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The road goes ever on and on Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So...Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

The Golden Temple of Amritsar

INDIA | Sunday, 21 September 2008 | Views [1783]

Now, I have been to Amritsar and have seen the Golden Temple of the Sikhs and it is indeed beautiful. 

After the 3 or so weeks in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh leaving the mountains was a real shock to the system.  These areas are different to alot of India in that they are generally cleaner, cooler and much less crowded.  So arriving in Amritsar to the heat and crowds of large, bearded and turbaned sikh men was quite intimidating to begin with.. I am back in 'India'!

I met a couple of other girls on the bus and after checking into a hotel really close to the temple when we got there in the evening, we went of to explore.  It definitely looks its best all lit up at night and with the moon rising right over the top of it it was amazing.  There is a community kitchen, which is a feature of every sikh temple, where you can eat for a donation so we headed there for dinner and lined up along the mats on the floor with 1000's of others for curry and chappatis.

Sitting around looking at the temple later that night a few people came up and started talking to us.  It is amazing how interested they often are in you, if they speak English they want to know all about your country and will sit talking to you for as long as you will let them, the children all want to shake your hand and on this occasion we had about 20 people all gathered round just listening to our conversation with an older sikh man.  Sometimes it feels like your some sort of zoo attraction.  Alot of Indians often want to have there photo taken with you, the next day I even had a woman practically throw her 2 month old baby into my arms for a picture.  At first this can be quite intimidating, but when you realise everyone means well and is just really interested in foreigners it is ok - I have posed in alot of Indian holiday snaps.

The next day we got up to see the sunrise over the temple and then lined up to go inside.  I have to say it is the cleanest temple I have seen so far in India, they have an army of volunteers constantly cleaning and cooking and generally looking after the place.  Apparently it is part of your duty as a Sikh to volunteer as you learn to humble by serving others - or something like that.

We took in some more sites of the city and went in the evening to Attari on the India-Pakistan border to see the closing of the border ceremony that takes place every evening.  It was really quite humorous.  The guards on both sides are dressed up like there going to an 19th century fancy dress party and they yell and carry on for about half an hour.  When they march they swing there arms and legs so high they nearly knock themselves out.  Quite an amusing afternoon.

I am now in Bikaneer Rajasthan... It's hot!

Tags: amritsar, golden temple, india

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