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Millions of people around the world embark annually on spiritual journeys to soothe their souls. Global religious tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments in travel today. According to the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization), 300 to 330 million tourists visit the globe’s most important religious sights every year.
The Topmost visited place for religious tourism is Karbala, Iraq where more than 40 million devotees visit every year. It is followed by River Ganges with over 20 million Hindu pilgrims annually. Third on the list is Holy Kaabah, Makkah, Hijaz. Fourth is Golden Temple for Sikhs, India. Fifth is Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, Vatican, Italy. Sixth is Vaishno Devi Temple, India. Seventh is Notre Dame de Lourdes. Eighth is BAHAI Gardens. Ninth is St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican, Italy. And the tenth is Baitul Maqdis and Dome of Rock, Jerusalem, Palestine by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Religious Tourism in Pakistan
Sikh Religious Tourism: Pakistan has recently opened up its gates wide for Sikh religious tourism as the political leadership is looking for improving the country’s image, tourism as well as a relationship with the Sikhs in India and the world over. There is a special entry for Sikh pilgrims traveling by road from India via the Kartarpur corridor, specially built in record time with excellent facilities for the Sikh pilgrims.
Pakistan’s Punjab is home to five of the most important Sikh pilgrimage sites, including Baba Guru Nanak’s birthplace in Nankana Saheb district, where he was born in 1469, and Gurdwara (monastery) Panja Sahib in the city of Hasan Abdal, where Guru Nanak’s handprint is stamped on a boulder at the monastery.