Amritsar: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on April 9 sent a jatha (group) of Sikh pilgrims to participate in the religious congregation to be organised on the occasion of Khalsa Sajna Diwas (Vaisakhi) at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib in Pakistan.
Besides, SGPC, the Sikh Devotees sponsored by Haryana Gurdwara Management and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee also crossed over to Pakistan today through the Joint Check post of Attari border (JCP). The total strength of Sikh pilgrims who crossed over to Pakistan were 2500.
Sikh jatha (group) leader and SGPC member Amarjit Singh Bhalaipur said that several Sikh shrines are situated in Pakistan and the community longs to see them and pay obeisance there, therefore, the governments of both nations should grant visas with an open heart.
SGPC secretary Partap Singh informed that this jatha has departed to participate in the main congregation of Khalsa Sajna Diwas Vaisakhi to be organised at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib. He said the jatha will reach Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib on April 9, and after paying obeisance at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Sahib, Mandi Chuharkana on April 10, it will return to Nankana Sahib. The jatha will reach Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib on April 12, and participate in the main congregation on April 14. On April 15, the jatha of Sikh pilgrims will reach Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore and visit Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Eminabad and Gurdwara Sri Kartapur Sahib on April 16. After staying at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore on April 17, the Sikh jatha will return to India on April 18.
Singh said that the SGPC has sent holy Gutka Sahibs of Gurbani, kanghas (combs), karhas (iron bracelets), Kirpans, shawls, tea, with the jatha. He said on the day of the main congregation on Vaisakhi, Amrit Sanchar (initiation ceremony) will be organised at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib.
Secretary Pratap Singh said that for the convenience of the pilgrims, the SGPC provided the facility to fill the entry forms, etc. at the Attari border and special buses were arranged for transportation of the pilgrims. He said that the SGPC also arranged langar and tea and water for the pilgrims at Wagah border on the Pakistan side.
Immediately after crossing the border from India to Pakistan, Sikh jatha was accorded a warm welcome by the Pakistan officials as rose petals were showered besides they were honoured with Siropao (robe of honour) and garlands.