Indian Sikhs Make Historic Pilgrimage to Holiest Sites in Pakistan

Published November 11th, 2019 - 07:26 GMT

At least 700 pilgrims and more in the coming days are expected to pass through the border into Pakistan without a visa to pray at the shrine of the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak.

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites, after a landmark deal between the two countries separated by the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.

Generally, people say that God is everywhere. But this walk looks like they are going to directly seek blessings. For up to 30 million Sikhs around the world, the white-domed shrine is one of their holiest sites.

There are an estimated 20,000 Sikhs left in Pakistan after millions fled to India following the bloody religious violence ignited by independence and partition, which sparked the largest mass migration in human history and led to the death of at least one million people.

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Sikh pilgrims pray as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Arif ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims pray as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Arif ALI / AFP

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make historic pilgrimage to Pakistan (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make historic pilgrimage to Pakistan (Twitter)

Muslim devotees take part in a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Karachi on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP

Muslim devotees take part in a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Karachi on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP

Muslim devotees take part of a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Lahore on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Arif ALI / AFP

Muslim devotees take part of a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Lahore on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Arif ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims gather as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims gather as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims pray at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims pray at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP

An Pakistani Muslim devotee performs at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir during the annual festival in Lahore on November 5, 2019, on his 396th birth anniversary. ARIF ALI / AFP

An Pakistani Muslim devotee performs at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir during the annual festival in Lahore on November 5, 2019, on his 396th birth anniversary. ARIF ALI / AFP

Sikh pilgrims pray as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Arif ALI / AFP
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make historic pilgrimage to Pakistan (Twitter)
Muslim devotees take part in a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Karachi on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP
Muslim devotees take part of a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Lahore on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
An Pakistani Muslim devotee performs at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir during the annual festival in Lahore on November 5, 2019, on his 396th birth anniversary. ARIF ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Arif ALI / AFP
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs made a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their religion's holiest sites (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make historic pilgrimage to Pakistan (Twitter)
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make historic pilgrimage to Pakistan (Twitter)
Muslim devotees take part in a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Karachi on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP
Muslim devotees take part in a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Karachi on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP
Muslim devotees take part of a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Lahore on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Arif ALI / AFP
Muslim devotees take part of a procession to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, in Lahore on November 10, 2019. The birthday of Prophet Mohammed, also known as 'Milad', is celebrated during the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on 12 Rabi al-Awwal in Islamic calendar. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather as they take part in a ritual procession at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray at a shrine in Nankana Sahib, some 75 kms west of Lahore on November 7, 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion's holiest sites is set to open on November 9, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Arif ALI / AFP
An Pakistani Muslim devotee performs at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir during the annual festival in Lahore on November 5, 2019, on his 396th birth anniversary. ARIF ALI / AFP
An Pakistani Muslim devotee performs at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir during the annual festival in Lahore on November 5, 2019, on his 396th birth anniversary. ARIF ALI / AFP