"You know that I've been here ever since the inception of Pakistan. I was 16-years-old when your grandfather left India and he came to Pakistan and he brought me along with him. Your family, this country, has given me lots and I took it all with all my heart. But today, I've this one last wish ... will you fulfill it? Immerse my ashes in my India, dear. I may be an orphan, but I am an Indian. That's my only identity. I've told you about Kiratpur, haven't I? For us Sikhs it's a very important pilgrimage. All my ancestors are there. Just immerse me there. I will get my refuge. You'll do this for me?"
On her journey to Kiratpur, Zaara meets Indian Air Force pilot Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) who helps her reach her destination.
Kiratpur was established in 1627 by the sixth Sikh Guru Har Gobind in a small peaceful town at the foothills of the Shivalik range in Rupnagar. Rupnagar district is one of the twenty districts in the state of Punjab in northwest India, along the Pakistan border. The Sikh's eldest son, Baba Gurditta, bought the land from Raja Tara Chand of Kehloor.
Sacred to the Sikhs, Kiratpur has a long association with most of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Har Gobind spent the last days of his life in Kiratpur and was cremated here upon his death in 1644. The seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai was cremated here in 1661. The ashes of the eighth Sikh Guru Har Krishan were brought from Delhi and immersed here in 1664.
In 1675, the tenth Guru Gobind Singh - then 9 years old - received the tragic news that his father ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur had been executed in Delhi. Sikh Bhai Jaita brought the head of the father to Kiratpur so his son could perform the proper rites. Guru Gobind Singh travelled from Kiratpur to Anandpur for the cremation of his father's head.
Kiratpur is also associated with the memory of a Sufi Muslim saint, Pir Buddan Shah who was gifted with a very long life (legends say about 800 years).
The Gurdwara Patal Puri was built in memory of the sixth Sikh Guru Har Gobind. It sits on the bank of the Sutlej river (sometimes known as the "Red" river). The Sutlej is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the Punjab region in northern India and Pakistan.
Here is where most Sikhs - from all over the world - go to immerse the ashes of the deceased in the flowing waters of the Sutlej. It is believed that immersing the ashes of a loved one in holy waters is to release their soul from bondage and to help their spirit progress toward liberation.
The Rupnagar website describes Gurdwara Patal Puri as:
... located in a large plot of land measuring over 1km square and houses a large darbar sahib with a langar hall located nearby. A small sarovar is located near the toilet and shower facilities. A footbridge is located to connect the devotees to the bank of the river. Ample car parking space is available on the Gurdwara grounds. The main entrance to the Gurdwara is from behind the main building. Gardens and living rooms are located to the right of the main building.
AmitWorld.com provides the following video tour of the Gurdwara Patal Puri:
The word 'Gurdwara' means 'Gateway to the Guru'. In Sikhism ones personal dedication to living a good life is important but another important aspect of Sikhism is the Sangat (congregation). Not only should one meditate on God on their individual level but also on a corporate level. There are thousands of Gurdwaras throughout Punjab and the rest of the world. They serve as community centers for the Sikhs. There are no restrictions on who may enter a Gurdwara for prayer. People of all religions are welcome to attend. Another common feature of all Gurdwaras around the world is Langer, the free community kitchen. Here food is served to all people who sit together to enjoy a communal meal. It is a symbol of the Sikh belief in a non-sexist, non-racist society where all people of all casts, religions are equal and can share a common meal in the true spirit of unity.