India to build Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, which is presently located in Pakistan, has a special place in Sikh history as it is where Guru Nanak breathed his last in 1539.

Kartarpur Sahib, located just across the International Border, is the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev and one of the holiest shrines of Sikhs. (PTI File Photo for representation)

India on Thursday announced the development of a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur to the International Border to facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river in Pakistan.

The Gurdwara, which is presently located in Pakistan, has a special place in Sikh history as it is where Guru Nanak breathed his last in 1539.

The development of the corridor on the Indian side and other decisions to commemorate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019 were taken at a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi will request Islamabad to recognise the sentiments of the Sikh community and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory as well.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh described it as a “landmark decision” and said the project with all modern amenities and facilities will be implemented with central funding.

"The Kartarpur corridor will provide smooth and easy passage to pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib throughout the year. The government of Pakistan will be urged to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory," Singh said on Twitter.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "in keeping with resolution adopted by Cabinet today to commemorate 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev-Ji in 2019, we have approached and urged the Pakistan government to recognize the sentiments of Sikh community and build a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory to facilitate easy and smooth visits of pilgrims from India to Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year.”

Earlier this September, Congress' Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Siddhu was at the receiving end when he said that Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured him that Pakistan will open the route to Kartarpur Sahib for Sikh pilgrims from India.

In other decisions, Singh said the Cabinet has also decided to develop the historic town of Sultanpur Lodhi, associated with Guru Nanak, as a heritage town on the lines of a smart city.

'Pind Babe Nanak Da', a heritage complex at Sultanpur Lodhi that is a major attraction for pilgrims and tourists”, will be developed to depict life in the times of Guru Nanak. The Sultanpur Lodhi railway station will also be developed.

On the academic front, the Cabinet also cleared proposals to set up a centre for inter-faith studies at Guru Nanak University in Amritsar. Besides, Chairs on Guru Nanak in one University each in the United Kingdom and Canada will be set up. An international seminar on Guru Nanak's life and teachings will be organised in Delhi.

Railways will run a train passing through holy places associated with Guru Nanak, Singh said adding the government will also approach the UNESCO requesting it to publish Guru Nanak's writings in world languages.

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India to build Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims

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