Artistes dance to beats of 'dhol' to mark 'Dera Baba Nanak Utsav' in Punjab

Sanjay Ganjoo

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), Nov 10 (PTI) Artistes, dressed in colourful attire, sang and danced to the beats of 'dhol' on Guru Nanak Dev marg, the road leading to the Kartarpur Corridor, as part of the ongoing 'Dera Baba Nanak Utsav' in Punjab.

Punjabi playwright Kewal Dhaliwal, who was leading a troupe of artistes during a march, said, 'We are so fortunate that the corridor has finally become a reality after a long wait. Its opening could not have come at a better time than when the world is celebrating 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.' 'We hope that this corridor will act as a bridge of friendship between the two nations and bring them close,' he said on Sunday.

The Punjabi playwright batted for minimum travel formalities so as to allow more and more common pilgrims visit the historic gurdwara across the border.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Indian section of the Kartarpur Corridor and flagged off the first batch of pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur district, just four kilometres apart across the border.

The portion of the corridor falling on the Pakistani side was thrown open by the neighbouring nation's Prime Minister Imran Khan.

With the 'Dera Baba Nanak Utsav' entering its penultimate day, the festivities picked up the pace on Sunday.

The festivities had an added attractive feature in the form of a 'Cavalcade of Universal Oneness', the march taken out by artistes and school children, among others.

They travelled from Dera Baba Nanak to the International Border with Pakistan from where a corridor has been constructed.

Punjab's Cooperation and Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa welcomed the artistes and interacted with the students dressed in colourful costumes. He called them the cultural ambassadors of Punjab.

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.

Over 160 pilgrims on Sunday travelled through the corridor to pay obeisance at the gurdwara in Pakistan.

A family, which had come from Haryana, said they felt blessed on being able to pay obeisance when the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev was being celebrated.

'Being able to visit the historic gurdwara and cross over to the other side through the corridor gives me the feeling like Punjabs on the two sides of the border have become one again,' said another pilgrim.

Meanwhile, there was a huge rush of devotees visiting Sultanpur Lodhi, the town in Kapurthala district associated with the early life of Guru Nanak Dev.

Guru Nanak Dev had spent 14 years of early life at Sultanpur Lodhi and used to take daily bath in the holy Kali Bein.

Sultanpur Lodhi city is decked up with flowers to welcome the pilgrims.

Punjab's Principal Secretary, Tourism, Vikas Pratap has asked all the departments to ensure smooth and hassle free execution of the celebrations.

He said the state government is commemorating this mega event in a grand manner.

Pratap reviewed the work being carried out by the various departments to facilitate the devotees coming to visit Sultanpur Lodhi.

He said all efforts must be made to ensure that people celebrate this occasion with full religious gaiety and enthusiasm.

In order to ensure security and maintain law and order in Sultanpur Lodhi, around 1,000 CCTV, pan tilt and zoom (PTZ) and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed in the city and at entry points which were being monitored round-the-clock at the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC).

These cameras have been installed at strategic and vulnerable points in the holy city, Kapurthala SSP Satinder Singh said.

Thousands of people thronged to witness the grand multimedia light and sound show in the 'Rabab' pandal set up at Sultanpur Lodhi on Saturday night. PTI SUN SNESNE