Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib is where Sikhism’s founder, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, spent the last 18 years of his life. Access to the Gurudwara was cut off after partition. But now Indian pilgrims can access it from India via the Kartarpur Corridor that extends 4.5 km into Pakistan.
The Kartarpur Corridor connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab with Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib in the Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The Corridor can only be used to visit the Gurudwara, and you can not leave the area and go further into Pakistan.
My wife has returned now and she says she had an incredible time and that Pakistan took great care of her. She was impressed by its cleanliness, infrastructure, and food. Now she wants to return there on holiday. Kartarpur Corridor is definitely a place bringing Indians and Pakistanis closer.
Who can use the Kartarpur Corridor?
Only Indian passport holders and OCI holders can visit Kartarpur. Foreigners are not allowed.
Indians of ANY religion can use the Corridor and Gurudwara. It’s not limited to Sikhs. All faiths are welcome.
Pakistanis can visit Kartarpur Sahib; they do not need to use the Corridor.
How to register for Kartarpur Corridor
Due to the tight security around a corridor which lets Indians cross the border into Pakistan, I’m sure every person will be scrutinised by Indian and Pakistani authorities. There’s a lot of personal information you must give to use the Corridor.
It is also likely that your local Police station will call you as part of a background check. This has happened to some people. The Police will ask basic questions like name, travel date, who are you travelling with, father’s name, workplace, and office location. They’re verifying your identity to check that someone isn’t trying to fake their application. My wife didn’t get a call, but the local Police know her and her father.
If the Police don’t call you, do not worry.
To register for Kartarpur Corridor, visit https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in/kpr/ and apply online. You must register at least 14 days before your visit. Here’s what you’ll need before filling in the online form:
- Indian Passport or OCI
- Your blood type
- Name of your local police station (if Indian)
- Scan of your passport in PDF
- Passport photo in JPG format
Beware: Registering for a group is complicated!
The group leader must register themself and the group. Then ALL members of the group must register individually! A group can only have 5 members total, including the leader.
Step 1. The group leader should register and select “Travelling as Group” then provide everyone’s names and passport numbers.
Step 2. Every person in the group must register individually too! But NOT select “Yes” for “Travelling as Group.” Only the group leader selects “Yes” for “Travelling as Group.”
What happens after you register? Confirmations & ETA
After you apply online, you will receive an SMS and email confirmation. Here’s the registration confirmation my wife received:
You have been successfully registered with ID XXXXXXXXXX. Visit https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in for status update.
This is provisional registration, and does not confer a right to travel.
Applicant shall be informed when confirmation is received from Pakistan.
Therefore, Applicants should make their travel arrangement in advance.Registration Email & SMS confirmation message
Successful applicants will then receive a travel confirmation 4-days before the date they’ve applied to visit Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib. Ours did arrive exactly 4-days in advance of the travel date.
You will get this via Email and SMS, along with an Electronic Travel Authorisation. This is what we received:
Your registration No (XXXXXXXXXX) for Sri Kartarpur Sahib Pilgrimage is confirmed. You may generate/download ETA through https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in.
Visit Passenger Terminal Building Dera Baba Nanak on 01/JAN/2022 with ETA and Passport/& OCI (cited in application).Confirmation for travel Email & SMS message
Pilgrims must carry the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), along with their passport, when they arrive at the Passenger Terminal Building.
You download the ETA from https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in/kpr/applicationStatus. After you submit your details, you’ll see the download link at the bottom of the page, “Your Registration Has Been Processed Please Click Here To Download ETA.” The downloaded ETA looks like this:
This all means you’ll need to apply online and then book your travel in advance without being confirmed to visit the Gurdwara. This isn’t exactly ideal! But that’s how it is. Make sure you book your trip with a full-refund option, just in case you are denied entry.
Is there an entry fee for Kartarpur Corridor?
Yes. Pilgrims must pay $20 USD to Pakistan when entering the Corridor.
There is a currency conversion booth at the Pakistan checkpoint. You can convert INR to USD there. But the exchange rate is terrible. It’s better that you carry USD from India.
There’s a lot of debate about whether this fee is fair. Pakistan has invested a lot of money into this Corridor for Indians. So I feel it’s only fair that they are reimbursed because only Indians will use this infrastructure. It’s similar to tolls on national highways.
How to reach Kartarpur Corridor Passenger Terminal Building
From Amritsar, you will need to reach the town of Dera Baba Nanak where the Passenger Terminal Building is located. It’s about 48.3 km from Amritsar and will take you about 70 minutes to reach.
What are the COVID-19 protocols for going to Kartarpur Sahib?
The Government of Pakistan has COVID-19 travel protocols in place, so make sure you’re carrying the correct documentation:
- Vaccination certificate.
- Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
They will also take rapid antigen tests of symptomatic travellers on arrival, and positive cases will be advised to return.
Is there Indian cell network reception at Kartarpur?
Yes! You can call back to India. With Airtel, you can make voice calls, and with Vodafone, you have 4G data, so you can video call.
What else is there to do at the Kartarpur Corridor?
Nearby the Passenger Terminal is a lookout point where you can see the India-Pakistan Border Fence, Pakistan’s Passenger Terminal, and Kartarpur Sahib – it’s visible on a clear day.
There is a Gurudwara offering langar and various street food vendors around the corridor entrance.
My wife’s Kartarpur Passenger Terminal and Gurudwara photos
When is the best time to visit Kartarpur Sahib/Corridor?
We arrived at 8.30 a.m. on a Sunday and it was empty. Our driver got a car park near the entrance. At 10 a.m. the area got very busy and congested with devotees coming to visit the viewpoint. Roads near the entrance were then closed. Earlier is better when visiting Kartarpur.
How long does it take to get to Kartarpur Sahib from the Indian Passenger Terminal?
It takes 45 minutes to reach Kartarpur Sahib on a good day. That includes immigration on both sides and currency conversion. Arrive early to beat the rush.
Is langar and prasad available at Kartarpur Sahib?
Yes. Although on the day Manisha went the langar and prasad wasn’t served until 1.30 p.m. Prasad also wasn’t available on day 1, but that will change.
Manisha went a second time, and this time Langar was available. They served rajma, mixed vegetable curry, palau, a sweet rice called zarda, pickle, water, and chai.
Can you meet Pakistani friends and take gifts for them?
Yes, when Manisha and I met there the second time we had no issues exchanging gifts. I brought her sweets from Lahore and she brought sweets and pudin hara from Delhi.
Does Pakistan stamp your passport?
Is the Polio Vaccination Mandatory?
Yes, after Indian immigration my wife was forced to take Polio drops. She didn’t want to, but there was no other option. It’s a vaccination.
How often can you use Kartarpur Corridor?
As far as I can tell, there must be 15 days between each booking. I.e. you can visit once every 15 days.
Does India or Pakistan take your biometrics?
Yes, both India and Pakistan will take biometrics from ALL your fingers and thumbs.
Can foreign tourists in Pakistan visit Kartarpur Sahib?
Yes. You are already in Pakistan so you obviously don’t need to use the Corridor. You must take your Pakistan VISA, Passport, and an ID Card.
The Kartarpur Corridor does have a support line
If you have queries about your trip, you can email email@example.com or call the support helpline on +91 01724111905 or 1100 for Punjab residents.
Enjoy your trip to Kartarpur Sahib and leave a comment if you have any more questions.