Pakistan is a country where different religious & ethnic communities live side by side in peace & harmony. For the Sikh community a pilgrimage to Pakistan has great spiritual significance. It is here that Baba Guru Nanak was born & lived. It is here that Maharaja Ranjit Singh rose to glory.
It is in Pakistan (Punjab) that Nankana Sahib, the oldest & the most revered of all Sikh gurdwaras, is located. It is at the Lahore Museum where one of the oldest manuscripts of Guru Granth sahib is placed. It is in Pakistan, 65 km worth of Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, at Gujranwala where to this day, the birth place of the greatest Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh remains preserved, It is here in Lahore that his Samadhi is located.
There are other equally compelling reasons to come, the shrines of all the famous Punjabi poets from Baba Farid to Khawaja Ghulam Farid are located in Pakistan, It is a feeling commonly expressed by a majority of Sikh visitors that the well maintained Sikh Gurdwaras reflect the care taken by the Pakistani government & the people. Destination Pakistan touches every Sikh’s heart.
Baba Guru Nanak Jee:
Guru Nanak Jee (1469-1539 AD) was born in a village known as Talwandi Rai Bhoe. It belonged to Bhatti, a Rajput chieftain who became a friend & admirer of Baba Nanak.
Nanak Jee was a strict monotheist believing in the one & only God. He liked the Muslims, rejected the Hindu caste system & preached the equality & brotherhood of mankind.
Nankana Sahib 39 km southwest of Sheikhupura, is an important place of pilgrimage. There are two main Sikh temples or gurdwaras here, Ballila where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion spent his childhood, & Janamasthan, where he is believed to have been born. The latter houses sacred relics belonging to the Guru. Thrice a year on Besakhi(April), Death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (June) & Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev ( November), Sikh Yatries visit these holy places in thousands. Apart from these two main gurdwaras, Nankana Sahib has some other religious attractions like, gurdwaras Maulvi Patti Sahib, Tambu Sahib, Kaira Sahib & Nahang , Singh Chhauni.
In order to engage Guru Nanak Dev Jee in worldly affairs, his father, who was a revenue accountant, gave his son twenty rupees to purchase profitable merchandise for setting up a shop.Make good, profitable bargain, the father advised.
While passing near Churkana (Farooqabad), 20 km northeast of Talwandi Rai Bhai, a little short of their destination, Nanak & his brother came across a group of Sadhus, naked & hungry. Nanak jee at once decided to feed them & despite his brother’s advice, purchased edible with the whole amount & distributed the same amongst the mystics, when he returned home empty handed., Guru Nanak’s father rebuked him for squandering his precious cash, but he calmly answered, you had wanted me to make Khara Sauda therefore I could not think of a better a more genuine, Sauda than the one I have made.
The gurdwara established during the Sikh rule is on the same spot where the sadhus were enterained. It stands between the mandi (market) & the town of the Farooqabad ( Churkana). Its domed sanctum in the middle of a squre hall stands in a fort-like enclosure. The gurdwara, has become a great source of inspiration, thus very important place for sikh Yatrise.
Gurdwara Rori Sahib & Chaki Sahib Eimenabao:
Eimenabad is located 56 km away from Lahore, Here the Sikh yatries pay homage to the gurdwara Rori Sahib & Chahi Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev jee, during his story at this place, had made his bed on a platform of Rori (pebbles), Later this became a place of veneration & a gurdwara was built here.
Eimenabad is famous for its grinding wills, which worked on their own when Guru Nanak Dev jee was ordered to grind the corn. It is at this very place where Guru jee showed the miracle of blood & milk.
Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hassan Abdul:
Hassan Abdul is 48 km from Rawalpindi. It is a beautiful & quiet place, a convenient halting point on the G.T, Road enroute to Peshawar or Abbottabad. This town has a particular association with Mughals & Sikhs. It is a famous holy place for Sikhs. It has a Sikh Gurdwara known as Panja Sahib.
The name is derived from a hand ( Panja) imprint on a boulder above a water spring, Guru Nanak Dev jee while returning from Mecca had broken his journey for a few days at Hassanabdal, where he had asked one of his disciples to fetch water from the spring on the near by hill top. The water was however refused to the disciple. There upon, on Guru Nanak Dev jee’s prayer, the spring abandoned its original course & started flowing from the spot where Guru jee himself was sitting. Guru jee also stopped a big rock rolling downwards towards him with his palm, which left an impression on the rock.
It because an object of great reverence for his followers, who started calling it Panja Sahib.
The collection of the buildings to the west, facing the entrance of the Lahore Fort, is known as Sikh Enclave or Dera Sahib, only the Sikh yatries are allowed to enter this place. Right side of Dera Sahib is Attique Stadium & on its left side is Hazoori Garden ( Imperial Garden). Monuments of Lahore, one is the tomb of Guru Arjun Dev jee, & other is the tomb of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Sing:
Ranjit Singh is famous as Sher-e- Punjab in the history of the subcontinent. He ruled over Punjab from 1799 to 1839 AD. From a very young age he proved himself to be a man of extreme personal courage. He organized a strong & disciplined army with a strong & powerful artillery.
Tomb of Guru Arjan Dev:
Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru made Amritsar the rendezvous of the Sikh & compiled the Adi Granth, the holy book containing the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs. Guru Arjan Dev Singh helped Khusro, the rebel son of Jahangir, His disciples affires that the Guru, having obtained permission to bath, himself disappeared miraculously into the water of Ravi, which there after flowed to this place. His tomb with a fluted & gilded dome dates from the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Punjab the land of five Rivers:
Punjab means the land of five rivers. These mighty waters that flow through the fertile lands of Punjab are Rivers Satluj, Bias, Ravi, Chenab & Jhelum, This is Pakistan’s most fertile province, supporting more than half the population of the country. The journey through Punjab is a breathtaking experience . Punjab truly is the land which is enduringly antiquated & progressively modem. Where old is not out dated & new is not merely a passing fashion. A few days spent here is like having lived through the experience of the centuries.
Lahore the Heart of Pakistan:
Lahore is one of the great Mughal cities of the sub- continent, ranking with Delhi or Agra in its range of magnificent Museum architecture. Its faded elegance, busy streets, bazaars & wide variety of Islamic & British architecture make it a city full of attraction & contrast Lahore as the myth goes, was founded by Loh, son of Rama, the hero of Hindu epic Ramayana, muslim rule began here when Qutub-ud-Aibak was crowned in Lahore in 1206 AD & thus became the first Muslim Sultan of the sub- continent.
Lahore reached its peak of glory during the Mughal rulers, especially in the reign of Akbar the Great, who made it his capital.
Akbar the great held court in Lahore for 14 years. He built the Lahore Fort & a wall around the city. There were twelve gates to enter the city. Some of which still survive, During the British rule (1849- 1947), Lahore was beautified with gardens, buildings, houses & roads reflecting colonial architecture & style. Lahore is also famous for its historical monuments like Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque & Shalimar Garden.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur:
This is the historical place where Jagat Guru Nanak Jee departed from this world on 23rd Assu, Samvat 1596 (22nd Sept, 1529 AD). It is also called Dera Baha Nanak Dera Sahib railway station, on Lahore Narowal section, serves this place. The Shrine is located by the River Ravi within a distance of 4 kms from the railway station; it has a spacious & beautiful building. The building was repaired by the govt of Pakistan in 1995.