ISLAMABAD: Following the upgradation of Hassanabdal Railway Station, the relevant authorities have decided to bring all Sikh pilgrims from Lahore to their holy city by train to celebrate Baisakhi on Saturday (today).

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2,843 visas to Sikh pilgrims who would participate in the annual festival scheduled from April 13-22.

After entering through Wagah border, the pilgrims will be hosted by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) which has hired a train from the Pakistan Railways to bring them directly to Hassanabdal.

Taking to Dawn, ETPB Chairman Arshad Farid Khan said the board had completed all arrangements for the Baisakhi Mela, and for the first time pilgrims coming from India would use rail transport instead of buses.

“This will make the journey more safe and comfortable for the guests,” Mr Khan said, adding that the ‘technical branch’ of the ETPB had renovated accommodations and other facilities in Hassanabdal.

It is expected that around 10,000 Sikh pilgrims will converge on Punja Sahib shrine in Hassanabdal where they will celebrate Baisakhi festival. The pilgrims will also be coming from the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and from different cities of Pakistan.

All arrangements, including accommodation, security, transport and medical needs, for the pilgrims are being managed by the ETPB.

The Indian pilgrims will be housed in hostels managed by the board while those from other countries will stay in various colleges and schools.

Baisakhimarks the first day of the month of Vaisakh in the local calendar. This year it will be celebrated on April. It is not only the spring festival in the region but also marks the founding anniversary of ‘Khalsa’.

Baisakhi is also the formal founding day of Sikhism as established by Guru Gobind Singh - the 10th Guru of the Sikhs.

During their stay, pilgrims would visit Gurdwara Punja Sahib, Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Those from India will also visit Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sucha Sauda in Sheikhupura district, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Gujaranwala and Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore, before departing from Wagah border. However, those arriving from other countries can alter their schedules.

The Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November, Baisakhi in April, Kartarpur Sahib as well as the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in June and July. Many arrive at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...