Pakistan opened the door of the historic Gurdwara Chowa Sahib in Punjab province to Sikh devotees on Friday after 72 years of Partition.
The gurdwara has been opened to Sikh devotees, including from India, in the run-up to the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November.
Lying closed since 1947 after members of the Sikh community from the area migrated from Pakistan, the gurdwara in the Jhelum district of Punjab province was in a state of neglect.
The Gurdwara Chowa Sahib which is located close to Rohtas Fort — a UNESCO world heritage site was reopened in a colourful ceremony in the presence of several high officials and community members.
The ceremony began with an ‘ardaas’ (prayer) and ‘kirtans’ (devotional songs) performed by Sikh community members.
Evacuee Trust Property Board spokesperson Amir Hashmi told PTI, “Gurdwara Choa Sahib has been opened for worship and visit. It is also opened for foreign Sikhs…whether they come from India or any other part of the world, they are welcomed to visit this historical place”.
Commissioned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the gurdwara was completed in 1834. It is believed that Guru Nanak, who was returning from nearby Tilla Jogian temples, stayed at the place, which was reeling under drought-like situation at that time.
Guru Nanak is said to have struck the earth with his cane and moved a stone, thereby revealing a natural water spring (chowa) in the area.
The temple was also reopened after 72 years of Partition on the demand of the local Hindu community.
(With PTI inputs)