After 1.5 years, Kartarpur Corridor reopens today for pilgrims: Negative COVID-19 certificate, masking made mandatory

The corridor that links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan — the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev — to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district, was shut in March 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic

FP Staff November 17, 2021 08:16:39 IST
After 1.5 years, Kartarpur Corridor reopens today for pilgrims: Negative COVID-19 certificate, masking made mandatory

File photo of Sikh pilgrims standing in a queue to visit the Shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. AFP

Ahead of Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary on 19 November, the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor will reopen from today — a move that will benefit a large number of Sikh pilgrims.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced on Tuesday that the Centre had decided to reopen the Corridor, which had remained shut from last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, three days before the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on Friday.

Shah said the decision reflects the Modi government's immense reverence for Guru Nanak Dev and the Sikh community. "In a major decision, that will benefit large numbers of Sikh pilgrims, PM @Narendramodi govt has decided to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from tomorrow, Nov 17.

"This decision reflects the immense reverence of Modi govt towards Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and our Sikh community," Shah tweeted.

As the corridor reopens today, take a look at its significance and what will be needed for travel purposes.

Kartarpur Corridor

The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district.

India signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on 24 October 2019.

The 4.7-kilometre long stretch, inaugurated in November 2019, gives Indian pilgrims easy, visa-free access to the shrine in Pakistan. For those who don’t remember, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor in the presence of Navjot Singh Sidhu; then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had refused to attend the ceremony.

It shut down in March of 2020 following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Leaders react to reopening

Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi welcomed the Centre's decision and said the state cabinet will be part of the "Jatha" that will visit the shrine in Pakistan on 18 November.

"I warmly welcome the decision to reopen the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the auspicious occasion of 552nd Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This laudatory step has fulfilled aspirations of millions of devotees who've been deprived of 'darshan didare' due to the Covid pandemic," Channi said later in a tweet.

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu also welcomed the decision.

"Welcome step. The reopening of the corridor of infinite possibilities, invaluable gift for Nanak naam levas... may the corridor of the Great Guru remain open eternally to shower blessings on one an all.Sarbat da bhala," said Sidhu in a tweet.

Former chief minister Amarinder Singh thanked the prime minister and the home minister for the decision.

"My profound gratitude to PM @narendramodi and HM @AmitShah for the timely opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. It will provide a chance to thousands of devotees to pay obeisance at the holy shrine on the occasion of Guru Purab of Guru Nanak Dev," said Amarinder.

Travel requirements

Those who wish to visit, have to register on an online portal —

They will receive an SMS and email confirmation of registration three or four days in advance of the date of travel.

In the times of coronavirus, other stipulations have also been set for the pilgrims.

According to a News18 report, a negative RT-PCR report and certificate of COVID-19 certificate will be compulsory for pilgrims.

Temperature checks will be carried out on the pilgrims and those found with any COVID-19 symptoms will be moved into isolation.

Additionally, the RT-PCR test can not be older than 72 hours.

Masking and social distancing norms will be followed and sanitisation spots will be set up.

With inputs from agencies

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