Inside the temple of Perth's growing Sikh community 720 ABC Perth By John McGlue and Emma Wynne Perth's Sikh community continues to grow, with up to 500 people going to the temple in Canning Vale every week. 720 ABC Perth's John McGlue visited for Sunday prayers with Sikh association president John Singh. "The Sikh association started in 1975," Mr Singh says. "Initially we held prayers in people's houses once a month, then we started hiring halls. "In 1985, in Banksia Terrace in South Perth we bought a small church, then in 1998 we bought this land in Canning Vale. "Membership is growing pretty fast and now we are looking to expand, and looking at building another temple north of the river." Inside the temple Before entering the temple, worshippers are asked to take their shoes off, make sure their head is covered, wash their hands and bow to the Sikh's holy book, the Guru Graṅth Sāhi, before sitting and listening to the prayers. "The prayer hall is supposed to have four doors which means it is open to people in all directions," explains John Singh. "At the centre is the holy book. It is the teachings of the gurus but also some Hindu and Muslim teachings in there. "As we walk there, we bow, not to the book itself but to the thoughts in the book." Another part of every Sikh temple, John Singh explains, is the dining room. "If somebody comes to your house as a visitor you always invite them to share your meal. "We don't charge, everything is free. We have to be very charitable and help the poor. "It is all vegetarian, we don't serve any meat. "The rules at the temple are no smoking, no meat and no alcohol." The Sikh religion Satwant Singh, a former president of the Sikh Association, explains the origins of the Sikh religion, and of the turban which he says comes from their last guru Gobind Singh and which all Sikh men should wear. "It signifies that we are Sikhs and we respect all the gurus and all who fought and drove the Mughals out of India. "They fought valiantly and out of respect of all the people who laid their lives for the Sikhs we wear the turban." The Sikh religion, he says, dates from 1469. "That was the birth of the first guru, Guru Nanak. He came in and his first message was that everybody is equal," he says. "God for him is the souls of everything, not just equality of gender, races but even between animals and inanimate things, everything is the existence of God. "He was followed by a further nine Gurus. The last guru, Guru Gobind Singh, gave us our present traditions. "That's why we have a turban and we keep full beards and we also carry a little sword. "The writings of the gurus were kept in a book. We call it the Guru Graṅth Sāhib and when he passed away he said that was it - you have all the spiritual knowledge you want, it has been written by the gurus in this book and just follow it. "When we go into the temple we bow in front of the knowledge contained in the book."