As a Sikh, I consider myself blessed and privileged to have the opportunity to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, located about four hours from Lahore by road.
We began by crossing a barrier at the parking area, where we were asked to show our identification. We then bought a ticket, received a coupon and lined up to board a coaster that eventually took us to the Gurudwara. At the entry, our finger prints were scanned, and we were provided with a plastic tag, which was unique to each person and can be returned only by the person to who it was issued to. This is mapped to our finger prints.
The Gurudwara complex is unrestricted and we are free to explore and immerse ourselves with the Guru. While Pakistanis also visit the place, mostly out of curiosity, most other Indians come for their pilgrimage.
At a stone’s throw away is a zone for amenities, where food, drinks and currency exchange facilities are made available. The restaurant serves only vegetarian food as a respect to people of all preferences.
The great thing though is that so many Indians make that trip to Kartarpur, go along a fenced highway and absolutely enjoy the Pakistani Hospitality. Thanks to the Imran Khan Government, the necessity to have a Visa was done away with. One now only requires a valid passport to reach Kartarpur.
Kartarpur Corridor holds the potential to foster religious tourism, promote people-to-people contact to reduce the trust deficit on both sides, and in turn aid dispute resolution by keeping avenues of dialogue open.
The Sikh community genuinely hopes for more harmony between people and countries and unrestricted access to more Gurudwaras.