555 Delhi Sikh pilgrims to celebrate Vaisakhi in Pakistan

New Delhi (IANS): Sikh devotees in large numbers are preparing to travel from Delhi to Pakistan on April 11, to celebrate Vaisakhi at Gurudwara Panja Sahib.

555 pilgrims from Delhi will enter Pakistan via Attari border and reach Hasan Abdal, in Pakistan. During the 10-day Pakistan visit, the devotees will visit other Sikh holy places before making the return journey on April 21.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, on Sunday said that Sikhs and Sahajdhari Sikhs living in the national capital having valid identity proof and Indian passport with at least one year validity are eligible to apply for the pilgrimage to Sikh holy shrines in Pakistan.

According to the itinerary, the devotees will cross Attari Border on April 12 and reach Gurudwara Panja Sahib by a special train on the same day. After celebrating Baisakhi at Gurudwara Panja Sahib on April 13 and 14, they will leave for Nanakana Sahib on April 15.

The pilgrims will visit Gurudwara Nankana Sahib, Gurudwara Sacha Sauda, Gurudwara Dera Sahib (Lahore), Gurudwara Rori Sahib (Aminabad) and Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib (Narowal), Janamsthan Guru Ram Das, Shahi Kila, Smadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and other local Sikh Pilgrim and heritage sites before returning from Lahore to Amritsar on April 21.

Sirsa asked interested Sikh devotees to deposit their passports with ADSGMC, at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib Complex, by Feb 15.

The DSGMC will deposit the required documents with the external affairs ministry by Feb 25 and will be forwarded to the Pakistan High Commission. The pilgrims will be issued visa after scrutiny by Indian as well as Pakistan Agencies.

He said that the DSGMC had borne all expenditures of the sikh devotees for Baisakhi Yatra during last three years in commemorations of 550 th birth anniversary of Founder of Sikh Religion, Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Sirsa said that of the 3,000 pilgrims allowed from India, by the Gurudwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan, Delhi has been allocated a quota of 555 pilgrims, second only to Punjab with an allocated quota of 1800 pilgrims. Apart from this, 200 pilgrims will travel from Haryana while West Bengal has been allocated the lowest quota of five pilgrims.

The remainder of the quota has been allocated to the Sikh pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.