A SIKH place of worship will throw open its doors to mark an ancient festival this weekend.

Worshippers at the Darlington Gurdwara hope the community will join them in celebrating Vasaikhi.

The festival marks the 1699 founding of the Khalsa tradition, based around the teachings of ‘the Five Beloved’.

It celebrates the first five members of the Khalsa tradition, named Compassion, Justice, Empowerment, Stealth and Saahib, meaning ‘master of all’.

The five – who came from different social classes and backgrounds - are said to have battled against tyranny, oppression and social inequality.

It is in their spirit of equality that the Darlington Gurdwara will celebrate this weekend, says Sikh Kulvanth Kaur.

She said: “We invite local residents to join in our celebration which marks our common values of peace, spirituality and oneness with the natural creation.

“At a recent Peace Walk, we had people of all faiths join us at the temple and we would like to build on that.

“The Gurdwara is a place for everybody and we’d welcome anybody who’s curious to come along, along with those who may be needy.

“Traditionally, the Gurdwara plays a big part in the community and in addressing community needs and we want to make it accessible for all.”

The venue, on Louisa Street, is open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 2pm.

In line with Vasaikhi tradition, there will be a flag changing ceremony on Sunday at midday, with tours of the temple and vegetarian food also on offer.

No alcohol, meat or cigarettes can be consumed on the day of the visit.

For more information, email kulvanthk@gmail.com.