Kartarpur, a town located in Punjab, was founded by Guru Nanak – the first guru of Sikhism – in 1504 AD. There he resided for nearly ten years and established the first Sikh commune. After he passed away in 1539 AD, the areas where Guru Nanak stayed became a sacred land for his followers. Unfortunately, after the Partition in 1947, a blockade was created for Sikhs residing on both sides of the border. Travelling to Pakistan from India and vice versa became a tough task – till the construction of the Kartarpur corridor.
From November 9, 2019, the town will be welcoming winds of change as pilgrims from India will be allowed to pass through the corridor every day to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur. With the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak coming up, there couldn’t have been a better time to visit the town. Here’s why Kartarpur is significant to the culture and history of Pakistan
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, was initially employed as a steward by a local Muslim nobleman in the town of Sultanpur Lodhi. His mind, however, was preoccupied by spiritual thoughts and he often spent long hours meditating. One day while bathing in the Vein river, the Guru went missing, only to emerge out of the water three days later with a glorious message: “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim.
Armed with a message of love for humanity, the spiritualist set out on a journey to Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage sights all over the world. At the end of his travels, he purchased a land in Kartarpur near the Ravi river. There he spent his remaining life as a guide and preacher of peace and harmony.
Guru Nanak is respected in numerous religions and communities for the divine message he was preaching. The following three institutions formed his message:
Sangat: The holy fellowship which propagates that we all belong to one spiritual fraternity.
Dharamsala: The original form of Sikh worship places and religious asylums where people gathered to praise the lord.
Langar: The communal meal which propagated people of all castes and social strata’s to consume a meal together without pride or prejudice. The aim was to eliminated social differences by promoting oneness.
Why Kartarpur is important to Sikhs
Kartarpur is home to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. The town also houses the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib – the first Sikh temple ever built. The famous Sikh temple is presumed to be the place where Guru Nanak died.
According to legend, when Nanak passed away, his Hindu and Muslim followers placed fresh flowers under the sheet covering his body. When they lifted the sheet days later, the flowers were still fresh. The Hindus then took their flowers and cremated them while the Muslims buried their flowers.
Due to this cultural standing, Indian Sikhs often gather in large numbers on the other side of the border to obtain darshan (viewing) of the site.
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