Anandpur Sahib (Punjab): Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday offered prayers at Takht Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib during his one-day visit to Punjab and Chandigarh.

Accompanied by his wife Laureen and a delegation of around 50 people, Harper, dressed in a dark suit and wearing a head-scarf, remained inside the Sikh shrine for nearly 10 minutes. The shrine, the second most important Sikh shrine after the Golden Temple (in Amritsar) and located 80 km from Chandigarh, is famous as the birthplace of the 'Khalsa Panth', the modern-day Sikh religion.

Harper visited the Golden Temple in 2009.It was at Anandpur Sahib on April 13, 1699, that the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, baptised the first five Sikhs (Panj Piaras) and founded the Khalsa. Harper arrived here in an Indian Air Force helicopter from Chandigarh.

The Canadian prime minister later visited the 'Virasat-e-Khalsa' complex, the Sikh heritage museum, near the shrine. Harper, who arrived in Chandigarh Wednesday afternoon from New Delhi, was received at the Chandigarh airport by Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Badal was present with Harper during the visit to the shrine here. Harper is set to leave for Bangalore on Thursday.


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