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Photographer's Note

"Mecca of the Sikh Faith in the Fortress of Islam"

Pakistan has been called the Fortress of Islam, but too much emphasis on this identity may have overshadowed the country’s Buddhist and Sikh credentials. Even many in Pakistan, for instance, are ignorant that this country is the Holy Land of the Sikh faith.

As if to remind all and sundry that this land is their Mecca, followers of the Sikh religion from all over the world, particularly from neighbouring India, visit Pakistan on holy pilgrimages several times a year.The most significant occasion is the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanaks birthday has been traditionally celebrated on Katik Poornamashi (full moon).

Hassanabdal is of great importance for Sikhs, who come here from all over the world, every year, to pay homage to Gurdwara Panja Sahib. This Gurdwara or a “door to guru” in Punjabi is related to Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion. The Gurudawara is revered by Sikhs for what they believe to be the imprint of a palm of the 15th century founder of their faith, Guru Nanak, on a rock stuck above a spring that feeds a pond where the pilgrims take holy baths.

Here in the Picture, Sikh pilgrims ot Holy place Punja Sahib, Hassan Abdal taking bath at the shrines stream that they believe purge them.

Hasan Abdal a beautiful and quiet place is about 48 km from Rawalpindi. It is a convenient halting point of GT Road enroute to Peshawar or Abbottabad. This town has a particular association with Mughals and Sikhs. It was mentioned by Emperor Jehangir in his memoirs and frequently visited by successive Mughal Kings, on their way to Kashmir. It remained a holy place for various religious groups through the ages. On the nearby hill, at an altitude of 714 meters, there is a meditation chamber related to a 15th century Muslim Saint, Baba Wali Qandhari

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Additional Photos by Sajjad Ali Qureshi (sajjadali) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 54 N: 116] (422)
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