Baisakhi: Over 1,900 Sikh pilgrims cross over to Pakistan

After visiting Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib, the Sikh jatha will return to India on April 21


Chandigarh: A total of 1,949 Sikh pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan via Attari-Wagah border to celebrate Baisakhi. The festival is also marked as the Khalsa Foundation Day.

Before their departure, the SGPC members who are leading the jatha were honored with “siropas” (robe of honor) at the Golden Temple.

After crossing over to Pakistan, the jatha members were received by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Ameer Singh, other members and office-bearers of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

From the Wagah, the pilgrims left for Gurdwara Panja Sahib in train where functions are being organized to mark the occasion.

The Pakistan government has made arrangements to host Indian pilgrims who will stay in the neighboring country till 20 April and will return on April 21 after visiting various other historic gurdwaras.

One of the leaders of jatha, Ravinder Singh Khalsa, said: “The pilgrims who are part of the Sikh jatha are fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the holy shrines in Pakistan.”

After participating in the main congregation of “Khalsa Sajna Diwas” (Baisakhi) at Panja Sahib on April 14, the jatha will depart for Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak.

After paying obeisance at Nankana Sahib on April 15, the jatha will reach Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Sahib on April 16. Following this, the Sikh jatha will visit Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore, on April 17 and 18 and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, on April 19 and Gurdwara Rorhi Sahib at Eminabad on April 20.

Baisakhi is the spring season harvest. Apart from marking the beginning of the New Year, the festival also commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. It is widely celebrated in Punjab and other parts of North India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to fellow citizens on the occasion of Baisakhi- which is the New Year day for the Sikh community. Taking it to Twitter, Modi said, “May the auspicious festival of Baisakhi bring happiness and prosperity in everyone’s lives.”

Expressing gratitude towards the country’s farmers, Modi said the festival has a special link with nature and our hardworking farmers. “May our fields flourish and may it inspire us to care for our planet,” the Prime Minister wrote on the micro-blogging site.

However, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, low key celebrations will mark Baisakhi in accordance with all government-mandated protocols.

In Punjab’s capital Chandigarh, only 50 per cent occupancy will be allowed in gurdwaras and devotees without masks will not be allowed to enter. Langar will be served at all gurdwaras of Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, there will be no special events at gurdwaras.

Image courtesy of (Photos: HT, Twitter)

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