Punjab Launches Free Pilgrimage Scheme, Buses With Devotees Flagged Off

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal spoke at the event, which took place on Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary.

Punjab Launches Free Pilgrimage Scheme, Buses With Devotees Flagged Off

The destination of the pilgrims is Sri Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra's Nanded.

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab on Monday launched a free pilgrimage scheme in the state, on the lines of the programme which has been running in Delhi since 2019. Buses carrying the first batch of devotees under the 'Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Yojna' were flagged off on Gurpurab, the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

At a special event organised by Mr Mann in his assembly constituency, Dhuri in Sangrur district, both chief ministers addressed a large number of people and then flagged off the buses carrying the devotees, who will be visiting the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra. The devotees were taken to a railway station, from where they boarded a train.

"Like Delhi, this scheme has now been started in Punjab too. Under this, travel, food and accommodation are all free and are being paid for by the government. If anyone falls ill during the journey, arrangements for a doctor have been made on the train itself," Mr Mann said.

Mr Kejriwal said, "For the first time in 75 years, a government is facilitating free pilgrimages for people."

Sri Hazur Sahib in Nanded holds an important place in Sikhism. It was there that the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, spent the last years of his life. 

In the first phase of the scheme, the Punjab government plans to facilitate the travel of 53,000 people to pilgrimage sites like Amritsar Sahib, Patna Sahib, Mathura-Vrindavan and Ajmer Sharif at a cost of Rs 40 crore.

The pilgrimage scheme in Delhi, which had been paused for some time because of the Covid pandemic, has seen about 82,000 people visiting various pilgrimage sites.

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