Lahore: Over 240 Sikh pilgrims from India visited the revered Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan using the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor on Friday to take part in the main ceremony in connection with the 552nd birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The pilgrims used the Kartarpur Corridor on the third day of the reopening of the route which was suspended for some 20 months following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The main ceremony in connection with the 552nd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev was held at Gurdwara Janaasthan Nankana Sahib, some 80 kilometers from Lahore, on Friday.
Over 2,500 Sikhs from India, who arrived here through the Wagah border, and a large number of local pilgrims participated in the ceremony.
Celebrations also included the Nagar Kirtan’ procession and a Palki’ procession was taken out from Janamasthan which was moved to the other eight gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri was the chief guest at the ceremony in Nankana Sahib.
Langar (community feast) was arranged for all pilgrims as dozens of Sikh women chopped vegetables, kneaded flour, and made bread in the gurdwara kitchens. Kar Seva is considered a religious duty in the Sikh faith.
At Kartarpur, Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), along with a delegation visited the temple.
A total of 242 Indians, including deputy chief minister of Punjab and Jagir Kaur, visited Kartarpur Sahab today, Kartarpur Corridor Project Management Unit chief executive officer Muhammad Latif told PTI.
They performed religious rituals. On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, along with 37 people including his Cabinet ministers, visited the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
Opposition Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a statement that it was the late Benazir Bhutto who had first given the proposal of building a visa-free Kartarpur Corridor.
Today we need more interfaith harmony, Bilawal said and welcomed Sikhs in Pakistan on this occasion.
Wishing 552nd Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti to all Sikhs around the world. On this auspicious occasion, we welcome thousands of Sikhs to visit their religious sites in Pakistan. I reiterate my govt’s commitment to continue facilitating them to perform their religious rituals, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet.
The over four-kilometer-long Kartarpur corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.
Pilgrimage to the gurdwara was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian government reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from its side on Wednesday.
In November 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion’s holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a visa.
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