From today, Indian pilgrims to visit temple in Pakistan's Punjab province
From Friday, Hindu pilgrims will begin their journey towards the Katas Raj Temples complex in Pakistan. This comes days after the Pakistan government gave visas to 112 pilgrims who wanted to visit the sacred complex.
The visas have been given for a duration of seven days - from December 17 to 23 - during which these 112 pilgrims are expected to visit.
The Katas Raj Temples complex is situated in Punjab's Chakwal district and built around a pond, which is considered sacred by Hindus.
After granting the visas on Tuesday, the high commission for Pakistan in New Delhi said that it “remains committed to preserving sacred religious sites and extending all possible assistance to the visiting pilgrims of all faiths”.Members of Hindu jatha (group of pilgrims) leave from Durgiana Temple Amritsar for the Katas Raj Temples in Pakistan on December 17, 2021(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Earlier in December, the Pakistan high commission in India issued visas to more than 130 Indians to attend the 313th birth anniversary celebrations of Shiv Avtari Satguru Sant Shadaram Sahib in Sindh province.
According to news agency PTI, visits to religious places are covered under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974 and the Pakistani government issues visas to Indians for pilgrimage every year.
Last month, the Narendra Modi-led Union government announced the reopening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from November 17 for the benefit of Sikh pilgrims.
The Kartarpur Corridor is a visa-free border crossing that joins the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. The 4.7-kilometre long stretch allows devotees from India to pay a visit to the Gurudwara without a visa.
In 1999, India and Pakistan proposed the idea of the Kartarpur corridor as a part of the New Delhi-Lahore bus diplomacy.
(With agency inputs)