Introduction: Pakistan is a land of love, peace and hospitality. It is the paradise for the holidaymakers, adventure and culture and nature lovers. It is also a land of light, spiritual endowment, a resting place for many spiritual saints from all religions, be it the Sufi mystics of Islam, Hindu Tiraths dating back as 3000 B. C, the disciples of Buddha attaining â€œnirvanaâ€ buried under the remains of Gandhara civilization flourished in the third century B.C. Baba Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion was born in 1469 A.D. at Taluandi village now known as Nankana Sahib, about 72 Km north of Lahore in Pakistan. A Large Sikh gurdwara known as Janam Asthan, was built there in his memory by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Since then, the Gurdwara has become the centre of the annual pilgrimage by Sikh communities the world over. The Sikh Gurdwaras have served more than a place of worship. They have served as school a meeting place and a rest house for travelers in addition to enshrining the Granth Sahib. All Gurdwaras and Sikh shrines in Pakistan are declared sacred places and are well maintained by the Government of Pakistan.
Day 1 Lahore – PakistanÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â
On arrival at Whaga border, our local guide will meet & assist and escort to hotel.
We have two days in Lahore to give you plenty of time to explore all the Gordowaras and perform religious activies. Its start with visit to Dera Sahib and visit to Gurdwara of Guru Arjan Dev, Samadhi of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sikh Museum at Lahore Fort, Baradari & Badshahi Mosque.
Day 2 Lahore – Pakistan
After an early breakfast continue your journey by visiting the remaining Gurdowaras. We will visit to Gurdawara Chauthi patshahi, the Janam Asthan of the fourth Guru in Chuna Mandi â€œChhevin Patshahiâ€ Shaheed Ganj and Samadhi of Bhai Taru Singh – Overnight Lahore.
Dera Sahib: The collection of the buildings to the west, facing the entrance of the Lahore Fort, is known as Sikh Enclave or Dera Sahib, only the Sikh Yatries are allowed to enter this place. Dera Sahib has two very important monuments of Lahore, one is the tomb of Guru Arjun Dev jee, and other is the tomb of Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Tomb of Guru Arjan Dev Jee: Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, made Amristar the rendezvous of the Sikhs and compiled the Adi Granth, the holy books containing the sacred scriptures of the Sikh. Guru Arjan Singh helped Khusro, the rebel son of Jahangir. His disciples affirm that the Guru, having obtained permission to bathe, himself disappeared miraculously into the water of Ravi, which thereafter flowed to this place. His tomb with a fluted and gilded dome dates from the time of Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Ranjit Singh is famous as â€œSher-e-Punjabâ€ in the history of the subcontinent. He ruled over Punjab from 1799-1839 AD. From a very young age he proved himself to be a man of extreme personal courage. He organized a strong and disciplined army, with strong and powerful artillery.
Day 3 Lahore – Nankana
Early in the morning drive via Grand Trunk Road to Nankana Sahib which is 98 km from Lahore. Spent all the day visiting all Gurdowaras in Nankana Town.
Nankana Sahib: At Nankana, there are two main Sikh temples or Gurdwaras; Ba Lila where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion spent his childhood, and Janamasthan – where he is believed to have been born. The latter houses sacred relics belonging to the Guru. Thrice a year, on Besakhi (April), Death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (June) and Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev (November), Sikh Yatries visit these holy places in thousands. Apart from these two main Gurdwaras, Nankana Sahib has some other religious attractions like Gurdwaras Maulvi Patti Sahib, Tambu Sahib, Kaira Sahib and Nahang Singh Chhauni.
Baba Guru Nanak Jee: Guru Nanak Jee (1469-1539 AD) was born in a village known as Talwandi Rai Bhoe. It belonged to Bhatti, and Rajput cheieftain who became a friend and admirer of Baba Nanak. Nanak Jee was a strict monotheist believing in the one and only God. He liked the Muslims, rejected the Hindu caste system and preached the equality and brotherhood of mankind.
After Nankana Sahib we will continue drive to Lahore on arrival transfer to your hotel.
Day 4 Sheikhpura â€“ Eimanabad – Pakistan
FDSS tour to Sacha Sauda & Eimanabad â€“ Overnight Lahore.
Sacha Sauda:Â In order to engage Guru Nanak Dev Jee in worldly affairs, his father, who was a revenue accountant, gave his son twenty rupees to purchase profitable merchandise for setting up a shop. â€œMake good, profitable bargainâ€, the father advised. While passing near Churkana (Farooqabad), 20 km northeast of Talwandi Rai Bhoi, a little short of their destination, Nanak and his brother came across a group of Sadhus, naked and hungry. Nanak Jee at once decided to feed them and despite his brotherâ€™s advice, purchased edibles with the whole amount and distributed the same amongst the mystics. When he returned home empty handed, Guru Nanakâ€™s father rebuked him for squandering his precious cash, but he calmly answered, â€œYou had wanted me to make Khara Sauda therefore I could not think of better, a more genuine â€œSaudaâ€ than the one I have made. The Gurdawara established during the Sikh rule is on the same spot where the Sadhus were entertained â€“ thus it has become a great source of inspiration hence very important place for Sikh Yatries.
