ISLAMABAD – Since independence bilateral relationship between Pakistan and India have been facing upheavals which had only made things difficult for tourism in general and religious tourism in particular. People of different faiths across the Indo-Pak border faced many restrictions in visiting their holy sites. Current government of Pakistan, despite the political challenges took the initiative of opening visa free Kartarpur Corridor in 2019 for Sikh pilgrims at the 550th birthday ceremony of Baba Guru Nanak.
The step was lauded all over the world, it provided a unique opening for religious tourism in Punjab. This year at the 552nd birthday anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, around 8,000 pilgrims were expected to visit different Gurdwaras in Punjab.
Punjab has the sacrosanct sites of 5 major religions of the world including Sikhism. It is also the birthplace of Sikhism & its founder Baba Guru Nanak Ji.
Gurdwaras of Sikhism in Punjab are very well preserved upon visiting them. Sikh pilgrims during their pilgrimage (17 Nov-26 Nov) visited Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Janam Asthan, Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib and Sacha Sauda spreading across Punjab. Tourism Department and security officials have done an outstanding job in facilitating Sikh pilgrims with top notch services & security.
Gurpurab also known as Guru Nanak Jayanti is the holiest festival in Sikhism which marks the birthday ceremony of Sikhism’s founder, born in 1469, Nankana Sahib.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and Gurdwara Janam Asthan had been witnessed large numbers of devotees throughout the pilgrimage.
Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib marks the birthplace while Gurdwara Darbar Sahib marks the resting place of Baba Guru Nanak. Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi along with a high-level delegation also visited Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and were impressed by the facilities being provided.
“The long-pending ardaas [prayer] of Sikh Sangat has been fulfilled and now we can pay reverence at this holy shrine without any hindrance” CM said.
Religious tourism in Punjab has enormous potential monasteries, temples, cathedrals, mosques & shrines and gurdwaras in the province have historical sanctity for devotees from around the world.
It is extremely important that provincial government ensures the preservation, infrastructural development and proper marketing of these sites. Governmental interventions with the collaboration of private sector can contribute in inclusive growth of the sector. Experts from private sector can provide first-hand knowledge in capacity building & in chalking out an implementable plan for short, medium and long terms goals.
Interventions such as Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth (PTEGP) can play a vital role in improving the visitors’ experience at the sacred sites by providing infrastructure services. PTEGP is improving quality of roads to offer smoother connectivity to sacred sites of all religions in the province. Installation of signboards, directional boards and information boards at all sites by PTEGP is also a welcoming step.
Sikh pilgrimage of sacred sites in Punjab has concluded after an eventful & pleasing experience for Sikh community around the globe which is a great sign for tourism sector of Punjab. Hopefully, in post Covid-19 conditions, many more tourists will visit the diverse land of Punjab and witness its warm hospitality.
Leave a Reply