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Sikh pilgrims attend a groundbreaking ceremony Kartarpur Corridor to be set up between India and Pakistan in Kartarpur, Pakistan, 28 November 2018. (AAP)

The corridor will connect the Sikh Holy shrine of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Indian Punjab to the holy shrine of Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, spent 18 years of his life.

By
Talib Haider
Published on
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 16:59
File size
14.57 MB
Duration
7 min 57 sec

Every year Sikhs make the pilgrimage to the founder of Sikh religion’s resting place in Pakistan. Now, the opening of the corridor between the two countries will result in the reduction of journey time from between two and four days to a single day.

The opening will connect the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of India.

Speaking to SBS Urdu, the National Sikh Council of Australia’s Secretary, Bawa Singh Jagdev, OAM said that Sikhs are extremely happy at this historic occasion. 

“It’s time for celebration!" he said. "On behalf of myself, the Sikh Council and all the Sikhs in Australia, I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government for opening the Kartarpur corridor.

“Kartarpur is a Mecca for Sikhs. Every Sikh wishes to make a pilgrimage to the holy place and visit Baba Guru Nanak’s Shrine at least once in his or her lifetime.

"It carries a lot of significance as it is opening on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev. Several thousand Sikh pilgrims will visit Pakistan to celebrate the birthday.” 

Significance to Sikhs

Mr Jagdev said that it was not just Sikhs who followed the Sikh religion founder but Muslims, too, were also inspired by him and respected him, calling him ‘Baba Nanak.’

“Kartarpur means ‘the house of God’. This is the place where Baba Guru Nanak preached his followers," said Mr Jagdev.

Corridor opening to help Sikhs pilgrims

Mr Jagdev said currently it takes about two to four days to make the whole journey and it becomes difficult for people to plan and visit the shrine.

“If you have to visit Kartarpur or you visited the place in recent times, the journey takes a few days which is not possible for everyone.

"If the corridor opens, the whole visit will only take a day. We are absolutely ecstatic about this initiative and would like to thank the government of both the countries."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the first visa-free border crossing with India. The crossing, known as the Kartarpur corridor is a rare sign of cooperation between the two nuclear-armed rival countries.  

Sikh community in Australia

Mr Jagdev told SBS Urdu that every year many Sikhs go to Pakistan and visit the shrine.

“I have gone to Pakistan twice in recent times and made the pilgrimage. I will be visiting the place again soon. There will be many Sikhs from Australia this time too who go and celebrate the birth anniversary.”

Opening of corridor and Pak-India relationship

The opening of Kartarpur is something historical, says Mr Jagdev, and hopes it could actually change the relationship between the two countries.

“We will see people from both sides coming and there will be communication. This might actually result in the old friendship that existed between Pakistan and India previously.

It is my wish and my belief that in the coming decades, no difference will remain between the two countries.”

Earlier Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu along with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, laid the foundation of Kartarpur corridor at Dera Baba Nanak, district Gurdaspur in India.

India will construct its side of the road while Pakistan will construct the corridor road in its area.

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