Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently launched a free pilgrimage scheme in Punjab, similar to the one already running successfully in Delhi since 2019.
This initiative, known as the ‘Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Yojna’, aims to provide an opportunity for devotees to embark on spiritual journeys to significant pilgrimage sites without any financial burden.
On the occasion of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary, the first batch of devotees was flagged off by the chief ministers, marking the beginning of this unique and inclusive scheme.
Uniting Devotees on Buses: A Symbol of Unity and Harmony
The event held in Dhuri, Sangrur district, witnessed the presence of a large number of people, including the chief ministers, who addressed the gathering with great enthusiasm and pride.
Subsequently, the buses carrying the devotees set out on their journey towards the revered Takht Sri Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra.
This pilgrimage site holds immense significance in Sikhism, as it was the final abode of the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh.
Similar to the scheme in Delhi, the Punjab government’s pilgrimage program ensures that all essential expenses, including travel, food, and accommodation, are completely free.
To make the journey even more comfortable and secure, arrangements for medical assistance have been made on the train itself.
If any devotee falls ill during the pilgrimage, they can rest assured that medical professionals are readily available to provide immediate care.
A Paradigm Shift: Government-Facilitated Pilgrimages
The implementation of this free pilgrimage scheme in Punjab marks a momentous occasion, as it is the first time in 75 years that a government has taken the initiative to facilitate such journeys for its citizens.
By undertaking this noble cause, the Punjab government aims to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and harmony among different sections of society, promoting a spirit of unity and shared cultural experiences.
In the first phase of the scheme, the Punjab government has planned to facilitate the travel of approximately 53,000 people to renowned pilgrimage sites, including Amritsar Sahib, Patna Sahib, Mathura-Vrindavan, and Ajmer Sharif.
This endeavor is expected to incur a cost of ₹40 crore. The intention is to gradually increase the scale and reach of the program in order to accommodate a larger number of devotees and enable them to embark on spiritual journeys that hold deep religious significance.
Inspiring Example: Delhi’s Successful Pilgrimage Scheme
The pilgrimage scheme in Delhi, which served as an inspiration for Punjab’s initiative, has already witnessed the positive impact it has on devotees.
Despite a temporary pause due to the Covid pandemic, around 82,000 people have availed of the opportunity to visit various pilgrimage sites in Delhi through this scheme.
This success story demonstrates the need for such inclusive programs that provide religious and spiritual experiences to those who may otherwise find it financially challenging.
Punjab’s free pilgrimage scheme marks a significant step towards fostering unity and facilitating spiritual journeys for devotees across the state.
By providing the necessary resources and support, the government is enabling individuals to connect with their religious heritage and deepen their faith.
The positive response to similar initiatives in Delhi showcases the immense value these programs hold for the masses and further strengthens the belief in the power of unity, inclusivity, and shared experiences.