India signed the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Saheb in Pakistan
Indian officials met Pakistan officials at Zero Point near near Dera Baba Nanak in the border district of Gurdaspur to sign the MoU
Gates to Kartarpur Sahab Corridor open on 10 November
Pilgrim charge USD 20
Article contributed by Mahendra K Kothari - Honorary Correspondent, Udaipur Times, Ahmedabad
The nation is celebrating 550th year of birth of Guru Nanakdev. Nationwide celebrations have already begun, as the 550th birthday of Guru falls on 12 Nov 2019. Meanwhile, India signed an agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan recently to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Saheb in Pakistan. Indian officials met Pakistan officials at Zero Point near near Dera Baba Nanak in the border district of Gurdaspur to sign the Memorandum of Understanding. This was eagerly awaited in light of ensuing yearlong celebrations of Guru’s 550th birth year.
The first and founder Guru of Sikhism, Baba Nanak Dev breathed his last at Kartarpur Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev settled in village Dera Baba Nanak of Gurudaspur district after his extensive journeys. Dera Baba Nanak town is a tehsil headquarters in Gurudaspur district of Punjab. Thus, Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahab carries great historical and religious importance.
Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahab
It is believed that Baba Nanak Devji tours included most of South Asia, Tibet and Middle East including Mecca and Baghdad. Guru believed to have left his home at the age of 27 and remained away in all for 31 long years. His journeys in Sikhism is termed as UDASIS. After his long journeys at the age of 53 here in Dera Babab Nanak village he lived for 17 years. The Guru breathed his last on 22 September 1539 at the age of 70 years in the village Pakhoke (now known as Kartarpur Saheb), which is located in Pakistan. A Gurudwara was built in commemoration of the late guru at Pakhoke and the same is named as Kartarpur Sahib.
After partition, the village Dera Baba Nanak remained in India but the holy Gurudwara situated on the other side of river Ravi went to Pakistan. There was constant demand from Sikh pilgrims to allow easy access to this holy place. Amidst mostly poor and uneasy calm between India and Pakistan in recent times, the opening of this corridor may lead to better understanding between two countries.
Construction work at the Kartarpur Sahab Gurudwara
Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can now use this Kartarpur corridor for darshan of holy Gurudwara. Before this arrangement, which is going to be in force from November 10, there was a binocular fitted on the international border, courtesy BSF and pilgrims were allowed to view the holy Gurudwara from Indian side of the border.
Binoculars fitted at International Border to view the Gurudwara
As per the recent agreement the travel shall be visa-free with a permit to be issued based on passport. Kartarpur Sahab Gurudwara will have sufficient provision for langar and distribution of prasadam. For the purpose India and Pakistan both have made all the required infrastructure, including the highway and the passenger terminal buildings. The only disappointing part of this journey is that Pakistan is going to charge USD 20 from every pilgrim. In other words, the entry fee shall be little over Rs. 1400/-. It may be noted that no fee is charged towards entry into a place or religious importance, anywhere in the world. The trip shall be day long and every day maximum 5000 tourists shall be allowed. The corridor will be open throughout the year, except on notified days, which will be informed in advance. Interested pilgrims can book their tickets online at Govt of India website prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in.
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