Nankana Sahib: Thousands of Sikhs from across the globe have converged in Nankana Sahib, Punjab to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of their religion.
What makes the occasion special this year is that it also marks the opening of Kartarpur border crossing between India and Pakistan.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over occupied Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations signed a landmark agreement last week, to operationalize the corridor allowing Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Sikh shrine.
The three-day event will be held from November 10-12 in the Punjab district — the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak- located around 80km from Lahore.
It will coincide with a separate event in the border town of Kartarpur, which also houses a historic Gurdwara – Sikh house of worship, where Guru Nanak settled and died in 1539. The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims from India can visit this shrine daily without showing travel permits.
“Over 7,000 Sikhs from different parts of the world have already gathered in Nankana Sahib, while thousands more are expected to join us, in the next couple of days,” Sardar Gopal Singh, a Pakistani Sikh community leader said.
“We are very excited not only because it is our prime occasion, but also because of the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing,” Singh said, adding that the festival would give Pakistani Sikhs an opportunity to see their near and dear ones from across the world.