Thousands Fill Stockton Streets to Celebrate Faith

April 16, 2007

Author: Christian Burkin

Source: The Record

STOCKTON - Downtown streets burst with color and life Sunday afternoon as thousands of Sikhs paraded through Stockton in an annual celebration of the birth of their faith.

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people took part in the parade. As it ribboned through downtown, the front ranks of marchers swept the street ahead of them, preparing the way for the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, which was being carried on a float.

Balkaran Singh Gill, 43, of Lathrop said Stockton is uniquely important to the U.S. Sikh community. It is home to the first Sikh temple, or gurdwara, to be built in the United States.

That first gurdwara, a small, frame house, was purchased in 1912 with donations from Stockton's then-small Sikh community. The current main building was erected in 1929 at 1930 S. Grant St.