Gurdwara Rori Sahib & Chaki Sahib:Â Guru Nanak Dev Jee, during his stay at this place, had made his bed on a platform of Rori (pebbles). Later, this became a place of veneration and a Gurdwara was built here.
Day 5 Katas Tample – Pakistan
On our way to Rawalpindi / Islamabad we will stop at Katas Raj Hindu Tample.
The Katasraj mandirs are located 40 kilometres from Chakwal District. It takes a little effort to reach Katasraj by road – one has to go off the M2 motorway – (Islamabad- Lahore) at the Kallar Kahar interchange, Then follow the road to Choa Saidan Shah for 24 km and after passing the cement factory the road passes through the temple complex, with the major temple complex and the pond on the right.A very Historic Village is also located nearby known a Dulmial.
The Katas site houses the Satgraha, a group of seven ancient temples, remains of a Buddhist stupa, a few medieval temples, havelis and some recently constructed temples, scattered around a pond considered holy by Hindus. The temples at Katas are mostly constructed on square platforms. The elevation of the sub shrines seems to form a series of cornices with small rows of pillars, crowned by a ribbed dome.
The Ramachandra Mandir is situated to the east of the Hari Singh Haveli and is closed from all sides except for an entrance on the east. The double-storied structure has eight rooms of various dimensions on the ground floor and a staircase at the south leading to the first floor. The mandir has two jharokas (balconies) that have been severely damaged.
The Hanuman Mandir is on the western extreme of a high rectangular enclosure with entrances on the south and the north. The temple’s ceiling is undecorated, and lime-plastered.
The Shiva temple is also built on a square platform. Its entrance is a recessed round arch with faint cusps and a rectangular opening to the north.
The Katasraj temple complex is believed to date back to the Mahabharata era. Many legends are associated with the temples. The five Pandava brothers, heroes of the Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata, stayed here for four of the 13 years they spent in exile. The lake in the complex is believed to be filled with Shiva’s tears thus have magical powers and is supposed to be where Yudhishthira defeated the Yaksha with his wisdom, bringing his brothers back to life.
Another legend involves the death of Shiva’s wife Sati; the story goes that when she died he cried so much and for so long that his tears created two holy ponds – one at Pushkara in Ajmer(India) and the other at Ketaksha(Pakistan), which literally means “raining eyes” in Sanskrit. It is from this name that the word Ketas is derived. Another version of the legend mentions the two pools at Katasraj and Nainital.
Yet another version of the Shiva legend involves the death of Shiva’s horse Katas instead of that of Sati his consort. Some legends also state that very first Shiva Ling (Sihv-Ling) was in Kattas. some old manuscripts also consider Katas as the janam bhoomi (birthplace) of Hindu incarnation Rama, as well as that of Ayodhya; but this has become quite controversial.The oral tradition by local Hindus never mentioned it as being Rama’s birthplace or celebrated in annual rituals.
After visiting the Katas Tample, continue to Rawalpndi / Islamabad for night stay.
Day 6 Punja Sahib – Pakistan
After an early breakfast drive to Gurdwara Panja Sahib is situated at Hasan Abdal, 48 km from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. This is one of the most holy places of Sikhism because it marks the spot where the founder of the faith, Guru Nanak Dev visited and instilled an important lesson for his adherents. Still visible is the sacred rock with the hand print of Guru Nanak.
The Panja Sahib Shrine complex is spartan but clean and reasonably well maintained. It could do with fresh coat paint though, both inside and on the facade. And if I could, I would clear the cluttered street leading from the highway into the town and to the Panja Sahib building.
The caretaker of the gurdwara or Granthi, a very large, polite and soft spoken man, named Saddam Singh
After visiting Punja Sahib you may take a short trip to close by Taxila Muesum before heading back to Rawalpindi in the evening for night stay.
Day 7 Peshawar – Pakistan
Excursion to Peshawar City the capital of the NWFP now called KPK (one way drive is 2 to 3 hours) is a frontier town and quite different from any other city of Pakistan. Peshawar has a modern university, first-class hotels, international banks and one of the best museums in Pakistan, and yet the heart of the old bazaar has changed little in the last 100 years. Pathan tribesmen stroll down the street with rifles slung nonchalantly over their shoulders, their hands hidden inside their shawls and their faces partly covered by the loose ends of turbans. Smuggling, drug-dealing and arms-trading are the day’s business, as they have been for centuries. The massive Bala Hisar fort overlooks the maze of narrow streets in the old town and the elegant Moghul mosque. On the other side of the railway is the cantonment, its wide tree-lined streets bordered by gracious administrative buildings and spacious bungalows in large gardens. Club, churches, the Mall, schools, Saddar Bazaar and the airport are all part of the British contribution to Peshawar’s modernization. Peshawar University, founded in 1950, and surrounded by University Town, is the newest section of the town. It lies to the west on the road to the Khyber Pass.
