AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has directed the Sikh devotees to submit their passports by January 27 who are interested in attending Vaisakhi celebrations at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib (Hasan Abdal, Pakistan). Notably, the Pakistan High Commission grants visas to Sikh devotees every year for celebrating Vaisakhi at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib.
In a press note shared with Sikh24, SGPC Additional Secretary Diljeet Singh Bedi informed that the interested Sikh devotees need to get attested their passport copies from the SGPC member of their constituency and submit it at SGPC headquarters in Amritsar Sahib. “Interested Sikh devotees should also submit their passport size photographs, copies of aadhar card, copies of voter card, etc. as proof of identity and the passport should be valid till October 13, 2018” he added.
Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahibis a historical Sikh shrine located in Hasan Abdal, Pakistan. The shrine is considered to be particularly important as the handprint of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, is believed to be imprinted on a boulder at the shrine.
History of Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib: Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji along with Bhai Mardana Ji reached Hasan Abdal in Baisakh Samwat 1578 B.K. corresponding to 1521 ACE in the summer season. Under a shady cool tree, Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana started reciting Kirtan and their devotees gathered around. This annoyed a local saint, Hazrat Shah Wali Qandhari, who meditated atop a nearby hill but he was helpless.
According to legend, Bhai Mardana was sent three times to Shah Wali Qandhari by (Guru Nanak Dev Ji) so that he would provide him with some water to quench his thirst. Wali Qandhari refused his request and was rude to him. In spite of this, Mardana still very politely stuck to his demand. The Wali ironically remarked : “Why don’t you ask your Master whom you serve?”
Mardana Ji went back to the Guru in a miserable state and said “Oh lord! I prefer death to thirst but will not approach Hazrat Shah Wali Qandhari, the egoist.”
Guru Sahib replied “Oh Bhai Mardana ji! Repeat the Name of God, the Almighty; and drink the water to your heart’s content.”
Guru Sahib put aside a big rock lying nearby and a pure fountain of water sprang up and began to flow endlessly. Bhai Mardana Ji quenched his thirst and felt grateful to the Guru.
On the other hand, the fountain of Shah Wali Qandhari dried up. On witnessing this, the Wali in his rage threw a part of a mountain towards the Guru from the top of the hill. Guru Sahib stopped the hurled rock with his hand leaving his hand print in the rock.
Observing that miracle, Wali became the Guru Sahib’s devotee.
This holy and revered place was named Panja Sahib by Hari Singh Nalwa, the most famous general of the Kingdom of the Sikhs. He is credited with having built the first Gurdwara at this place.