A Trip to Kartarpur Corridor and Kartarpur Gurudwara in Pakistan

Joy Bose
7 min readNov 27, 2022

I recently visited the Kartarpur Gurudwara, commemorating the place where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder and first Guru of Sikhism, spent the last few decades of his life.

The Kartarpur Gurudwara is located in Pakistan, about 5 km from the border with India, and there is an agreement between the Indian and Pakistani governments to facilitate visa free travel in the corridor, provided we have applied and obtained an Electronic Travel Authorization or ETA in advance.

In this article, I will describe in brief the process and my experience.

Kartarpur Gurudwara complex

Applying for the ETA

The first step is to go the the Kartarpur corridor website (just google for Kartarpur corridor ETA) and apply online for the Electronic Travel authorization or ETA. We need to give our passport number, basic details and the date of travel which must be in a certain range (within one or two months of the actual date I think). Indian origin citizens of other countries and NRIs resident outside India are also allowed to travel, not just Indian citizens resident in India.

I went with my friend Chetan who is from Pune. We both filled the form at around the same time. It is probably better to travel with a friend or a group.

Kartarpur pilgrimage website
Filling the online form to apply for the pilgrimage

After filling the online form for ETA, we get an acknowledgment email and then the police verification process is initiated. It varies from state to state.

In Bangalore, where I normally stay, I got a verification call from the nearest police station and had to visit with my passport and answer questions about why I want to go etc. They even wanted a testimony of character from the neighbors! You may even be asked for a small bribe (similar to in passport verification).

Once the police verification is complete, you will receive your ETA by email. But the ETA will only arrive 3 or 4 days before the actual journey date. You need to take a printout of the ETA. You also need to do a RT PCR test and carry a printout of the result (as per current Covid regulations of Pakistan it is mandatory) as well as the Covid vaccination certificate.

Example ETA

Finally after receiving the ETA and printing out and doing the RT PCR test and printing out the result and Covid certificate, you can plan to reach the Indian side immigration terminal for Kartarpur corridor, situated at Dera Baba Nanak, on the day. It is better to plan to be there as early in the morning as possible, since as per the law you need to return from the Pakistani side by 4 pm or 5 pm same day. We reached the place around 9:30.

Myself and my friend Chetan went to Amritsar the day before, saw the Golden temple and then on the day early morning 7 am took an outstation taxi from Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak. It cost us around 2500 plus parking charges to hire the taxi for the day.

Google maps route from Golden Temple Amritsar to Kartarpur Corridor terminal on Indian side near Dera Baba Nanak

When we reach the Kartarpur corridor immigration terminal, they do a security check, look at passport and other documents like Covid test, give polio drops (since Polio is eliminated in India but not in Pakistan yet), stamp the ETA after immigration etc. The officers are quite polite and friendly. The terminal is huge and is just like an airport terminal.

Kartarpur immigration terminal on the Indian side

After clearing the immigration on the Indian side, then we can take a short buggy to the actual border. We need to cross the Indo Pakistan border on foot. On the Pakistan side, after crossing the border gate, there is a bus to take you to the Pakistan immigration terminal.

Crossing the Indo Pakistan border on foot

On the Pakistan side, first they check the Covid RT PCR and vaccination documents. Then we need to exchange our currency notes at the nearby Pakistan bank exchange counters. The facility fees (mandatory) for using the Kartarpur corridor is 20 US Dollars. We can either bring the US dollar notes ourselves from India, or get it exchanged at the Pakistan bank counters. We may not get a favorable exchange rate, though.

One may also like to get some PKR or Pakistani rupees for our Indian rupees, to buy some souvenirs at the market next to the Kartarpur Gurudwara. The exchange rate they were offering in October when we went was 1 Indian Rupee = 2 Pakistan Rupees.

Pakistan bank counter for exchanging currency notes
Pakistani currency and the National Bank of Pakistan receipt

Finally after exchanging the money and getting the 20 USD receipt from the Pakistani bank, we enter the Pakistani immigration terminal. They will ask some basic questions, examine the documents, and then stamp the ETA. There is no stamp put on your actual passport at any time. There is also a security check of your bags etc on the Pakistan immigration side.

The Pakistani side immigration officers were even more friendly and polite than the Indian side.

Immigration terminal on Pakistan side

Finally we take one of the buggies or the bus to go the 5 km from the Pakistan immigration terminal to the Kartarpur Gurudwara. There is a bridge on the river Ravi that you have to cross. We can see the farmland as well around the Ravi river, which Guru Nanak ji used to cultivate for many years.

Local Pakistani people are also allowed to visit the same Gurudwara, they have to pay a few hundred PKR for the facility as well.

Crossing the river Ravi on the way to Kartarpur Gurudwara

Finally we reached the beautiful Kartarpur Gurudwara. There is a short orientation talk, we have to deposit our shoes and then we are left free to roam. There is a clean pool or sarowar in the gurudwara to take a bath as part of the pilgrimage, for those interested.

The actual Kartarpuir white gurudwara building has a long corridor around it, and two floors with different artifacts related to Guru Nanak Dev ji. One can sit in the main room and listen to the peaceful relaxing kirtans for hours. One can also get prasad halwa from there after giving a small donation.

There are also some other buildings in the complex including a holy well which Guru Nanak Devi ji used to use, the langar hall where a lot of people can partake of the delicious vegetarian langar, the farms nearby where Guru Nanak Dev ji used to cultivate and so on. Currently it is not possible for Indian citizens to stay overnight and we need to return the same day.

Everyone on the other side of the border were really really nice and smiling and friendly to us. From the shopkeepers to border guards to even regular local people who were visiting. All the local people, even the younger kids, were really welcoming and smiling and wishing us Salaam Walekum meaning peace be on you. We also chatted with some of the friendly Gurudwara volunteers.

Kartarpur Gurudwara
Deori to welcome pilgrims in Kartarpur Gurudwara complex
One of the sacred spots related to Guru Nanak Ji
The author at the Kartarpur Gurudwara
Delicious Langar at Kartarpur Gurudwara
The symbolic sword commemorating the inauguration by then Pakistan PM Imran Khan

There is also a small market on the campus where we can buy some Pakistani souvenirs called Bhai Ajeeta Jee Bazaar. The shops include clothes shops, jewellery shops, handicrafts shops, Multani Sohan Halwa shop, Lahori clothes, Peshawari chappals, souvenirs from Lahore fort and other famous places inside Pakistan. The food shops include some special kulfi, tea shops, fruit juices, and other food. Even the Pakistani Pepsi tasted different and less sweet than the Indian one! We bought a few of the nice souvenirs from Pakistan.

Signs for Bhai Ajeeta Jee market near the Gurudwara
One of the shops at Bhai Ajeeta Jee Market
More shops at Bhai Ajeeta Jee Market

Finally around 3 or 3:30 pm we started to make our way back. The way back is the same, first take the bus or buggy to the Pakistani immigration terminal from the gurudwara, after crossing the river Ravi. Then clear the immigration on Pakistan side, then cross the actual Indo Pakistan border again, clear the immigration on the Indian side.

We also visited the gurudwara Dera Baba Nanak near the Indian immigration terminal, which was also associated with the life of Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Baba Dera Nanak Gurudwara back on the Indian side

Overall it was a very amazing experience. We were really excited to visit our neighbouring country and also do a pilgrimage to Guru Nanak’s place. The people on the other side are just like us and very friendly indeed. We are thankful to the governments of both countries for facilitating such people to people contacts, which is good for lasting peace and security in the region.



Joy Bose

Working as a software developer in machine learning projects. Interested in the intersection between technology, machine learning, society and well being.