It was an emotional and spiritual moment for the devotees who paid obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur on the inaugural day of the cross-border passage, and they hoped it will become a "peace corridor" in future.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh were among the over 500 pilgrims from India who visited the gurdwara on Saturday.
"It was a good beginning to normalise the relations between the two countries (India and Pakistan)," Manmohan Singh told PTI, after his return from Kartarpur.
He said he took a 'parikrama' of the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara. The former prime minister said said the family of Lakha Singh, who donated 16 acres of land for the project, must be honoured.
His wife Gursharan Kaur said, "Peace should prevail and hopefully this will become a peace corridor." "It was a very emotional experience," Amarinder Singh said. "All pilgrims were emotional," he said. On the infrastructure front, "They (Pakistan) have done a good job," the CM said.
Delhi's Kuldeep Singh Dhingra said he was happy to be at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. "My experience was very good and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is very beautiful," Dhingra, who visited the shrine for the first time, said. "They took care of us very well," he added.
Amarjit Singh and Anita, also from Delhi, described their experience as fascinating. "It was an epic moment," Anita said. Amarjit said, "It was great to worship that man who felt no difference between Hindu or Muslim."
On returning from Kartarpur, Punjab CM's senior advisor Lt Gen (retd) T S Shergill said the experience was spiritual. "On this side and on that side, people ask me 'how was the atmosphere' and I tell them it's just Punjab. There is no difference," he said.
"We speak the same language" and so it is very easy, he said. "Guru Nanak Dev when attained enlightenment had said there is no Hindu or Muslim... We have to keep this message in mind and if we do that then we will be an inclusive society," he said on being asked whether people would consider this as a "peace corridor".
Former Union minister and Congress's Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari said, "It was a spiritual and emotional moment." "It was an atmosphere of spirituality and religiosity."
Punjab's former CM Parkash Singh Badal said that the atmosphere at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was "very good." Badal, who paid obeisance for the first time at the gurdwara, said people from the management of the shrine received the pilgrims. His son and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal described his experience as "amazing."
"They have done a good work on the infrastructure front. Both the governments (India and Pakistan) had done a great job on the infrastructure side in just 7 to 8 months," he said.
"An impossible has been made possible... This is going to become a world destination site which will be visited the most," he said. Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal felt like a dream becoming reality. "I hope by this peace corridor, harmony and brotherhood will spread," she said, hoping that other shrines in Pakistan like Nankana Sahib should also be opened for direct access for pilgrims from India.
She said people on the other side were excited to receive the jatha and went out of their way to make us feel special. While Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol hoped peace prevail in the region, Union minister Hardeep Puri said the two countries look forward to having a meaningful bilateral relationship.
Harpreet Singh from Karnataka thanked both the countries for opening the corridor after a wait of 72 years. Former union minister and Congress MLA Preneet Kaur, wife of the Punjab CM, hoped that the corridor becomes a peace Corridor between the two countries.
Punjab Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa wanted that the requirement to carry passports for pilgrims should end. "Pakistan PM Imran Khan from a stage at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur said if the trade is opened Punjab will become the world's number one state," he said.