With the first batch of Sikh pilgrims set to leave for Darbar Sahib in Pakistan on November 8, authorities will launch online registration for those interested in making the sacred journey along the newly laid Kartarpur corridor on Sunday.
Initially, pilgrims would be required to register online a month prior to the date of journey. "If the application is not accepted, they can try again after a month. If it doesn't happen even then, they can come in person to register themselves," a senior officer said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is also planning to enhance mobile connectivity along the Kartarpur corridor to ensure that pilgrims are not inconvenienced. "As a state policy, mobile connectivity is maintained at weak levels along border areas. But we are seeking relaxation on our side of the corridor to ensure proper communication links for pilgrims at all times," said Land Port Authority of India chairman Govind Mohan.
For security reasons, India has also made it mandatory for all pilgrims to return the same day after offering darshan at Darbar Sahib - the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. Indian officials will accompany each batch to ensure that nothing is amiss through the course of the pilgrimage.
A state-of-the art passenger terminal - complete with food kiosks, parking areas and facilitation centres - will also come up by the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates it on November 8. The structure covers 20 of the 50 acres of land acquired for the purpose by the government.
The Kartarpur Corridor, a joint project by India and Pakistan, aims to create a pilgrimage link between the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and the Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. Dubbed by many as the "corridor of peace", pilgrims hope that it will help bring the two hostile neighbours together in the future.
"This corridor is opening despite all the tension between India and Pakistan. This is all due to the blessings of Baba Sahab," 60-year-old Sarvjot Singh Bedi, a 17th generation descendant of Guru Nanak Dev, told NDTV.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
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