Kartarpur Sahib is a gurudwara in Shakar Garh, Narowal District, in the Punjab that is a province of Pakistan. To be precise, the town on the west side of the river. The village Kartarpur is also near the western banks of the river Ravi. In this place, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent his last 18 years of life. The gurudwara memorizes, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 – 1539), the first Sikh Guru. This year “Prakash Purb” celebrated on 12th November, the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The religion of Sikhism was founded by the first of the ten Sikh Guru.
What Guru Nanak Dev Ji said to their followers?
One of the most critical and essential learning that Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught us that “always remember god, work hard, help everyone and always share your knowledge and food with everyone.”
People believe that Guru Nanak Dev Ji started the Langar or free Kitchen from here and served food to everyone. This Gurudwara works on the principle of equality between all people despite culture, religion, caste, or gender. Langar is the specialty of all gurudwara in all over the world.
Sri Guru Nanak was a teacher and founder of the Sikhism community. So for everyone who follows Sikhism, Kartarpur Sahib is a holy and divine place. In this place, everyone finds peace and harmony. Before some time, visiting this shrine was not an easy task because of a 70 years old dispute.
Scenario soon after the death of Guru Nanak Ji
When Sri Guru Nanak Ji died after that, there was a dispute between Hindu and Muslims. Hindu saw them as there Guru, and Muslims claimed him as their Pir. Thus Muslims wanted to bury him, and Hindus wanted to cremate his body. But according to some facts, the body of Guru Nanak has turned into flowers automatically and then flowers equally divided into both the communities
Hence from the last 70 years, the Sikh from the Indian community was continually trying to arrange a visa-free border crossing. They were also requesting the Indian government to secure the corridor that can directly connect to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, aka Kartarpur Sahib. But due to some political pressure and land dispute, the arrangement was not able to happen.
For the people of Pakistan, it was not difficult to visit the shrine, from Lahore the bus was available directly to the shrine. Before some time if Indian people wanted to visit the shrine they needed to go Lahore first. But not every time people obtain a visa, so it was a difficult task for all pilgrims.
Until now, the Sikh community people in India view the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib through binoculars as the place is one of the biggest and spiritual shrines for the Sikh community. Though the pilgrim can be considered from the Indian border, thus many people come to see and take blessing from the border portion itself, as the dispute was not solved.
Also read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Punjab
The Kartarpur Corridor & Political Controversy
Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is a road link connectivity through which the Sikh pilgrimage can visit the Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. But from 70 years the government from both sides was not able to solve, both the countries have their dispute related to land and its acquisition. The Kartarpur Sahib is just 4 Km away from Dera Baba Nanak that is located in India, but from Lahore, it is 120 Km. And for the Indian community to view appropriately and the elephant grasses which grows on infertile land have been cut down regularly so that everyone can see Kartarpur Sahib through binoculars correctly.
In 1999 the first proposal to make a corridor between India and the desired shrine was planned and discussed. In those days the Prime Minister Of India was Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he traveled to Pakistan through the bus, in that era, the first proposal was asked, and everyone was happy and agreed that the corridor should be created. But due to the political issues and disagreement, the project was not finished and accepted.
Some important things about Corridor
Again in 2004, the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, stated a statement that a road link between Amritsar-Lahore-Kartarpur should be created so that everyone can visit. But even then, the request was not accepted from both countries. The real reason is the partition era in which both the countries were divided through a red cliff line due to which the shakargarh district was transferred to the Pakistan region, and Gurdaspur district was transferred to India. Even after partition, people traveled to Karatar Sahib through the pool that was on the Ravi river, which was connected between Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib but in 1965 when India and Pakistan had war the bridge was eradicated.
So from 1948 the appeal and proposal for the new link road and a corridor was constantly appearing but due to improper communication between both the countries, this was never accomplished. Different states and especially Punjab was continually voting for the development of the project but was never achieved.
Some attempts were made for Kartarpur Sahib
The first step was when the Indian foreign minister talked to Pakistan’s commission regarding this matter. The entire discussion took several months, and some exchange of documents and records rectified the truth and background of the whole conflict. Indian community said the pilgrims should allow to travel to their shrine across the country and elsewhere in Pakistan. But Pakistan and their commission were not satisfying with the protocol of and its terms and conditions, so the country had rejected it.
Then in 2005, when the protocol changed again, modified, and released, the name of Kartarpur Sahib, removed from the list of places in the contract. The attempt to modify the list and talk to the commission did in 2008, but nothing had changed. After so many trials and efforts, the entire matter was still hanging. The Sikh community lost all sorts of hope and belief.
Finally, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Corridor
The current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi also raised this topic in a cabinet meeting in 2018. After so many attempts and meetings the Indian government finally got success on 9 November 2019.
Prime Minister made All the necessary clearances, approvals, and authorizations instantly. He also said, “a corridor should be developed between Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Corridor”. After that Indian Vice-President and Chief Minister of Punjab put a foundation stone in Gurdaspur district to start the work. After seeing this, Pakistan also decided to start the project and approved all the necessary permission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kartarpur Corridor On 9 November 2019. He also visited the Kartarpur sahib with a bunch of delegates. After many efforts, the Indian Government has succeeded in facilitating pilgrimage of the devotee to Sri Kartarpur Sahib. Pakistan’s government has allowed 5000 pilgrims per day. The tourism department of Punjab has opened a new motel in Nanak Sahib for the pilgrims.
Also read: Top Ten Historical Places In India
Some of the general instructions for pilgrims while visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib:
- Registration for all pilgrims is necessary who wants to visits Sri Kartarpur Sahib.
- An applicant should be registered in advance.
- An applicant whose registration form gets accepted will be informed four days before the intended date. So all the arrangements should be made in advance.
- All the pilgrims will go in the morning, and return in the evening. No allowance of going elsewhere.
- A valid passport is necessary for every applicant.
- The candidate should take all scanned documents and photos. All visitors need to input the correct and accurate information in the registration form.