As many as 2,100 Sikh pilgrims from India have reached Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal to attend the Baisakhi festival.
They were among the 4,543 Sikh devotees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and from the Western countries too to attend the festival and pay homage to Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.
The pilgrims performed the ritual bath, Ashnan, in the freshwater pond situated in the complex. Later they attended the prayers and lit candles and lamps at the Gurdwara.
“This is my fifth visit to the Panja Sahib,” said 65-year-old Guldev Kor. “I have come from Haryana with my two daughters, a daughter-in-law and my husband,” she said.
“We were allotted room numbers at Wagha border where we arrived on Tuesday. We however find it hard to get the allotted room as other pilgrims have already been residing there”, said 70-year-old Balwinder Singh from Patiala in India. He claimed that Sikh pilgrims coming from different parts of Pakistan had occupied the rooms allotted to them.
Talking about the security arrangements ASP Ambreen Ali said that no one was allowed to enter the Gurdwara, except the pilgrims and people with special permission. She said that the police had set up many pickets on the streets leading to the Gurdawara with walk-through gates and metal detectors. The three-day Baisakhi festival will end on April 14.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2016.