Info About Akhand Paths

What is an Akhand Path?

An Akhand Path is the continuous reading of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, to be finished in 72 hours. As a part of this continuous reading, when you begin your reading slot, you continue reading until the next reader replaces you.  (Note:  When reading the Akhand Path, always keep your head covered.)

How do I start reading?
When switching readers the person reading should point to exactly where they are so the next person can easily see. Also, the current and next readers should both overlap some words to ensure that nothing gets skipped and the transition is completely smooth.

Do I need to read at a certain speed?
When doing an Akhand Path with a translated version, it takes 3 days from start to finish. (i.e. reading in English is slower than reading in Gurumukhi).   And of course, people read at different speeds, so the general guideline to keep the Akhand Path ending on time is to read 65 pages per each 1 hour reading period.
On the sign-up sheet there is a page range indicated for each hour. Before starting to read, check the page numbers on the sign-up sheet. If the place you start reading at is ahead or behind,  you can adjust your reading speed accordingly.

What happens when I get to the end of a volume?
In a four-volume set, volume changes usually happen at midnight on the 1st day, 6 p.m. on the  2nd day and 1:00 p.m. on the 3rd day. If you come on the end of a volume during your reading, take the next volume out as smoothly as possible and continue reading without break. (Volumes are usually kept on top up the “manji” behind the current volume being read. or somewhere within reach of the reader.) Put away the volume you were reading from and set up the next volume in front of you.   Be sure to keep reading!

What if the next reader hasn’t arrived yet at the end of my reading time?
To notify the sevadar that there is a problem, ring the bell next to you.
It’s important to keep reading until someone comes to replace you. When the next person comes, point out where are you reading until you hear the next reader has taken over where you are leaving off.

What if I need to tell the person reading something?
If you need to communicate something to a reader:

  • Start reading as if it’s your turn to read
  • Pass the note to the reader
  • The reader understands the message and starts reading again
  • Or if they are required to leave the Akandh Path for some reason, the person who took over reading continues reading until the next reader arrives.

How do I take a Hukam for the Sangat to hear during an Akhand Path? 

  • If reading from a volume of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that has both Gurumukhi and another language, the Granthi (person reading)  can read the hukam in that  language.  Afterwards, if the Granthi prefers to continue to read in Gurmukhi for the rest of their time slot, they can do so once they complete reading the hukam to the sangat.
  • If the Akandh Path is being read from a Gurumukhi only version, or if the Sangat has 2 copies of the translated version, the Granthi can read the hukam in Gurumukhi and then while she continues reading quietly, another person  can read the translation to the Sangat.

Sevadars to Oversee the Akhand Paath
Scheduling sevadars to keep an eye on the Akhand Path is often key to its success.  A sevadar’s duties include:

  • Calling to remind people that they are reading
  • Keeping track of page #s and informing readers if the Akhand Path is getting behind or too far ahead (so the readers can adjust their reading speed to keep on track to end on time)
  • Relieving a reader who needs to go to the bathroom or has some other kind of emergency
  • Relieving a reader if their replacement does not show up and continuing to read until the next reader arrives

Be Prepared for Power Outages
Having a flashlight within reach of the reader is extremely important, just in case the power goes out and they need a back up light.  A flashlight is kept under the manji sahib (the Guru’s bed).

Akhand Path Checklist  

  • Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Rumallas & Chori (Rumallas are the beautiful “clothes” that always cover the Guru; the Chori is that horse hair wisk that we use to spread the vibrations of the SGGS).
  • A powerful lamp for night time reading.
  • All the volumes of the SGGS in the reach of the reader.
  • Sign-up Sheet (plus an optional Sevadar Sign-up Sheet) / pen / clipboard.
  • Clock close to the SGGS.
  • Bell within reach of the reader (best way to ask for help).
  • Flashlight within reach of the reader ( in case the power goes out, you always have a light).
  • A note pad in case someone needs to write a message to the reader.
  • An informational paper with Akhand Path guidelines. You can print the guidelines from our Website.
  • Glasses (sometimes people who use glasses forget to bring them and it’s good to have an extra pair handy)OPTIONAL

Check out our “How to Organize and Akhand Path” video


Are you interested in translating this video into your language?
Please contact us!

For more about Akhand Paths, visit our Akhand Path webpage

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  1. Amandeep Kaur says:

    Why are their no Brown people represented on this page even though Sikhism is practiced by prodominantly Indian folks in America and India?

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