bringing their students to ourvarious places of worship including Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on a fairly regular basis. This helps the young minds broaden their horizons. Such exposure to different faiths and cultures is bound to create more awareness in them and help them become more well- rounded, broad-minded and productive members of Canadian society.

Usually, these visits start with Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. Here, students want to learn about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community in Canada. Every year grade 12 students from one of our neighbourhood schools-Richmond Christian High School- have special project learning about various religions. Students in different groups visit Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. I consider it as a privilege to share my knowledge with these students who are keen to learn about various religions and communities. Also, they invite me to their school to speak to the entire class towards the end of the school year.Similarly, several Inter-Faith groups from Simon Fraser University visit the Highway to Heaven every year.It is  an honour to act as their guideand share with them the basic principles of Sikhism, the message of universal brotherhood, human rights and equality as preached by our Gurus starting with Guru Nanak Dev ji.These students are very keen to learn not only about Sikhism but also about the contribution of our community to the development of Canada.

Youth with a Mission in Vancouver is another organization that avails itself of our services on a fairly regular basis. Every year they bring in groups of students from different parts of Canada to visit Gurdwara Nanak Niwas and other places of worship. The latest group of students from Alberta (in the group picture) visited the Gurdwara and a few other places on Tuesday, October 17. They were very impressed with the warm welcome and learning about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community inCanada

As mentioned earlier, Gurdwara Nanak Niwas is one of the most popular places for visitors on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven. There are more than 20 places of worship of different religious denominations who serve the visitors with a great deal of enthusiasm… These are excellentexamples of inter-cultural and inter-religious harmony.  Such initiatives gain added significance as we are celebrating the 150 th anniversary of Canada.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.

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