Bandi Shor Divas (Prisoner Release Day)

Sikhs celebrate Bandi Shor Divas (Liberation Day), which coincides with the Hindu festival of Diwali. On 12 November this year, Sikhs around the world will celebrate the day of liberation. This year, a Touchstone colleague has shared some information about what Bandi Shor Divas is.

Historical Background

Guru Har Gobind Sahib, the sixth Guru of Sikhs, was unjustly imprisoned by Emperor Jahangir due to political influence and power control. In captivity however, Guru Har Gobind Sahib popularity increased further still, as he continued to inspire with teachings of peace, justice, and equality, through meditation and concepts of oneness.

The Path to Freedom                                                                                   

After several years of imprisonment, the emperor finally agreed to release Guru Har Gobind Sahib. However, the Guru refused to leave alone, demanding that the 52 kings imprisoned with him be freed as well. On this day, Guru ji led 52 captive kings to freedom. This act of compassion and justice demonstrated the Guru’s commitment to the welfare and freedom of all.

Celebrating Freedom Lighting Up the Darkness

On the day of Bandi Shor, Sikhs illuminate their homes and Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) with thousands of candles/lights. This vibrant display symbolises the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. The festival creates a joyous atmosphere as people come together to celebrate the liberation of their beloved Guru.

Significance and Traditions Prayers and Devotion

Bandi Shor is a time for Sikhs to offer prayers and express their gratitude for the Guru’s liberation and that of other innocents. Sikhs visit Gurdwaras and participate in prayers and listen to Guru ji’s history and teachings. Focusing on remembering the duty of upholding the rights of freedom for all. This spiritual connection strengthens the faith and unity of the Sikh community.

Fireworks and firecrackers are an integral part of Bandi Shor celebrations too. The loud explosions and colourful displays represent the joy felt by Sikhs upon the Guru ji’s release from captivity.


Bandi Shor is a festival that embodies the spirit of liberation and freedom. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by Guru Har Gobind Sahib and the endearing values of Sikhi. Through the lighting of lamps, fireworks, prayers, and acts of kindness, Sikhs come together to celebrate their faith and express gratitude for the Guru’s release from imprisonment. Let us all embrace the message of Bandi Shor and strive for a world where freedom, justice, and equality prevail for all.