After years of back and forth, delays and a final agreement, the Kartarpur Corridor, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, was opened on Saturday.
Once the pilgrim enters from India into Pakistan, they would walk or take a 370-metre bus ride to get to the border terminal. At the border terminal, they will first be required to pay a $20 fee first to the National Bank of Pakistan officials in exchange for a slip. Next, they will go to one of the 76 counters, get their fingerprints scanned, and be given an RFID , which is required for entry into the gurudwara.
Once they are through with the process of RFID and immigration, the pilgrim will have the option to walk 4 kilometres from the terminal to the gurudwara or take the electric carts which are provided by the government of Pakistan. The registration takes around 3-5 minutes.
The corridor is entirely fenced from both sides, and entry for Pakistani and Indian pilgrims is separate. Pakistani pilgrims are required to carry their Computerised National Identity Card (CNICs). The Indian pilgrims going to Pakistan after seeking a visa under the 1974 bilateral protocol would be entering from terminal one i.e. utilizing the same terminal from where Pakistan pilgrims or other nationals would be entering.
All pilgrims would be issued an RFID which will be their entry and exit ticket from the Gurudwara.
The Gurudwara complex
The complex has been extended more than 10 times of its original size, from four acres to 42 acres (making it the biggest Sikh pilgrimage site in the world).
The complex includes:
mehman khana of 115,880 sqft that has 20 dormitories, 40 family rooms and facility to host over 900 pilgrims intending to stay over night.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib - a history
The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak spent his final 18 years preaching and farming in Kartarpur village in Pakistan. The gurudwara that was built there after his death was destroyed by floods and then rebuilt in the 1920s by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh — the grandfather of current Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
The proposal to open up the corridor was first presented to Pakistan by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, although Pakistan claims it had prepared the blueprint in the early 1990s.
However, it was Pakistan's current PM Imran Khan who took the initiative to make it a reality. The Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cooperated and both sides opened it up for Sikh pilgrims around the world.
First Published: IST