Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, is celebrated on April 13 or 14 every year and also marks the anniversary of the founding of the “Khalsa Panth” in 1699 by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The Khalsa formalized the collective identity of the Sikh faith.
Despite recent tensions between Pakistan and India, nearly 2,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims traveled across the border to celebrate at the Panja Sahib shrine in Hasan Abdal, near the capital Islamabad on Sunday.
Devotees take part in parades, sing hymns, distribute food and bathe in holy water at the shrines, or gurdwaras.
Devotees take part in parades, sing hymns, distribute food and bathe in holy water at the shrines, or gurdwaras.Farooq NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images
The shrine is considered particularly important to Sikhs as it holds a boulder believed to bear the handprint of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
Pilgrims also visited the shrines of Nankana Sahib — the birthplace of Guru Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib — Guru Nanak’s home in Pakistan, and at the Golden Temple — also known as the Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib in India’s Amritsar.
Due to open in 2019, the so called Kartarpur corridor will be a five kilometer (3.1 miles) long passage that will enable devotees to travel from the Indian border town of Gurdaspur and across the international border into Pakistan.
Sikhism emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India. It was founded by Guru Nanak, a non-practicing Hindu who was against rituals and praying to idols.
This year also marks the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak and major celebrations are planned across India.
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