Nankana Sahib, for me, like thousands of other oblivious people, such a place never existed in midst of Punjab. Spread over an area of around 11000 square meters approximately, this district is a home and a prominent pilgrimage entity for Sikh minority in Pakistan and for Sikhs all around the world, respectively. Previously known as "Rai-Bhoi-Di-Talwandi", the city itself is a monument as it is named after the first Guru of Sikhs "Guru Nanak Dev".
Visiting the place in person and observing how it incorporates not only Sikhs but other minorities such as Hindus and Christens, with Muslims obviously being in majority can make any individual think, let alone me, that how people from different cultures and most importantly different religions were living in a war free and tranquil environment. This certainly is a scenario to be appreciated at large.
As the festival period in honor of birth of Guru Gobind Singh ( The 10th Sikh Guru) was commencing at that moment, so certainly it was the best of times to visit that place. Ransacking my memory from the trip, there has to be hundreds of moments that are instill in my mind, from humongous historic Gurdwaras to the jam packed bazaars, from the wide play grounds--where sports where being played as part of the festival tradition to the heart-stirring and spiritual view of the lush grounds from the peaceful grave yard, every instant is worth mentioning but disguising more or less as a Sikh after putting a green check turban on my head can be marked as my most highlighted memory of Nankana Sahib. It would be worth mentioning here, how many of the Sikhs greeted me first of all my trip members, whenever we ran into them and even many Muslims were under the same impression. I even remember one of them asking me and I quote "Oye Kithoon aya eh?" which means where have you come from?
Yellow was "the" color of Nanaka Sahib's most precious monuments-The Gurdawaras, reason being that this color basically represents the color of Punjab as a province; at least that's what Sikhs believe. Although we visited various Gurdawaras but the stating of "Gurdwara Janam Asthan" can be pointed out as reasonable for it is the most eminent and largest of the Gurdawaras in Nankana Sahib, this place marks two very special incidents, first, it is built on Guru Nanak Dev's parental home and second it is the host of the annual festivities commemorating Guru Nanka's birth.
It is how in some Indian movies you see people going to Gurdawaras wearing that orange color scarf on their heads; same was the case here. One of our senior trip members Mr Iqbal, who had immense knowledge about Sikhs and their practices, went inside and sat on a marble Takht (podium) and started chanting verses from Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs). This stage also had small area adjoined to it built out of white marble and placed on it were some of the sacred weapons including a sword and a round shaped knife which were most probably used during a battle by a sacred scriptures of Sikhs. This was one sight which will be forever stored in my box of memories.
Towards the end of this treasured trip, our last stop was mounting on a hill top to somewhat put our bodies at rest; which is rather ironic because it was a grave yard which was built on the remnants of an ancient city. Detailed excavations to find historic elements had already taken place there, which somewhat made it difficult to walk but the eye soothing sight of the green grounds along with an aerial view of the city made every other predicament of less concern.
As the quote suggests, "all good things must come to an end", so did this journey. With hundreds of photos of every possible sight in every camera of ours and after having traditional Sikh meal served in a "Thali" (meaning "plate"), we left cherishing the thousand memories of Nankana Sahib which will stay forever, if not conscious then defiantly in the sub-conscious part of our mind.
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