Nankana, the birthplace and namesake of Guru Nanak, is located in a part of Pakistan which formerly belonged to Panjab, the homeland of the Sikhs. The Panjab was split in two after India’s independence from Britain resulted in the partition of 1948. Northern Panjab was made a part of Pakistan. Sikhs were forced to relocate to India. Pakistan remained closed to Sikhs thereafter.
Nankana is home to a number of ancient gurdwaras built to commemorate events which occurred during Guru Nanak’s life. In 1999, the Pakistani government organized restorative to be work done on many gurdwaras of historical importance throughout Pakistan which had suffered neglect during the Sikhs 50 years absence. For several weeks in November of 1999, the borders opened to welcome Sikhs. Bus tours took Sikhs around the country side to visit the newly restored gurdwaras. At the end of the month, Nankana hosted week long gurpurab festivities celebrating the 530th year anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth.