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   In mid-November, 1999, more than 100 Sikhs from England, United States, Canada, and other countries set out for a two week journey to the historic Gurduaras and sites located in Pakistan, where most Sikhs have not been to since the partition of Punjab. The trip, which was in form of a Smagam, was organized by Akhand Kirtani Jatha, in co-operation with Pakistan Gurduara Pabhandhak Committee (PGPC). It was in celebration of the 530th Parkash Divas of Sahib Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj , who was born in 1469 AD, in Nankanna Sahib, Pakistan.

   This was the first trip of its kind. It has been at least fifty years since so many Sikhs had visited these sites so dear to them. In the spirit of true GurSikhi, Naam-Simran and Kirtan programs were held at many of the major Gurduaras, including a historic Raen-Sbhaee Kirtan at Janam-Asthan Nankana Sahib.

   Some of the historical sites visited by the Jatha were : Gurduara Dera Sahib, Gurduara Panja Sahib, Gurduara Bhai Joga Singh, Shahidi Saka Site at Panja Sahib Rail Road Station , Shahidi Memorial Akali Phula Singh Nihang, Gurduara KartarPur Sahib, Gurduara Rori Sahib, Khuhi Bhai Lalo Ji, Gurduara Sacha Sauda, Gurduara Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib, Gurduara Patti Sahib, Gurduara Malji Sahib, Gurduara Tanboo Sahib, Shahid Ganj Bhai Mani Singh Ji, Gurduara Shaheed Ganj Singh Singhnee'aan, and many others.

   Below, we provide a quick glimpse of this amazing Yatra, that included many of the historic Gurduaras and sites we have heard about but most of us have never had the opportunity to see. The common feeling among those who visited was that one had to be there, in person, to truly appreciate and asorb the energy and vibrations of these historic Panthic sites. While no web page or photograph could ever be a substitute for their actual "darshan didaar", still, we hope these pages can provide some insight into those wonderful places of the Panth...

[ More Resources on Sikh Sites in Pakistan ]

Historical Sikh Shrines in Pakistan
Hardbound, 400+ pages

Compiled by:
Mr. Iqbal Qaiser, Historian.

Published by :
Punjabi History Board
130/3-B-1 Township
Lahore 54770, Pakistan

Available from :
Book Traders
Mian Chambers, 3-Temple Road
Lahore, Pakistan
Sikh Pilgrimage to Pakistan
Softcover, 32 pages

Compiled by:
HS Chowdhary and
AS Choudry

Available from:
Gurbani Cassette Centre UK
68C Iffley Road
London W6, England

Phone: 01-741-9310

Preserving the Past, and Building our Future.

    It has been more than 50 years since the partition of Punjab, and throughout this time there has been an ongoing conflict between Pakistan and India. The Sikhs and their historical shrines have suffered in many ways as a result of this unfortunate political situation. Without a doubt, one sees that the well known Gurduaras in East Punjab are in fairly good shape, but due to the lack of normal up-keeping and basic neglect by the past Pakistan Governments, the Waqf Board, and the Sikhs themselves, the structures of many of the lesser known Gurduaras have deteriorated, and are in need of immediate attention and repair. To better manage these historic sites the Pakistan Gurduara Parbandhak Commitee (PGPC) was formed in 1999 to take on this important task. Currently, the PGPC is in the process of making extensive repairs to Gurduaras such as Panja Sahib, Rori Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, and many others. Crores of rupees have been spent in beautifying many Gurduara buildings and their landscaping, modernizing the visitors' quarters and facilities, but much more needs to be done to many of the lesser known Gurduaras. To accomplish this, the international Sikh Sangat needs to play a bigger part in rebuilding of our historic places.

Sadly, the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which has now become the mouthpiece of the Indian Government, has purposely declined to deal with any of the Gurduaras and historic sites in Pakistan. The SGPC has NEVER made any attempts to improve the conditions of the Gurduaras in West Punjab, in fact, until 1998, all annual 'charrawa' and offerings on a regular basis, were taken by SGPC back to Indian Punjab. Since 1999, they have now boycotted all Gurpurabs celebrated in West Punjab. During the 1999 Parkash Divas of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji, not a single representative or sewadar from the SGPC participated in any of the celebrations.

To the western Sikh diaspora, this narrow minded mentality of the so-called Sikhs of Indian Punjab should not be surprising. We could not depend on them during the turbulent times in the past, how can we depend on them for anything in the future ? The independent thinking Sikhs in the western world now have a very important role to play in overhauling our institutions and their leaders. One step towards that goal is preserving our historic Gurduaras and Shrines in West Punjab that are so much a part of our Panth's rich history and unparalled sacrifices   Gurbar Akaal !

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