The fortunes of Peshawar have for centuries been linked to the Khyber Pass. The city stands guard at its eastern end, and was founded about 2,000 year ago when the Kushans pacified the area. In the second century AD, Kanishka, the most famous of the Kushan kings, moved his winter capital to Peshawar from Pushalavati, 30 kilometres (19 miles) further north. The Kushans moved freely through the Khyber Pass between Peshawar and their summer capital Kapisa (north of Kabul in Afghanistan) and from these two cities ruled their enormous and prosperous empire for the next 400 years.
Kanishka built the empire’s most magnificent Buddhist stupa at Shah-ji-ki-Dheri in Peshawar (now the site of a brick factory), and the city became one of the most important Buddhist centres of pilgrimage. When the Kushans were defeated by the White Huns in about AD 455 Buddhism declined; the Khyber Pass subsequently became too dangerous a route, and Peshawar died.
Peshawar regained its former importance with the arrival of the Moghuls in the 16th century. They planted trees and laid out gardens, thereby turning Peshawar into a ‘city of flowers’ (one of the meanings of its name). None of the Moghuls enjoyed much success with the Pathans, although Babur gained an ascendancy of sorts after 20 years, five major expeditions and a marriage of convenience to a girl of the Pathan Yusufzai tribe. Akbar nearly lost a huge army in the Khyber Pass when it was trapped in its own camp and hounded by an Afridi Pathan war party. Akbar’s son Jahangir fared no better.
In 1818 the Sikh Ranjit Singh captured Peshawar, burned a large part of the city and felled its trees for firewood. The Sikhs also destroyed Shalimar Garden and Babur’s magnificent fort. In 30 years of Sikh rule the city’s population dwindled by almost half.
In 1849 the British took Peshawar from the Sikhs. Many of the British forces were stationed here, and the cantonment area was built as an administrative centre from which to control the North-West Frontier. It was a difficult and dangerous post. Since Independence, Peshawar has expanded with the building of Peshawar University and the enormous influx of Afghan refugees.
In the evening return to Islamabad or Rawalpindi depending on your choice of stay.
Day 8 Darbar Sahib – Pakistan
After early breakfast drive to Kartarpur which is about 140 km from Lahore (one way) on our way drive back to Lahore.
Nanak Ji, the founder of Sikh religion, equally respected among Muslims and Hindus.
The Gurudwara is located next to a small village named Kothay Pind (village) on the West bank of the Ravi River.
The original resting place founded by Guru Nanak Ji was washed away by floods of the river Ravi and the present Gurudwara was rebuilt in its place by Sardar Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala.
The Gurudwara at Kartarpur has a spacious and beautiful building and can be seen from another Gurudwara located across the Indian border in the historical town of Dehra Baba Nanak.
Unlike other holy places of Sikh religion in Pakistan, this Gurudwara is one of its kinds. And if you see Muslims offering prayers at the Gurudwara, donâ€™t be surprised!
According to Sikh history when Guru Nanak died, Hindus and Muslims disagreed upon how to perform his last rites. A samadhi (Hindu tradition) lies in the Gurudwara and a grave (according to Muslim traditions) lies on the premises as a reminder of this discord. His Hindu followers wanted to cremate the remains as per Hindu tradition, while his Muslim followers wanted to bury the body as per Islamic tradition.
Guru Nanak suggested that each group should place a garland of flower besides his body, and the party whose garland remains fresh after three days could dispose of his body according to their tradition.
It is said that the next morning, upon raising the cloth under which the Guruâ€™s body lay, only the flowers placed by his followers were found. The Hindus cremated their flowers whereas the Muslims buried theirs.
There are historical references that Guru Nanak Dev was against division of society on the lines of Muslims and Hindus (and Sikhs). Muslims treated him like a â€˜peerâ€™ and the Hindus revered him as the Guru.
Sikh devotees often gather near the border fence and offer prayers.
This aspect was well demonstrated in 1947 when Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew boundary-line between India and Pakistan. According to the June 3, 1947 division plan, the whole of Gurdaspur had gone to Pakistan. That meant Kartarpur going deep into the Pak territory. But the plan didnâ€™t work and had to be amended. Now the District of Gurdaspur was bifurcated and the line that bisected Kartarpur from its bare chest worked. Two of the tombs went to the Pakistan side and one fell on the Indian side.
Sikh devotees often gather near the border fence and offer prayers while looking at Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Border Security Force has specially constructed â€˜Darshan Sthalâ€™ by providing binoculars to the visiting devotees for a clear view of the Gurudwara.
Evening return to Lahore.
Day 9 Lahore â€“ Return journeyÂ Â Â Â
After breast fast transfer to Wagha boarder for your return journey back to India.