Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, also called Kartarpur Sahib, is a gurdwara in Kartarpur, located in Shakargarh, Narowal District, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is built on the historic site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, settled and assembled the Sikh community after his missionary travels (udasis to Haridwar, Mecca–Medina, Lanka, Baghdad, Kashmir and Nepal) and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539. It is one of the holiest sites in Sikhism, alongside the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib.
The gurdwara is also notable for its location near the border between Pakistan and India. The shrine is visible from the Indian side of the border. Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers on bluffs to perform darshan, or sacred viewing of the site, from the Indian side of the border. The Kartarpur Corridor was opened by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on 9 November 2019, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and just days before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. This historic moment officially allowed Indian Sikh pilgrims rare visa-free access to the site in Pakistan. It is also claimed to be the largest gurdwara in the world.
Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is located in the Shakargarh Tehsil of the Narowal District in Punjab, Pakistan. It is a top tourist attraction for people visiting Pakistan. The shrine is located five kilometers from the Indo-Pakistani border.
The gurdwara was built to commemorate the site where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, settled after his missionary work and did farming. Guru Nanak founded the Kartarpur town by Ravi River in 1515, plowing the fields and setting up a community kitchen, or Langar. He assembled a Sikh commune there, and lived for 18 years until his death on 22 September 1539. The gurdwara is built where Guru Nanak is said to have died. It is therefore the second holiest site of the Sikh religion after Gurdwara Janam Asthan – the birthplace of Guru Nanak located in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan.
Here, Guru Nanak gave the three principles of Kirat Karo, Naam Japo, Wand Chako, which means work hard for a livelihood, keep remembering the God and share your bounties with the world. Guru’s teachings have been peace, harmony and universal brotherhood. Guru Nanak believed in equality between castes, religions, and genders and gave the word Ik Onkar meaning there is only one God.
According to Lahore-based art historian Fakr Syed Aijazuddin, the shrine houses the last copies of the original Guru Granth Sahib. A Sikh pilgrim remarked, “every step here reminds us of the Guru’s life”. Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers on bluffs on the Indian side of the border to obtain darshan, or sacred viewing, of the site.
As per popular legend, after Guru Nanak died, there was a dispute between the local Hindus and Muslims. Muslims, who saw him as their pir, wanted to bury him while Hindus, who claimed Nanak as their guru, wanted to cremate his body. But the legend follows that Guru Nanak’s body was turned into flowers, which were then divided between the two communities.