Dera Baba Nanak (Punjab): A sea of humanity was witnessed on Sunday here at this border town of Punjab from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day earlier had opened the Kartarpur Corridor.
Modi had also flagged off the first lot of pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
With the Dera Baba Nanak Utsav event here to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev entering its penultimate day, the festivities have picked up the pace.
These witnessed an added attractive feature in the form of a ‘Cavalcade of Universal Oneness’ that travelled from Dera Baba Nanak to the international border with Pakistan from where the Kartarpur Corridor has been constructed connecting this historic town with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district.
An official spokesperson told IANS that the cavalcade presented a picture of communal harmony and the participating children of various schools seemed to have been imbued with the spirit of unity in diversity.
Punjab Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa welcomed the cavalcade on its way back and interacted with students dressed in colourful costumes. He called them the cultural ambassadors of Punjab.
The highlight of the cavalcade was the ‘Malwai Giddha’ dance performance which added to the colourful atmosphere.
The Minister on the occasion expressed confidence that the corridor would spell economic boom for the region and would be instrumental in generating job avenues for the youth.
He also reiterated the need to create more infrastructure in the region as it would be necessary to tap the potential of the area.
Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary falls on November 12.
To accommodate the rush of pilgrims, many from distant places and even abroad, 30 acres of land has been transformed into a well-equipped tented city at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.
The town is welcoming the pilgrims in a manner befitting the historic celebrations with its 544 European style tents, 100 Swiss cottages and 20 Darbar style accommodations.
The main ‘pandal’ has a capacity to accommodate 30,000 pilgrims expected to converge here on each day of the Dera Baba Nanak Utsav till November 11.
The ‘langar’ or community kitchen hall is designed to serve 1,500 people at a time, with a kitchen equipped with modern facilities.
The tented city project was developed at an outlay of Rs4.2 crore for accommodating of 3,544 people.
Other features of the tent city include a registration room, a ‘joda ghar’, a cloakroom, a VIP Lounge and a fire station.
Booking and registration is free and can be done both online and offline.
Last month, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to operationalise the 4.2km Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian pilgrims a visa-free visit to the holy gurdwara, believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century, and located some 4km inside Pakistan.
Though the ticklish issue of a $20 service fee imposed by Islamabad remained unresolved, India signed the deal in the interest of the pilgrims.